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Ryanair Backpedals, Won’t Cross Atlantic After All

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Only days after announcing a long-term plan to offer heavily discounted transatlantic service, European low-cost carrier Ryanair has now released a statement saying that there is no such plan in the works, and there never was.

“In the light of recent press coverage, the board of Ryanair Holdings Plc wishes to clarify that it has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so,” said the statement released yesterday evening. In case there was ever any doubt, CEO Michael O’Leary clarified the situation in the Irish Independent this morning by stating the airline had “f*%&ed up.”

There’s a reason why I’ve often referred to Ryanair as the worst airline in the world, and it’s not just because of the fees. The airline seems equally flippant about its reputation as it is about its customer service, and not in the crude but semi-savvy manner of like-minded carrier Spirit Airlines.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
There’s a lot that I don’t like about Ryanair, including the interior design. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s not clear what prompted this retraction (or, for that matter, the initial announcement). Ryanair may simply be playing coy, and its plans for transatlantic service could involve a subsidiary or separate company set up under a different name, in which case Ryanair technically wouldn’t be crossing the pond. Or maybe the airline is operating under the creed that no press is bad press, and is simply tossing ideas onto the pavement outside the boardroom window to see what sticks. The problem is that flyers (and shareholders) just don’t know what to expect.

Ultimately Ryanair’s decision doesn’t impact most flyers. Low-cost transatlantic service is already a reality (courtesy of Norwegian Air), and there’s room for more operators in that market whether Ryanair is involved or not. However, this story underscores why I have near zero interest in taking another Ryanair flight anytime soon.

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