On the 21st October Ryanair’s CEO took over the airline’s Twitter feed for a live chat session in an attempt to change the perception of their hardened image.
After posting a photo of himself dressed as a leprechaun Michael welcomed us all on Twitter to #GrillMOL.
I ask the question though, do customers really have a ‘hardened’ image of Ryanair or do they think they are just plane greedy? Many tweets were asking if they would be charged for asking questions – doesn’t this say it all? One person following the chat asked: ‘Have you managed to find a way to charge us €5 for every tweet using #GrillMOL’ to which O’Leary replied ‘great idea. Have a team workin’ on it as we breathe’.
As the conversations progressed, O’Leary became a little rude. One female reminded her followers about the live chat, which started at 4pm, to which O’Leary replied ‘Nice pic. Phwoaaarr! MOL’ the woman was ‘#NotImpressed’. She wasn’t the only person left unimpressed with the CEO’s lewd behaviour. There was a huge backlash over his comment and the clearly inexperienced Twitter user soon realized people were discussing his comment. Once he realized, he tweeted: ‘Learning on da job! Always compliment ladies pics.’
O’Leary even went as far as to joke about putting beds underneath the hold for people wanting to join the Mile High Club. This was obviously meant in good humour but following  his earlier tweets, it wasn’t well received by many of the chat followers.
Prior to the chat, plenty of frustrated people are regularly asking to speak with the CEO or someone of authority in the company rather than a member of the customer service team. I’m not entirely sure their responses were what they wanted though.
Was this PR stunt a success or did it portray Ryanair as rude and careless. I’m not sure this was the best use of social media, however it has created a great deal of noise around the company, even if it hasn’t particularly been for the right reasons.
What was he supposed to do? People did not expect these sorts of relies, which is why we are all discussing them. Most people tweeting O’Leary were complaining or insulting the company and he would have spent his hour apologising for the poor customer service and unexpected charges many Ryan Air customers expect from them.
Was the Ryanair head left unprepared for this live chat and should he have had a social media manager leading the conversation for him? Or was it all a planned publicity stunt? Let us know your views on the events and the fallout below.

About Natalie Richmond

Account Executive at Prohibition PR.