The UK’s largest airline finally began participating on Twitter on Tuesday, and it wasn’t long before it used the service to start blasting its critics.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair is as well known for its pugnacious approach to PR as it is for its dirt-cheap airfares, and its first foray into social media promises to extend that brand message. After UK consumer magazine Which? released a survey of Britons that placed Ryanair as the worst brand for customer service in the country, the carrier’s new Twitter voice chimed in:
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) September 19, 2013
Despite the typical bravado, Ryanair is not making this move on to social media from a position of strength. This year will be the first in a decade when it misses its profit forecast. It’s facing tremendous pressure from low-cost rival easyJet, and it’s clear that its antagonism has prejudiced regulators against it in its dealings with Irish national carrier Aer Lingus, which it owns a portion of (and would like to own all of). It is also re-tooling its entire online approach to be less hostile to metasearch sites that want to show Ryanair fares.
The change of approach is clear from the top. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary once said “Are we going to say sorry for our lack of customer service? Absolutely not” this week told reporters “We should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off.”
But as its Twitter feed shows: Sometimes its hard for a Celtic Tiger to change its stripes.