Swords Orthodontics
17 Main St, Swords, Co Dublin, Ireland

Doing It Yourself: Part 1

I fly a lot on Ryanair.

Fasten your safety belts. Not a Ryanair flight - but I wonder which airline it is, and do you pay extra to watch programmes and movies on your screen?
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Contrary to many people who phone into radio shows, I haven’t had any major problems with Ryanair. In a way I’m supporting local business, as Ryanair HQ is only a few hundred yards away from Swords Orthodontics – that’s not the fundamental reason I fly with them, it just works out this way.

For foreign readers of this blog, very foreign it would have to be for you no to know, Ryanair is a colossally successful Irish airline. We also have a much longer established national airline, Aer Lingus, but Ryanair was the airline that changed the model for how Irish people (and plenty of other Europeans) travelled by air.

Although it started off with different ideas, Ryanair - under the direction of Michael O’Leary –took inspiration from Herb Kelleher’s Southwest Airlines in the USA and worked out a way of minimising the costs of providing a seat on their plane for a flight from A to B.

If your journey involved an onward flight to C, that was your business. You had to collect your luggage and check it in for the onward flight. Indeed, if you wanted to check in luggage at all, that cost extra. Because it costs the airline money to have a baggage handler load and unload it on and off the plane.

Initially that was inconceivable, an outrage, but we adapted. In reality, most short haul flights are taken by people that don’t need a lot of luggage, so we got used to it. People eventually got used to using special luggage – usually little wheelie trolleys -  that maximised their carry on allowance, but were still pretty portable. We may have moaned, but we still bought the tickets because they were cheaper. When we bought enough of these tickets, the other airlines had to change their services. Because they had to change their prices if they wanted to compete.

The costs to the customer came down because the company was able to reduce its own costs, and one of the ways they did this was to get the passengers to take their own luggage on and off the plane – and for an encore you have to check in before you arrive at the airport and print out a boarding pass (or download their app) if you want to avoid more charges!

In other words, the company is outsourcing some of the work to their own customers. Can you think of other examples where the customer does something that the company they’re paying used to do for them as part of the service the company provided?

And what has this got to do with orthodontics?

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