To dismiss Ryanair shows you dont know much about human nature, you pay peanuts expect a shitty service but people would rather pay peanuts, thats why RyanAir is so strong, any cancelled flights that some customer may not have been refunded for will be forgotten when they are offering 50 quid seats to a destination other carriers are charging 200 for.
They have had some pretty **** small print for the last 20 years and until Covid their customer base continues to grow, people put up with shit to save a few bucks.
Wizz has/had about a third of passenger numbers of Ryanair, they might take some passengers from Ryanair, but looking at this recent list (last 3 years but before covid) of Airline bankruptcy
Flybe is the latest European airline fighting for survival following a string of collapses over the past few years that have left thousands of passengers stranded in airports and had a knock-on effect on related industries such as hospitality.www.reuters.com
I doubt O'Leary will be shitting his pants just yet.
Im anything but dismissive of Ryanair. Ryanair will be Ryanair and they will survive, no sweat. They will however need to face off the likes of Whizz who are defying the odds and have a very strong foothold in East Europe. One of the principles of LoCo operation is “don’t go head to head with a rival on a route if you can avoid it”. RYR were slow off the mark in the east, for good reason, there wasn’t much market. Now there is and largely, Whizz have it.
For sure, you’re right re human nature but increasingly the odd idiot that has a moan in the Fulchester Chronicle about being charged £50 because they didn’t read the small print and forgot to print a boarding pass is now becoming double page spreads in the Sunday Times about the tens of thousands who’ve been shafted.
IMVHO there is a limit to what the greed for a good deal present in human nature is prepared to risk. It is that risk that present a, er, risk to the RYR mindset. Pre Covid you could book a flight with RYR for your example £50, accept it was going to be grim but be reasonably certain you’d get wherever and have the £150 balance from your example to spend on paella and chips washed down with Fosters. No argument there.
Now you book with no guarantee that your hotel will still be open or the Government won’t pull the plug on your destination the night before you travel. Your £50 is very much at risk. Very publicly, people are getting pissed off with this and looking to operators who offer free rebooking, often with incentives to do so, full refunds, free Covid insurance etc etc etc. These companies aren’t doing that out of the goodness of their heart, it costs them money, they’re doing it because it steals a march on those not doing it.
Certainly people will have short memories and many will behave as you suggest but my view is that the sheer scale of the Covid thing, and more specifically its impact on holidays travel will live on much longer in peoples’ memories than say the volcanic ash saga. In the latter event, people did exactly as you described, forgot quickly how appallingly RYR behaved and headed for the cheap deal. I just think Covid and the effect on thinking is a different animal.
Either way, MOL won’t be too worried about going bust but he will be fretting on losing business, not for the cash, more for the fact he has a pathological aversion to losing.