Another day, another Ryanair PR disaster
16 January 2007
VALENCIA — The low-cost airline Ryanair did nothing for its public relations when angry passengers staged a revolt after a 17 hour delay.
After waiting at Valencia airport for a flight to Rome, one passenger had had enough and demanded explanations from a flight attendant.
The attendant allegedly got into an argument in which she was said to given the Italian passenger an offensive reply.
The incident began when the flight, which was scheduled to depart for Rome at 9.30pm on Saturday, was delayed for 17 hours due to a “technical problem,” according to the
low cost airline.
Escalating tension culminated in a verbal faceoff between several passengers and personnel at the Ryanair window at the airport.
According to one of the passengers, just as they were ready to board the plane, an Italian woman asked an attendant about the delay, and the employee gave a curt reply in Spanish.
The Italian woman said she found this attitude “unprofessional” to which the attendant reportedly said “You goddamned Italian, I speak Spanish here.”
The Italian replied with “And you’re a bitch.”
The attendant then pulled the boarding pass from the Italian’s hand, upon which an Italian man lunged at the attendant and grabbed the boarding pass back.
Just as passengers were on the minibus to the plane, the police showed up to arrest the Italian man for assaulting the attendant, but the other passengers prevented them, chanting “No, you will not take him!”
A lawyer who was present convinced police that the man could legally only be interrogated, not arrested.
Unfortunately for Ryanair, a journalist was on board and the whole incident appeared in the Spanish daily El Pais.
The incident comes after another PR disaster last year when Ryanair offered to give out EUR 1 flight vouchers in Barcelona.
But their non-Spanish speaking PR officer was left floundering when hundreds turned up and it turned into a near riot in which police had to intervene.
Subject: Spanish news