A little honesty can often clear the air. And the arteries.
So I am heartened that the Irish airline Ryanair decided to put the PR flannel aside and pick up its finest titanium cudgel in a dispute with a blogger.
Jason Roe, a Web developer from Dublin, tried to book tickets on Ryanair's Web site and thought he'd masterfully found a little technical kink that allowed him to snatch tickets for free.
Like many a fine Web developer, he posted a note about his experience on his blog and twittered it to the heavens. But the kink was not a kink. The glitch turned out to be merely the scratching of Jason Roe's itch. Free flights could not, in fact, be had by one and all.
Somehow, members of Ryanair's diligent staff happened upon Mr. Roe's site and began to leave him messages.
One message read: "You're an idiot and a liar!! fact is! you've opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you dont even know how you did it!"
The use of exclamation points enhances the general lively feeling of the Ryanair employee's post. However, the airline decided not to stop there. When Mr. Roe traced the Internet Protocol address of this poster back to Ryanair, the company's PR department found itself a steel mallet, complete with rusty iron spikes emerging from its head.
Stephen McNamara, a Ryanair spokesman with whom, I suspect, I would prefer to have just the one drink in a brightly lit room, declared to CNN: "Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion."
Swinging the mallet hard, he continued: "It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers, and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves, as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel."
Some might feel that the company's attitude will only help it drive down the runway of ruin.
Indeed, Ryanair's management can be quite naughty. Just last year, the airline was sued by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his then-girlfriend, Carla Bruni, when Ryanair ran an ad that featured an image of the couple--without paying for it. The airline lost that suit.
However, there is something faintly charming about about a company that is happy to reflect its true, scampish essence, even in this here "blog sphere."
What I find a little odd is that Mr. Roe seemed intent on getting flight tickets for free. Yet I have just, for the first time in my life, stumbled upon Ryanair's site. It offered to fly me from Liverpool, England, to Seville, Spain, for example, for a quite lunatic price of 5 British pounds. Which is something like $7. And Mr. Roe was highlighting ways to scam your way for free?
The world has taken on a very warped and wounded shape. I blame the idiot and lunatic bloggers, myself.