I gotta hand it to them, so to speak. The folks at Ryanair are simply marvellous at keeping their name in the spotlight.
A year or so ago, they were making waves by talking about installing pay toilets on board airplanes. Visions of lineups and folks digging into their pockets for coins as they danced a jig in the aisles of planes sparked a huge outpouring of media attention, including comments from me of course. To my knowledge, Ryanair hasn't built a single pay toilet on board a plane. But they got a ton of publicity.
Now comes word they want to develop apps that will allow passengers to play games, gamble or even watch a porno flick at 36,000 feet.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary, who I'd love to meet some day, said it would need at least a year to implement the technology as the plan doesn't even have broadband on its planes (and you thought Air Canada was bad).
"I'm not talking about having it on screens on the back of seats for everyone to see," Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary told the Sun in London. "It would be on handheld devices."
Oh, that's SO MUCH better, Michael. How discreet. How marvellously sensitive!
"Hotels around the world have it, so why wouldn't we?" O'Leary said.
Um. Last time I checked, most hotel rooms have doors that close so folks walking down the hall don't see what's on the TV in every room. Maybe Ryanair could issue magic cloaking devices so we can't see our neighbours smartphone or iPad. Come to think of it, let's hope they can do just that so I can avoid sitting next to adult men who play annoying video games that go "ping" and "zowie" and make other, horrible sounds FOR A SOLID TWO HOURS on the way back from Jamaica.
I don't want to get into the details of the idea, but I can just imagine the nightmare of having people watching erotic movies in their seats as they fly over France or, better yet, Come By Chance, Newfoundland. Sales of those little moist towelletes would soar, for sure.
O'Leary is almost certainly kidding. But when you're playing with a master p.r. guy like this, it's sometimes hard to know. I mean, check out their "Girls of Ryanair Calendar."
(Nice that proceeds go to charity, but isn't that Silvio Berlusconi up in the cockpit?)
You're not going to see that in Canada any time soon, folks. Porter has given us those cool pill box hats on the flight attendants but I can't imagine a "Girls of Porter Airlines" calendar....
FAIRMONT GOES ALL-INCLUSIVE FOR FOOD
The Fairmont Mayokoa on the Riviera Maya in Mexico is experimenting with a semi-allinclusive package. Faced with competition from high-end all-inclusive resorts, the hotel is the first Fairmont property to test a food-and-drink package that allows customers to buy all their meals - and drinks - in advance.
Barb De Lollis in USA Today writes that folks who buy the package can go to any restaurant at any time of day. You can order alcohol. If you choose to eat at the Fairmont's highest-end restaurant that serves imported meat and seafood dishes, you'll pay a surcharge and then eat as much as you want.
The hotel is selling the package at $429 per day for a family of four (with children over age 5) for what typically is considered worth $740 of food and drink per day, retail. Kids under five eat free.
The package excludes sale of alcohol by the bottle. "It would be hard to control" if customers were ordering two bottles of Cristal at $150 a pop, he says.
You'll also find limits on some cocktails or glasses of wine. If you want a scotch, for instance, you'll receive Johnny Walker Red; if you want Johnny Walker Black, then you'd have to pay for it.
"You won't get well drinks," Robinson says. "When you order vodka, you'll get Absolut."
Pretty clever idea. As a guy with a family of five, I can definitely see the advantage of knowing my costs in advance. It's about $100 per day for a family of four; not cheap but pretty good if you have hungry children who are of drinking age.