• Leon de Leeuw

Why Ryanair should keep flying

Since the Corona crisis, there's been a discussion on cheap flights across Europe. The air now is cleaner than ever. Flights have been cancelled at large. Vacations are cancelled. Now that's all valid because of the virus. But the discussion is about the flying at large. For when this is over. So forget about the virus, that's not what the article is about.

If you scroll through some Dutch comment sections, on websites such as Nu.nl, there's many in favor of stopping cheap flying altogether. They look with disdain on people flying to Lisbon or Barcelona for cheap. And for short, because these are often weekend trips. You'd nearly be ashamed to take a flight at all. There's a lot of thought police going around. I'm for the principle of Live and let live. Do no harm onto others and stay out of other people's business.

Now I understand this clean air and less traffic on the road is all great. But when you want to halt flying across Europe, you immediately interfere with the free market. And I bet many are in favor of government regulations in this matter. I strongly disagree. Supply and demand dictates the market. As such, when there's enough demand for that cheap flight to London, it will be full. You dictating the market on your personal beliefs is not immediately changing the demand. Indeed, traveling by train for distances under 500 km is friendlier for the environment. Beyond that, it's flying. And many companies could shift from plane to train rides for Amsterdam-Paris or Rotterdam-London. Or do meetings remotely only. Lots of fat to trim in the business world. In fact, if those who can continue to work from home, there'd be so little traffic on the road we can all afford to fly to Rome once or twice a year.

I'd prefer no market interference from the green parties or the government. When there's enough people not willing to fly, the planes will be half empty and airlines will immediately reduce the number of flights. It's called voting with your wallet. What annoys me the most is that many of these environmentally conscious people dictating others to adapt their lifestyle, probably fly themselves as well. For that one wedding in Southern Italy, or that one trip a year. And of course, then the tickets better be cheap. But hey, THEY fly for a good reason AND only once a year. All OTHER people fly for no reason and just for fun, making that immediately illegitimate and unnecessary. What these people do is voting with other people's wallets instead of their own. This world can only be improved starting by cleaning our doorstep. Disagree with cheap fares and frequent flights? Don't fly. Have a civil discussion about actual facts on the environment, ask your boss if you can't do that meeting online or hop on a train to Munich for that conference. And all other people, well, they will vote with their wallets once the time comes. Because if there was no desire for such flights in the first place, they wouldn't have been there.

Set a good example, make a register for non-flying virtue signalers. Be on the board. Sign up yourself. I bet the register will remain empty, because you actually have a good reason to fly to London while all other people don't. And if you stay home and never fly, that's great. But perhaps water the plants instead of limiting other people's freedom of movement, willingness to live life and keep the economy going. Are low-cost airlines unfair in regards to their personnel? Most definitely. But that's a whole other discussion. And indeed we can vote with our wallets again. Perhaps KLM does better in that regard. But let me guess, apart from business travelers there's very few willing to spend extra for fair treatment of staff, right? While you're at it, look up the salaries KLM pays out for short and long-distance flight crew. The same salaries, both abhorrently low. This is the free market. If flight staff chose the better airlines such as Emirates and Etihad, they would be better off. If there's no positions open with these airlines, guess what principle applies? The free market. Instead of becoming a pilot, go in the trades or do something else that there is demand for. Yes, there should be strict government regulations on treatment of staff. But within these lines, there's nobody who's been forced to go work for Ryanair or others. Supply and demand applies, always. And I'm happy that's the case. Keep flying safe!

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