Ryanair, the most hated European budget airline, is known for advertising low fares and then hiking up the actual cost with fees for luggage, food, and priority boarding.Most Ryanair passengers know what to expect when travelling on the airline, but the company recently made some of their most faithful customers angry: musicians.
Many musicians, particularly those based in Ireland (Ryanair’s home country), rely on the airline to get them to the continent when they’re playing gigs or going on tour.
However, new fees for musical instruments have made the cost of flying so expensive that musicians are struggling to afford it, and are even forced to turn down gigs.
Ryanair currently charges a fee for instruments placed in the hold, even though these instruments would otherwise be subject to the same baggage fee as any other suitcase.
Even when instruments are small enough to be brought on the plane and placed safely in an overhead bin, musicians are still subject to additional charges. Although some musicians (cellists, for example) often pay for a separate seat for their instrument, Ryanair is mandating that they place their instruments in the hold, meaning the cellist has paid both an extra seat cost and an instrument fee.
Musicians are banding together (no pun intended) to punish Ryanair with a boycott.
“It’s just penalising working musicians for doing their job,” said Keith Pascoe, an Ireland-based violinist who founded the “Musicians against Ryanair” Facebook group. The group reached 15,000 members at its peak before being converted into a page by Facebook.
“Now with the London Olympics refusing to pay musicians for their participation and Ryanair targeting us, we really do feel the underdog,” Pascoe said. “I fly 20 times a year from Cork and used to use RA so go figure the amount they are losing on 15,000 Facebookers who are boycotting them.”
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