Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Random News Generator- Ireland

The major news out of Ireland, far and away, is that Ireland is going to hold a referendum on the eurozone treaty; the vote could be held by summer. The EU didn't want that to happen, because throwing a vote on the eurozone to the voters right now is kind of like throwing Lebron James into a room full of angry Clevelanders.

However, there are thousands and thousands of people who could write on that more eloquently than me. Economics isn't exactly my wheelhouse. I'll let those more eloquent writers who better know what they're talking about do that, and go do something a little less heavily covered.

So, also in Irish news is that airline Ryanair will be offering in-flight online gambling. If you've never heard of Ryanair, this may seem surprising, but if you have heard of Ryanair, you'll know this to be par for the course.

Ryanair, if you don't know the name, is notorious throughout Ireland and, indeed, Europe as well. On their face, they are a low-cost airline. Behind that face, though, all you're promised is a cheap plane ticket. Everything else is up for grabs, sometimes to the point where the authorities have to step in and force them to include certain things.

Here's some of the more mundane things Ryanair dings you for, but among the other things Ryanair considers worth charging a fee for, or eliminating:

*Check-in desks at the airport. Gone.
*Checking in at all. That's a 5-pound charge. And remember, you have to do it online, or that's another, larger fee.
*Window blinds. (This was one of the things the aviation authorities made them put back.)
*Reclining seats.
*Seat pockets.
*Toilets. They were going to remove all but one toilet from their planes, charge for use of that toilet, and offer 4-pound standing-room-only seats. The authorities struck down the standing-room-only part; the airplane manufacturer refused to remove the toilets.
*Being fat. There was even an online vote to decide how, specifically, to charge the fat tax. And then they decided it would take too long to figure out who to hit with it, so they dropped the idea.
*Having someone load the bags onto the planes for you. Do it yourself, you lazy tourist.
*Oh, yeah, and if you find out at the airport that you have to check the bag, that'll be 100 pounds in the high season. For the first bag. For those in the United States, here's the conversion. When I clicked, it was $158.84.
*Stranded passengers. Even if you personally are not one of them, you're asked to pay up to compensate them.
*The advertised prize for being the millionth customer. (She took them to court. Ryanair lost.)
*The co-pilot. (Needless to say, this one won't be happening.)

One supposes that by allowing online gambling, Ryanair hopes passengers will win enough money to pay for all the charges.

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