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“Hands up if the price, timings, departure and arrival point was the same, you would choose FR instead of BA.”
But they aren’t, are they? And that is the cleverness of Ryanair’s strategy.
The company has identified a huge market of individuals who regard flying as an airborne bus journey and just want low price, punctual departures and low fares, meaning they will fly from 2nd tier or 3rd tier airports to the same, which lowers operational costs and reduces the risk of delays on the ground.
Other passengers have no choice (e.g. London-Bremen) as FR is the only operator, due to their wide route network.
At the end of the day, would I be too bothered about flying FR instead of BA? Not really, though I’d rather take Norwegian over either of them.
By the way, I don’t buy the excuse that ‘numerous elements’ going wrong creates complaints for two reasons
1 – if you position yourself as a premium brand, the aim should be zero defects
2 – BA’s main two complaint generators are poor punctuality and losing bags – these are not differentiators between premium and low cost focus airlines and reflect (a) a choice to operate from an almost at capacity airport (because of competitive advantage) and (b) apparent operational execution challenges at T5
What I do think is unhelpful about the CAA data is that it is not differentiated into short and longhaul flights, which would give a much better comparison, e.g. Lufthansa achieved a very creditable performance in the CAA data, but I believe that only ex-UK flights were scoped in, therefore short haul only (my assumption.)
Edited: Virgin had over 80 complaints per million, for a bit of balance and BA was in the top 10 for least complaints, if you look at it that way, so not a bad performance.