Budget Irish airline Ryanair has fired the first salvo in it’s threatened “summer fares war”, but instead of cutting fares as everyone expected, CEO Michael O’Leary has surprised the industry by instead cutting the flights.
“If Toblerone and other chocolate producers can cut the size of the bars, why shouldn’t airlines cut the length of their flights – shrinkflation is a perfectly acceptable business practice,” explained O’Leary, confirming that many Ryanair flights will now terminate short of the planned arrival airports.
“London to Paris flights will now stop at Calais, or more accurately over Calais, saving the cost of landing, disembarking and baggage handling,” he said explaining that customers will be provided with a parachute and a rubber dinghy in case they land in the channel.
On return flights to London, passengers will be ejected over Brighton on the same terms explained O’Leary, adding that extra parachutes will be available for passengers with more than one bag.
Similar conditions will apply on Ryanair’s new shrinkflation flights to Barcelona, he explained.
“The plane will circle over the main passes with passengers ejected only on the Spanish side,” he said adding that parachutes are included in the basic ticket price with a range of climbing equipment available from the trolley prior to ejection.
However O’Leary confirmed that plans for a shrinkflation fare to New York had to be abandoned after warnings from the US coastguard that they would be obliged to shoot parachuting airline passengers before they hit the water.
“We were targeting a 50% survival rate but even that seemed unlikely,” said O’Leary explaining that he had examined other ways of cutting costs and boosting revenues.
“We did consider bottling passengers urine and selling it to participants in the Tour De France,” he said
“But you try maintaining consistency in a product half of which is produced by people who’ve spent 2 hours necking lager and shorts in an airport bar and half the flight projectile vomiting in the loos at £3 a shot,” he complained.