Ryanair (officially "the worst of the 100 biggest brands serving the British market") is changing its culture because the board are sick of seeing people weeping in the departure lounge and being harangued at dinner-parties by friends and relatives who hate the airline and refuse to fly it. The airline's latest scandal: charging a neurosurgeon £160 to change his ticket home from Dublin to Leeds, after he explained that he was flying home in a rush because his wife and children had been killed in a housefire.
They've never been quite that horrible with me, but they were bad enough on a 2008 trip to Berlin that I have never flown them since.
He told the Irish Daily Mail that tears were streaming down his face as he tried to explain to staff at Dublin airport why he needed to change to an earlier flight to Birmingham.
But the surgeon said he was told by check-in staff that he would have to pay to change his booking.
He told the newspaper: "I don't want to make a big deal about it but it did shock me. I really did not expect them to charge me.
"I thought, given the circumstances, they might just let me transfer flights, as I had already paid for a return fare."
(Image: Staying classy, Ryanair..., Christian Heilmann, CC-BY)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.