Ryanair received a great deal of attention during the final month of 2011. Unfortunately for the low cost airline, it wasn’t the most positive of news.
On December 9 Ryanair announced that it was looking to increase its ‘peak time bag fees’ starting in 2012. The fees during busy periods would be in some cases doubled compared to what they were during quieter times. The announcement received a great deal of negative criticism by the public.
This was followed by news that Ryanair’s 2012 calendar, which it had begun selling earlier in November and was said to be created solely for charity, was being heavily criticised for being sexist. A petition was set in motion against the calendar immediately after it launched and by mid-December the petition had received almost 9,000 signatures. Complaints about the calendar not only came from the UK but also from Sweden and Spain.
Furthermore, on December 23, Ryanair was accused of being ‘defiant’ over a governmental credit card surcharge crackdown. The airline received scrutiny on its statement that the charge on each of its passengers (£6 per one-way flight) was due to its booking system and not due to a payment surcharge.
Ryanair’s Buzz score took a hit during the month of December. It stood at -20.6 on December 8 and subsequently began to drop following the news of the increased bag fees and the controversial calendar. By December 23, Buzz score had fallen by over 5 and a half points to -26.3. This score fell a further 3 points after news of the credit card surcharge and by the end of December it stood at -29.
Unsurprisingly, Attention for Ryanair was high during the month of December and began to increase once the news stories were announced. Attention for Ryanair stood at 28% on December 12 and by the end of the month had increased to 35.8%.
All in all, December 2011 was not a very good month for Ryanair. According to BrandIndex data, Ryanair’s Buzz was already at the bottom of its competitive set (the airline sector) at the beginning of the month before declining even further. What now remains to be seen is whether Ryanair’s Buzz scores will reverse and begin to take-off in the new year?