Swedish consumer group ‘a bunch of idiots’: Ryanair CEO

Outspoken Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary slammed a Swedish consumer rights group on Tuesday, adding that the discount airline has not yet ruled out requiring passengers to pay to use the toilet while in the air.

Swedish consumer group 'a bunch of idiots': Ryanair CEO

At a press conference in Stockholm, O’Leary explained that free toilets are a drain on Ryanair’s bottom line.

“They don’t generate any money,” he said, according to the E24 business news website.

“We don’t want the money either, but are interested in using the toilet space for extra seats in the plane…we have to think differently if we’re going to keep our prices low.”

O’Leary likened charging for a trip to the bathroom to charging for checked baggage, arguing that passengers may be happy to relieve themselves in airports prior to boarding if they knew it would save them some money.

The Ryanair CEO also had choice words for Sweden’s National Board for Consumer Complaints (Allmänna reklamationsnämnden – ARN) in the wake of a recent decision by the agency against the airline.

“ARN are a bunch of idiots who refuse to follow EU regulations,” said O’Leary, according to the TT news agency.

The criticism comes after ARN ordered Ryanair to pay a family 11,000 kronor ($1,600) in compensation after they were left on the ground in Gothenburg in April.

The family and several other passengers were waiting for their flight to London at Gothenburg City Airport, Ryanair’s normal port of call in Gothenburg. But due to bad weather, the plane instead landed nearly 40 kilometres away at Landvetter airport.

While officials at Gothenburg City Airport were willing to transport passengers to Landvetter to board the flight, Ryanair refused to cover the costs, according to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The plane eventually departed for London from Landvetter, but without any passengers onboard.

While Ryanair agreed to cover the 5,000 kronor cost of the family’s airfare, the airline refused to compensate them for football tickets and hotel bookings in London which went unused because of the missed flight.

According to ARN, the airline failed to do enough to avoid causing the family economic harm by not purchasing flights for them on another airline – a line of reasoning with which O’Leary doesn’t agree.

“We think ARN is wrong and is misleading Swedish consumers. We’re not playing a PR game, we actually compensated people. We couldn’t care less if it hurts us or not because ARN is wrong,” he said, according to E24.

“66 million passengers can’t be wrong.”

O’Leary added that Ryanair is currently in discussions with airports in Gothenburg and Skavsta, south of Stockholm, about adding five or six new routes to destinations in France, Italy, and Spain some time next year.

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UPDATE: Ryanair passenger jet makes emergency landing in Berlin over ‘fake bomb threat’

Polish police said Monday they were investigating a fake bomb threat that forced a Ryanair passenger plane travelling from Dublin to Krakow to make an emergency landing in Berlin.

UPDATE: Ryanair passenger jet makes emergency landing in Berlin over 'fake bomb threat'
A Ryanair flight making an emergency landing

The flight from Dublin to Krakow made the unexpected diversion after a reported bomb threat, German newspaper Bild Zeitung said.

“We were notified by the Krakow airport that an airport employee received a phone call saying an explosive device had been planted on the plane,” said regional police spokesman, Sebastian Glen.

“German police checked and there was no device, no bomb threat at all. So we know this was a false alarm,” he told AFP on Monday.

“The perpetrator has not been detained, but we are doing everything possible to establish their identity,” Glen added, saying the person faces eight years in prison.

With 160 people on board, the flight arrived at the Berlin Brandenburg airport shortly after 8 pm Sunday, remaining on the tarmac into early Monday morning.

A Berlin police spokesperson said that officers had completed their security checks “without any danger being detected”.

“The passengers will resume their journey to Poland on board a spare aeroplane,” she told AFP, without giving more precise details for the alert.

The flight was emptied with the baggage also searched and checked with sniffer dogs, German media reported.

The passengers were not able to continue their journey until early Monday morning shortly before 4:00 am. The federal police had previously classified the situation as harmless. The Brandenburg police are now investigating the case.

Police said that officers had completed their security checks “without any danger being detected”.

“The Ryanair plane that made an emergency landed reported an air emergency and was therefore immediately given a landing permit at BER,” airport spokesman Jan-Peter Haack told Bild.

“The aircraft is currently in a safe position,” a spokeswoman for the police told the newspaper.

The incident comes a week after a Ryanair flight was forced to divert to Belarus, with a passenger — a dissident journalist — arrested on arrival.

And in July last year, another Ryanair plane from Dublin to Krakow was forced to make an emergency landing in London after a false bomb threat.

READ ALSO: Germany summons Belarus envoy over forced Ryanair landing