Thursday, October 02, 2008

"I'm on the Plane..........."

The announcement by Ryanair that they were going to allow the use of mobile phones on their flights brought out the usual comments from the ‘We hate Ryanair’ crowd with a backing chorus of ‘Down with O’Leary.’
But it makes a lot of commercial sense. At £2 a minute, I doubt there will be many conversations of the “I’m on the plane….” line but many of us would have welcomed such a facility at almost any price when flights have been delayed or diverted. Being able to contact your ground transport in good time is invaluable in such cases.
And if it makes money for O’Leary, I’m all in favour. Thanks to his operation, by booking in advance, I can fly from my home in France to London and back often for less than the price of a one way ticket on the laughably named ‘Stansted Express’ into London.
Mr. O’Leary is unlikely to ever be confused with Mother Teresa and there are many who feel that whatever charm school he may have attended should have their licence revoked forthwith. But he has a way of stating obvious truths which would render him a totally ineffective politician.
Responding to a claim that the phone conversations would disturb fellow passengers, he replied, “All our flights are noisy. If you want a quiet flight, go fly with someone else.”
Overhearing someone’s conversation might be a relief from the normal cacophony of a Ryanair cabin which is run rather on the lines of a Middle Eastern street market.
But it suits me just fine. The aircraft are modern and clean, far cleaner than the aforementioned Stansted Express which I can only conceive was devised to make Eastern Europeans feel at home, as it closely resembles a Bucharest commuter train from the Cold War era. The crews are professional and personally I have always found the cabin staff pleasant.
I board and read my book, oblivious to the cries to make me a millionaire by selling me a scratch card or a mobile telephone system, to say nothing of a gourmet (judging by the price, that is) sandwich.
Economically, Ryanair’s service is invaluable to me.
So go ahead. Please buy a sandwich or two and use the telephone while you’re on board.
I promise I won’t listen.

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