Having queued up for more than 30 minutes, I finally reached the counter. “bonjour Monsieur” said the pretty lady behind the counter.
“ I’m sorry but you will have to call a friend and ask them to pay for you as we cannot accept real money” she continued. “ What? This is crazy, you do not accept real money!! What is this, a scene from a Kafka novel? You want me to pay you again for the privilege of paying you invisible money, now I give you real money and you say I cannot board my flight to Dublin unless I pay you more invisible money!”
By this stage I realised I had declared war but I was not prepared to surrender. Meanwhile airport security were beginning to take an interest in the lone protester
I should point you to you dear reader that I said this in French, so it may have sounded less offensive! By this stage other French customers in the queue behind me began to join in and for a moment I thought “ this could be the storming of the Bastille or a Rosa Parks moment”. Not quite I’m afraid. But they kindly paid the miserable five Euro for me and I boarded my flight.
A few months later, I came back to the same Ryanair counter and met the same lady. This time I decided to take a leaf from President Roosevelt’s book when he said that in negotiation you should speak softly but carry a big stick. My big stick was the threat of another vituperative onslaught. From our initial eye contact I could tell she recognised me. The cashier could probably detect the verbal arsenal behind the clenched teeth of my fake smile. I spoke softly, looked her straight in the eye and whispered “ Madam I do not have a credit card”. Then, as if for the sake of world peace, she took out her own card and paid for my flight herself. I gave her my five euro, thanked her profusely and quietly departed. You might think I was a bit extreme calling Ryanair fascists but aren’t they the airline that taxes fat people and wants to make us pay to use the toilet? Kafka once said ‘in the fight between you and the world, back the world”. I surrendered and now back the banking world by paying them for the privilege of my invisible money!