Employment relations[ edit ] Refusal to recognise unions[ edit ] In the early years, when Ryanair had a total of employees who each had shares in the company, there was an agreement that staff would not join a labor union on the basis that they would have influence on how the company was run.
Whilst Ryanair announced in December that they would recognise pilots unions, the company still refuses to recognise or negotiate with any union for cabin crew.
In , a former Ryanair captain was awarded financial compensation by an employment tribunal in London after being fired for handing out a union form to a cabin crew member while on duty.
Ryanair protested about the raid. This came in the wake of protests from Danish unions regarding employment conditions. It also charges for extra services like checked-in luggage and it offers food and drinks for purchase as part of a buy on board programme. Ryanair faced criticism over the ambiguous nature of these changes. This allows the airline to save on aircraft costs and enables faster cleaning and security checks during the short turnaround times.
The Economist wrote that Ryanair's "cavalier treatment of passengers" had given Ryanair "a deserved reputation for nastiness" and that the airline "has become a byword for appalling customer service In , it refused to provide wheelchairs for disabled passengers at London Stansted Airport, greatly angering disabled rights groups. In July , a year-old woman, Frances Duff, who has a colostomy , was refused permission to bring her medical kit on board, despite having a letter from her doctor explaining the need for her to carry this with her, and was asked by Ryanair boarding staff to lift up her shirt in front of fellow passengers, to prove that she had a colostomy bag.
Duff had previously attempted to contact Ryanair on three occasions to inquire about their policy on travellers colostomy bags, but each time no one had answered the phone after half an hour. An early day motion in the British Parliament put forward in criticised Ryanair for this reason and called on the company to provide customers with a means to contact the company by email.
Speaking at the company's AGM, chief executive Michael O'Leary said that the airline needed to "stop unnecessarily pissing people off". Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said: It's a group of customers that we want to get closer to". Flights were cancelled with very little notice, sometimes only hours before departure.
People who had already taken outbound flights were left with no flight home. Ryanair said that the cancellations aimed "to improve its system-wide punctuality"  which had dropped significantly in the first two weeks of September, which the airline attributed to "ATC capacity delays and strikes, weather disruptions and the impact of increased holiday allocations to pilots and cabin crew".
In truth, bottom place was shared with Vueling. Ryanair responded as follows. The story subsequently made headlines in the media for several days and drew attention to Ryanair's announcement that it was removing check-in desks from airports and replacing them with online check-in. Eight days later O'Leary eventually admitted that it was a publicity stunt saying "It is not likely to happen, but it makes for interesting and very cheap PR". One of their advertisements used a picture of the Manneken Pis , a famous Belgian statue of a urinating child, with the words: Low fares have arrived in Belgium.
Ryanair was ordered to discontinue the advertisements immediately or face fines. Ryanair was also obliged to publish an apology and publish the court decision on their website. Ryanair used the apologies for further advertising, primarily for further price comparisons.
As with Sabena, British Airways disagreed with the accompanying price comparisons and brought legal action against Ryanair. The judge ruled "The complaint amounts to this: Ryanair ran the advertisement in two Scottish and one UK-wide newspaper.
After receiving 13 complaints, the advertisement was widely reported by national newspapers. The Advertising Standards Authority ASA instructed them to withdraw the advert in the United Kingdom, saying that it "appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour and was irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence".
Ryanair said that they would "not be withdrawing this ad" and would "not provide the ASA with any of the undertakings they seek", on the basis that they found it absurd that "a picture of a fully clothed model is now claimed to cause 'serious or widespread offence', when many of the UK's leading daily newspapers regularly run pictures of topless or partially dressed females without causing any serious or widespread offence". O'Leary likened the service to those commonly provided in hotels, saying "hotels around the world have it, so why wouldn't we?
Frommers has dubbed Ryanair the "ultimate bait-and-switch airline" for this deceptive practice. Ryanair stood by its claims, noting that their flight is shorter than the train trip and that travel time is also required to reach Eurostar's stations.
It was found to have breached advertising rules seven times in two years. He added that the ASA "would prefer to work with advertisers within the self-regulatory system rather than call in a statutory body, but Ryanair's approach has left us with no option".
Ryanair countered with the claim that the ASA had "demonstrated a repeated lack of independence, impartiality and fairness".