Multilingual Business Communication

February 8, 2009

“Hello honey, the plane has just taken off.”

Filed under: Aagje Verbogen, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:02 pm


Ryanair has found a new way to distinguish itself: thanks to a new technology that weakens the signal from mobile phones, its passengers will be able to make phonecalls on the plane. Everybody will be able to use text messages and send e-mails, but only six passengers will be allowed to call at one time. The facility will be tested this month on flights from Dublin and it will be available on 40 of Ryanair’s planes by the end of the summer. Although a fixed price has not been mentioned yet, it is estimated that the calls would cost about £2 a minute.

One can wonder whether this really is a good marketing strategy. For one, it might prevent other passengers from enjoying their flight. I know I would not be that happy sitting next to somebody who is incessantly talking into his phone. Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, is not bothered. He simply says: “If you want a quiet flight, use another airline. Ryanair is noisy, full and we are always trying to sell you something.” Charlie Prior, a spokesman for OnAir –the company that designed the new technology- tries to soothe customers by saying that “The rates of the calls mean that passengers only use the service for two minutes at the very most.” He also adds that a customer survey has shown that passengers do not object to the facility and that the crew can switch it off so that you can only text and e-mail. Still, as O’Leary expects that the facility will increase revenues, I doubt whether the company will really prevent people from calling.

Aagje Verbogen



  1. Making calls on a plane sounds like a brilliant idea. However, two pounds a minute and only six passengers at a time, does restrict the availability of this new service considerably, doesn’t it? Really, there is no need to worry about loud phone calls during your quiet flight. The actual drawback of this little stunt is, in my opinion, the following: the new service has little to do with serving the customer. On the contrary, it is just a petty attempt to differentiate from Ryanair’s strong competitors. I do hope they don’t create expectations with their customers, only to disappoint them afterwards…

    Comment by Trui Lagae — February 10, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  2. In my opinion, business men will constantly be making phone calls during the entire flight. They won’t mind the expensive rate, because the company pays their bill. Of course, Ryanair will gain a huge amount of business men as a customer, as they like to be reached by phone at any time, any place, even on a plane. However, they will certainly lose customers too. People who prefer a quiet flight, will look for another tour operator.

    (Febe Corthals)

    Comment by meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie — April 5, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

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