Ryanair orders passenger with bag question to “shut up” — does she deserve a refund?

The Irish discount carrier Ryanair has a well-earned reputation for unapologetically burying its customers in fees, including charges for carrying their bags on board. It isn’t as well-known for its unfailingly polite defenses of its indefensible policies and their uneven implementation.

Yomna Nasr’s story probably won’t change your opinion of Ryanair. But after reading it, you may grudgingly give it points for its clever non-apologies.
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Is the era of excessive airline fees really over?

Maybe you heard about the students who “rioted” on a recent Ryanair flight because of the airline’s confiscatory luggage fees.

And maybe you heard the emphatic declarations from the blogosphere that this was the final straw, that enough was enough, and that airlines had finally gone too far with fees.

With the third anniversary of American Airlines’ pivotal first-checked-bag fee just a few weeks away — a surcharge that had a domino effect, paving the way for a fee bonanza that’s returned the industry to profitability, it’s worth asking: Are airlines about to pull back on fees?

The answer lies in the question. Because these surcharges have brought in billions of dollars in extra revenue, literally billions, it’s unlikely airlines will say, “The line has been drawn. We can’t become like Ryanair. Our passengers will riot!”

But for a few hopeful days, I thought I could write such a post. The backlash against Ryanair was pretty severe. A doom-and-gloom prognosis from a prominent airline blogger, who predicted 2011 would be the Year of the Airline Fee, had already angered a few air travelers. The student uprising only fueled the fire.
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