Monday, November 22, 2010

We do have a choice – we just need to make it!

I just read a very interesting blogpost on lowcost airlines – especially Ryanair, which made me think about the powers we have as consumer.
When I travel privately I must admit we look for value for money – if we spend less on getting there, we can spend more whilst we are there. But it has come to a point where the actual saving has to be really significant before I choose Ryanair over other airlines.
Somehow over the last decade travelling by air has turned into an experience where you have absolute no right to dignity. And whilst I can understand – and live with that in the name of safety (although I still struggle with the airports who want my toiletries in a plastic bag), the way Ryanair ground staff treats their customers is so rude it should be illegal. Just recently we (husband, son and I) where in Italy on holiday- and we travelled Ryanair. First in the Belgian airport (I refuse to call it “Brussels south” as it is 70km outside Brussels), the security staff will when checking your passport and boarding card, they will also check that your hand luggage is not too big. Excuse me, but are those people not there for our national security and safety? What does that have to do with the size of my carry-on. On the other side in Italy there was a ground staffer with a bathroom scale to make sure that we did not carry too much onboard – I mean give me a break…..
But the truth is that even though I hate the way I am being treated, by buying the ticket I allow them to do so.  In almost every other aspect (where I have a choice) if I do not get the service I think I am entitle too (and this is not much) I leave and will not come back. Yet when it comes to buying the flight tickets we look at each other and think if we can save 200 EUR (260$) we can live with the inconvenience. Maybe it is the amount of money that is the decider – or maybe it is because you do not realize just how bad it is going to be when you order the tickets.
But as consumers we need to realize that we do have a choice – and together we have power to turn things around, we can choose not to buy that Ryanair ticket and if enough of us choose not to they will have to change the way they treat us.
But I also know what a lovely meal you can have in Verona for much less than the 200 EUR I saved.

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