Does Ryanair's Profit Warning Show We're Tired of Penny-Stealing Small Print?

By Gary Cutlack on at

Last week, Ryanair warned investors that there'd been a "perceptible dip" in bookings for September and the rest of the autumn, a fall that could show we're moving on from pursuing the cheapest prices in favour of getting the fairest treatment and not having to pay £1.50 for a Twix.

The company's earnings data shows how critical its additional "hidden" costs and extra fees are to the business. Last year, the average flier spent €48.20 on the cost of a ticket, although the average cost to the airline to fly everyone everywhere was €52.56 per passenger. It loses money on the actual flying and being an airline part of the deal.

However, the average "ancillary" fee paid by passengers for forgotten boarding cards, baggage checking, cups of tea and so on came to €13.43 per passenger, helping it to make a profit. If more people read the small print and brought drinks with them, it'd be in trouble.

As well as the threat of customers becoming tired of its business practises, Ryanair may also suffer from the austerity that's sweeping Europe. An "industry insider" quoted by the Telegraph explained how the airline is also reliant on local subsidies, saying: "A lot of local authorities subsidise Ryanair to fly to their tiny airstrips, because of all the tourists they bring. As austerity bites across Europe, will these areas be able to continue to fund Ryanair?" [Telegraph]