Yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday


In the Irish Mail on Sunday.

An Irish Ryanair pilot made claims about working for the airline.

They said:

“I’m a Ryanair pilot and, as such, I’m treated like crap and used to it. The way we’re treated is disgusting. That’s why Michael O’Leary trying to make overtures to us now is laughable.

“Like all my colleagues, I’m not allowed a free cup of tea or coffee on the airplane. If we want it, we have to pay, even after flying four sectors [flights] a day. If we forget our wallet, hard luck.

“They even tried to stop us having water. Then the pilots’ union said we had to be allowed water – it was a health and safety issue. So now we’re allowed free water on the airplane. Some of the guys bring in tea bags to put in the hot water, which is nearly the same as free tea.

“But, of course, we’re not allowed to take the cardboard cups, so a lot of guys bring their own cups and tea bags now. That’s how it is in Ryanair.

“My mother, when she’s away in a hotel, empties all the sachets of tea, coffee and hot chocolate into her bag and posts them to me. I do the same in hotels. We all do. Not very glam, eh?

“….After working here for four years, I believe Michael O’Leary hates pilots. He has nothing but contempt for us. If there’s an opportunity for us to be humiliated, Ryanair will take it.

“I’m based out of Stansted but I’m Irish and my family is in Dublin. For personal reasons, I begged to be transferred to Dublin but I was told no, there were no vacancies.

“One day coming back to Dublin, I was sitting on the jumpseat and the pilot told me he was based in Dublin but trying to get transferred to London. That kind of thing is par for the course – if they wanted, they could have facilitated both of us but helping people is not on the Ryanair agenda.

“…For over 20 years, Michael O’Leary has singled out a single group of workers for abuse. I’m not sure why he does this.

“Pilots are really quite simple; we just want to do what we love and earn some money at the same time. But Michael O’Leary is aware of the potential threat pilots have been to other airlines when their union became too powerful.

“Air Berlin today is a great example. About to go bust, it’s being kept afloat by taxpayers to the tune of €150million and what have some pilots done there? Gone on strike. That’s an example of unions being stupid.

“So Ryanair has completely neutered pilots by stamping down on them from day one. It’s no way to treat people, colleagues and partners.

“At HQ in Dublin, there’s a Monday morning meeting of management where everybody shouts and screams at each other, led by O’Leary from the top.

“The operations guys could have seen this [current] crisis coming but they were probably afraid to tell O’Leary, because he’d scream at them.

“I know that some people can’t sleep the night before that meeting and one operations guy had a shoe thrown at him. He’s now left.”


47 thoughts on “From The Top

  1. Edel King

    Ryanair’s shares dropped in price drastically as a result of this ‘holiday rostering’ so called cock-up, Ryanair has bought a load of its own shares taking massive advantage of this drop in price, the price will go back up in a short time and who is the winner out of all this utter nightmare for thousands of customers recently? Ryanair and more importantly, O Leary.

      1. Anomanomanom

        So fake news the poo out of it, then just say “I’m protecting my source”. There are many ways prove they work there without giving the source.

  2. Christopher

    While I think pilots are rather well looked after (by law not allowed to fly more than 900 hours a year) I do know from a close friend who works at Ryanair HQ that screaming and irrational decisions taken on a whim by senior management are day to day occurrences. MOL has got away with it for so long because the business model is good but if they have to start cancelling flights then things will change for him quickly.

    1. Cian

      Careful with that 900 hours a year fact. This is 900 hours flying (actually it also includes taxiing). A Dublin -> London will have the pilot working for, perhaps, 3 or more hours, but the ‘flying hours’ may be only 50 minutes.

    2. newsjustin

      Really? 900 hours a year? So 75 hours a month? Is that right?

      I’m inclined to believe the secret pilot stuff. The company has never given any indication to suggest that kind of crap goes on.

  3. francis almond

    This poor man. Having to pay for tea! Forgetting his wallet! So terrified of O’Learys wrath he cannot even summon the courage to ask one of his colleagues for a loan of €2 for the tea lady. Forced to work at Ryanair! It’s modern slavery all orchestrated by the evil O’Leary who by all accounts is modeling himself on Adolf Hitler. Shocking. I really hope this brave young man can get a job at another airline with piping hot tea on tap. I’d like to see someone throw a shoe at Michael O’Leary and it to fly up his bum.

  4. Kolmo

    O’Leary copied the Southwest Airlines business model from employee friendly US and A, pilots are far more common in America so they could use and abuse, some pilots were paid so little they needed to be on their equivalent of social welfare to feed themselves and their families – how sustainable is that, and who is happy to be flown be someone on the breadline..??
    Mindset of a dickensian mill owner..good for investors though..

  5. Grace

    Eh this first bit seems a bit OTT – how much does a box of tea bags cost in all fairness? My employer doesn’t provide free tea and coffee either – everyone gets their own and gets on with the job.

    1. Rob_G

      I do recall a few years ago a story in the media about Ryanair employees not being allowed to charge their phones in work, so it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

  6. Cian

    Quick BS poll. How common is free tea/coffee in your place of work?

    Personally I’d say that about half the places I’ve worked have provided free tea/coffee, in all other places everyone just either brought in their own tea-bags (individually or in groups) – kettles were provided by most.

    One exception – neither tea/coffee nor hot water was available.

    1. Andrew

      So does anyone know what a pilot actually gets paid to fly planes for Ryanair? I don’t see it mentioned in the article or any of the cooments.
      Why wouldn’t the pilot reveal his salary?

  7. Frilly Keane

    This is a Labour issue
    and keeping the screws tightened on employees, regardless of their grade, title, post etc is the main finance of any Quoted entity

    Because RyanAir are very aggressive with their Anti Union ethos, and very strict on employee activities they are an investors’ perfect match

    Thats why Micheal had no problem getting the support of his AGM last week

    Keeping the workers in their place is what he intends to continue to do

    The bonus offer of €12k to pilots was imo offensive
    Remember this is an expensive profession to enter, and it is a high risk and a high stress level role, along with carrying the heaviest Responsibility load within operations.

    I’ll be impressed if Ryan Air finally settle out with the pilots for anything below 35k –
    but if I’m to put my head on the block – it’ll be more than 40

    “I believe Michael O’Leary hates pilots”

    nope, well not entirely
    He hates anyone and anything that has to be paid from Income/ Revenue

    1. scottser

      some aviation journo on pat kenny this morning stated that over half of ryanair pilots aren’t directly employed by the company. they use recruitment agents and their pilots are given a directorship of a shelf company. ryanair then pay them a set rate and then have no obligations as regards normal contracted employment.

      he also said that most pilots do about 4 years and then leave.

      1. martco

        correct from what I’ve heard
        it’s the same structure that some IT contractors are having to use these days when working for certain tier 1 corporations
        the da’s neighbour has a son who is a former “employee” told us all this stuff a few years ago, he did exactly what most of the juniors are still doing there today – just clocking up the hours to get out and upwards to a proper job, he flies cargo now elsewhere and no more contractor bs does very well judging by the motor he drives. certain areas of the industry very dysfunctional. but something else he said not mentioned much in any this – he reckoned there’s a knock on health and safety side of things..lads sleeping in their cars near the airport on standby, substance abuse, it isn’t as simple as it looks.

    2. kellma

      A good tip for keeping the unions out is not to treat staff like sub-humans. You can only push people so far.

    3. Frilly Keane

      I note all that lads

      but the main issue I was trying to get accross is that Michael O’Leary’s endeavours to keep manners on the Payroll and Contractors/ Subbies and other Agency costs is why he has the support of his Shareholders

      Anything that keeps employees/ and labour costs down and controlled is what corporate investors want to hear and it is what will get their continued support

  8. VikingIVesterled

    It is time for Ryanair to get a real cross-functional Deputy CEO, with a seat on the board, so it can work on more options for the future. O’Leary would keep an eye on proceedings and work as a back-out plan until some years down the line he could take his rightful place as a working Chairman.
    This person would need to have experience from how all parts of the airline functions, be focused on the core values but at the same time be a person of trust/truth and have creative ideas on how to adjust the path.

  9. Cloud

    I don’t think I have ever worked somewhere where tea, coffee and drinking water wasn’t provided. Bizarre.

    1. A snowflake's chance in hell

      Same here. But it’s ok Cian above has worked in all sorts of horrific hellholes and is ready to name and shame

      1. Cian

        I’ve worked in quite a few Civil Service/Public Service offices – none of them had free tea or coffee.
        There was usually a ‘tea kitty’ where people paid €1-2 per week and a rota to buy teabags/coffee & milk. I’ve worked in a fast food restaurant – that was the one that didn’t even provide hot water. Hell, I was self-employed at one stage and had to provide my own tea!

        1. martco

          not so long ago I worked a gig in one well known civil service building where they had a “tea lady” complete with trolley burco newspapers & treats. like clockwork & per diktat she’d wheel around for the break mid morning & afternoon…it didn’t matter if the place was on fire it was down tools the whole floor work to rule style. unbelievable.

          1. martco

            from what we could make out beverages and papers free, treats subsidised. oh and being contractor scum we were very definitely not included :)

  10. Kolyn

    there’s 4 paragraphs complaining about tea & coffee. is that seriously one of the main grievances ? and why does he have to have to steal them from hotels and have his mother do the same, just go buy a box of tea-bags €3 and bring a travel cup… in all fairness, that pilot is being so ridiculous it would almost make me want to side with o’leary

    1. newsjustin

      It’s examples like that – often about little things – that give you a strong indication about what an employer is like.

  11. RuilleBuille

    I have known three cabin crew who worked for Ryanair. All three hated it there., two have moved on, and the last one is continually searching for work elsewhere.

    1. scottser

      i haven’t flown with ryanair that often, since they tried to charge me 200 bucks to bring a mandolin on the aircraft and then proceeded to photograph me stashing it my main suitcase to go into the hold.
      anyway, i would imagine that they have a pretty high staff turnover which is why they are made pay for their own uniforms and training. while most staff anywhere pay for snacks, drinks and lunches most of those working in airlines out or airports are going to pay maximum for essentially sh1t food. i had the unfortunate experience yesterday of a ryanair ham and cheese panini with a cup of ryanair coffee. you wouldn’t. seriously, you just wouldn’t.

  12. MoyestWithExcitement

    “I believe Michael O’Leary hates pilots.”

    Right wing economics is sociopathy. The human beings who help you are a necessary evil and as such, it is fine to forget about the fact they are human beings. Pay them as little as possible and absolutely no “perks”. Never mind one of the first rules you learn in business studies is that happy people are productive people, it is YOUR business and they’re lucky to work for you and should be grateful for the scraps you give them.

    1. scottser

      it’s the sheer scabbery of ryanair that would make you wince. remember that scare about them not carrying enough fuel for emergencies? cut too many corners and you’ve nothing left to work with.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Remember all the useful idiots preaching about the efficiency of the private sector as an argument for privatisation? Slogan chanting turkeys chanting for Christmas. When profit is the point, costs are minimised as much as possible and you get people dying in shoddlily built apartment blocks and thousands of people stranded because you hate that you have to pay your staff.

      2. Christopher

        Yes and Ryanair are fighting Channel 4 in the courts about that one- Ryanair have always carried enough fuel for emergencies as mandated by law.

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