Crisis types: the shot to the foot

April 9th, 2019

There’s no word for it in English but that does stop people using the German word: schadenfreude – taking pleasure in the discomfort of others. 

It’s a dangerous business and if can easily backfire. And like its cousin – revenge – it’s a dish best eaten cold or not at all. 

When it comes to air travel, almost everyone would agree that Ryanair is not the most crisis-free airline in the world. What with their Chief Executive’s historical tough stance and off-the-wall plans like charging for toilets and having pornography in the cabin, you would think they might take a lower profile. 

But no. When a British Airways flight ended up in Edinburgh rather than its planned destination of Dusseldorf, Ryanair’s PR people went into overdrive and produced a ‘Geography for Dummies’ mock-up. 

Of course, Ryanair – that champion of customer rights – has never gone astray. And former passengers were quickly off the mark on social media. 

The Internet was soon buzzing with the story of the Ryanair flights that had ‘got lost’. One Tweeter remarked: May I remind @Ryanair of the flight FR8582 from London to Thessaloniki, Greece, that landed to Timisoara, Romania (500 miles and 2 international frontiers from its supposed destination). And more. 

Then all of Ryanair’s previous woes: tight legroom, changes to baggage allowances, a racism attack, strikes, etc were all dug up. 

That’s how to generate your own crisis. 

The ‘moral high ground’ is a steep cliff and it’s very easy to fall off, so best not to go there unless you are squeaky clean. And very few of us are. 

Tom Curtin 

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