The fly-on-the-wall television programmes that have followed the ups and downs of daily airport life for carriers like easyJet and Southwest Airlines have become popular viewing. The scenes are sometimes uncomfortable as passengers are refused boarding when they arrive too late for check-in or there are delays, but nothing as uncomfortable as some of the footage from last night’s “Dispatches” hour-long programme on a UK station about Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair.
The editors sent two reporters undercover at the carrier to train as stewards and get under the skin of what really happens behind the scenes. They wanted to investigate Ryanair’s training methods, how it treats crew and passengers, and in particular if it violated security or safety practices and procedures.
There was a lot of wobbly hidden filming, muffled conversations as well as the oligatory stock shots of aircraft landing in a pretty sunset. Now, I have got to confess that I have never flown with Ryanair so I cannot comment on its service. All I’ve got to go on is the TV programme, and readers will have to watch that to judge for themselves (check the link above to the Channel 4 website but unfortunately it doesn’t include any footage).
Ryanair’s reaction is perhaps as interesting. The fightback has been furious. It has printed detailed statements on its website to the allegations in the programme. Take a look, it makes for some fascinating reading.
This is certainly a story that has, as journalists say, legs.