8 New Controversial Claims By Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes a lot of controversial things and says them. I’ve often been skeptical that he even believes what he says – whenever he’s been out of the news for awhile he’ll talk about making customers of the European low cost carrier pay to use the lavatory, which I guess he believes entrenches the belief in customers’ minds that his airline is cheap.

However in a new interview he made made several claims only a couple of which are clearly self-serving.

  1. Since flight attendants are “sexually athletic” his airline won’t stand in the way of workplace romance.

  2. The U.K. will eventually reverse Brexit and re-join the E.U.

  3. “Most airport security is utterly useless. It is only designed so that politicians can convey the impression that they are doing something.” (On this he’s largely correct.)

  4. His preferred approach to airport security is to profile Muslim males.

    “Who are the bombers?” O’Leary asks. “They are going to be single males travelling on their own. If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is f***ing zero. You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion.”

  5. He thinks Greta Thunberg is a dangerous hypocrite,

    “… all the abuse (on environmental matters) goes to the airlines because some 17-year-old Swedish girl goes, ‘Oh, we shouldn’t be flying.’ It’s OK for her, she can get a racing yacht across the Atlantic with a crew who flew to pick her up.”

  6. Like another CEO of an airline that doesn’t have business class, he wants to ban business class ‘for the environment – “We should all fly more densely so at least when we are flying, we are doing it reasonably efficiently.”

  7. Since Ryanair’s solution to everything is low fares, he believes discounts to fly the Boeing 737 MAX are what will restore confidence in the aircraft (in contrast American Airlines CEO Doug Parker believes discounts suggest they lack confidence in the plane).

  8. Emotional support animals are “complete nonsense.”

Copyright: trevorbenbrook / 123RF Stock Photo

I view his claims about Ryanair flight attendants and the need to ban business class to be self-serving, the latter may be obvious but can you figure out why I say that about the former?

O’Leary by the way acknowledges he should stay away from social media.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I imagine we’re going to hear about a Ryanair CEO-Flight Attendant romance pretty soon. Am I close, Gary?

    BTW, the dude is kind of a tool, but he’s not wrong on a lot of that stuff.

  2. This guy is my new hero. For Europe since most intra europe flights lack a real business class, the point is moot. Business class shouldn’t be banned for short haul because it for the most part doesn’t exist in western countries. In the U.S. domestic first class is marginally more space and less dense but that is negligible. Most real lie flat business/first is on long transcontinental routes or long international routes. Rejoining the EU, that seems highly unlikely. But for everything else he is spot on.

  3. I really don’t see a problem with his views except that the yield per passenger on J ticket is probably better than Basic Economy.
    Didn’t read your blog yesterday. Don’t you love palindromes?

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