MSNBC: The truth comes out: CEO says “stupid” consumers deserve hefty fees

Finally, an honest CEO.

Ryanair head Michael O’Leary called his customers “idiots” this week. The chief of the deep-discount, “gotcha”-dependent airline might be the first to say it, but he’s hardly the first to think it.

O’Leary was speaking specifically about fliers who fail to print their boarding passes before they arrive at the airport, and are forced to pay Ryanair’s 60-euro fee. The issue came to a head after a mom paid about $380 so her family could get the paperwork to fly home from Spain to Britain. She aired her concerns on Facebook and got hundreds of thousands of “likes.” O’Leary responded to the controversy as many CEOs would after being administered a truth serum.

“We think Mrs. McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid,” he reportedly told The Telegraph before piling on the sarcasm. “She wasn’t able to print her boarding card because, as you know, there are no Internet cafes in Alicante, no hotels where they could print them out for you, and you couldn’t get to a fax machine so some friend at home can print them and fax them to you.”

Even with a day or so to reflect, O’Leary only slightly changed his tune, arguing in the Irish Independent that his comments weren’t aimed at the mom, specifically, but at his customers generally.

“I was not calling her stupid, but all those passengers are stupid who think we will change our policies or our fees,” he said.

Ryanair occupies an important post in the gotcha world, having invented a-la-carte (i.e., sneaky) airline prices through bag fees, exit row seat fees, and has even threatened to impose potty fees. O’Leary is a trend-setter. Perhaps he’ll start a trend for greater honesty, too.

“Stupidity fee”…
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