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TikTok tales: how Ryanair's humor soars on social media


Navigating the aviation industry's complex skies is far from a leisurely journey. High-stakes challenges such as legacy tech, safety, security, sustainability, economic uncertainty, and global conflict add to the industry's stresses. Defying the turbulence faced by many in the industry, Ryanair reported a staggering 72% surge in net profit in the first half of the fiscal year, reaching a remarkable €2.2 billion, up from €1.3 billion in the same period last year.

Fueled by increased fares and record-breaking summer season traffic, this financial leap highlights a robust recovery and surging consumer demand in the post-pandemic era. The airline weathered the storm and soared above it by serving an impressive 105 million passengers and experiencing an 11% traffic hike. But how did Ryanair, often criticized yet undeniably successful, navigate to these heights?

Cramped and cranky: the woes of economy class

The joy of modern air travel often involves a journey that resembles a descent into a unique circle of Dante's Inferno. You're wedged into a seat with less legroom than a child's booster chair, praying the person in front doesn't recline into your kneecaps. Your in-flight entertainment is a live show featuring the person behind you using your seatback as a footrest. At the same time, a symphony of screaming babies and drunken passengers drown out your broken headphones.

Let's not forget the gourmet experience, which feels like a culinary guessing game with mystery meals that make you yearn for the simplicity of hospital food. The cabin's temperature oscillates between Arctic chill and Sahara heat, ensuring comfort remains an elusive dream. Finally, the passenger in front of you transforms their hair into a makeshift curtain cascading over your tiny screen. It's less 'friendly skies' and more a masterclass in patience and contortion. But despite all this, Ryanair is encouraging flyers to see the funny side of flying through the medium of TikTok.

Ryanair's TikTok triumph: embracing honesty over hype

Ryanair's TikTok presence is a gust of brutal honesty in an industry often shrouded in glossy veneers and exaggerated fake customer-first mantras. With over 2.1 million followers, they've become a sensation not for showcasing luxurious amenities or picturesque destinations but for their unabashed, self-deprecating humor.

The airline is proving to be a hit with passengers by openly acknowledging the elephant in the cabin. Yes, the legroom is more suited for a garden gnome, and indeed, additional charges pop up more frequently than a game of whack-a-mole. But they've turned passenger complaints into comedic gold, proving that authenticity can be far more engaging than the usual corporate spiel. This isn't your typical customer-is-king approach; it's Ryanair holding up a mirror to the budget airline experience, warts and all, and it's proving to be a viral hit online.

Ryanair's TikTok is a blend of gritty realism and tongue-in-cheek jabs that resonate with a generation tired of polished facades. The airline humorously embraces its bare-bones service, even joking that it generously offers "complimentary toilet access." This approach is an antithesis to the traditional 'customer is always right' philosophy, portraying a more relatable, if slightly twisted, brand personality.

@ryanair The only airline to slay this hard 💅 #slay #ryanair ♬ sonido original - ezspeedsongs 🎧

We all know it's not cool to judge people by the covers of the books they read in public. In its typical edgy style, Ryanair spotlighted this societal quirk in another viral post, playfully mocking the unspoken social rules of public reading. The airline's TikTok video, featuring an actor posing as a traveler engrossed in a popular Colleen Hoover book, was captioned "Bestie, don't be that basic," striking a chord with the silent observers of the reading world. The post taps into a common, albeit somewhat irrational, anxiety among readers: the fear of being silently judged for their literary choices.

Whether it's a profound classic or a guilty pleasure paperback, the book in your hand somehow becomes a billboard advertising your taste, intellect, or even your mood. Ryanair's post cleverly mirrors this phenomenon, highlighting how even in the age of digital media, a physical book can still be a powerful symbol of personal identity, subject to the curious and often critical gaze of fellow travelers.

@ryanair Bestie, don’t be that basic 😚 #booktok ♬ I was ruined when she bought it - Queenie

The playful jab at this phenomenon shows an acute understanding of the traveler's psyche. It resonates with anyone who's ever felt a twinge of self-consciousness while reading in public. The approach reflects the brand's irreverent humor and captures a universal and peculiar self-awareness about reading in public.

Consistent tone, viral success: Ryanair’s social media playbook

One golden rule of social media that the airline does not break is maintaining a consistent tone across its social channels to ensure a unified brand identity and voice, regardless of the platform they engage with. Last year on Twitter, Ryanair responded to a passenger's complaint in a way that was anything but conventional. The incident involved a passenger expressing discontent over the absence of a window next to her exit row seat, a grievance she might have expected to be met with a standard apologetic response.

However, the airline's social media team countered the complaint by reposting the passenger's photo with a hastily drawn circle highlighting a small, round window on the exit door, accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek implication of "there's your window." This acerbic reply predictably went viral, amassing over 55 million views, and gained wide media attention, including mentions in Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show."

Joking about their shortcomings and the often-frustrating realities of budget travel has sparked a conversation about the authenticity of brand engagement in a digital age. Their significant following and viral videos testify to the power of humor and honesty in an industry often criticized for lacking both. But whether you will see the funny side when the joke is on you is a debate for another day.


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