Ryanair CEO: 'Stupid' Passengers Deserve Fees

Do you print your boarding pass at home before arriving at the airport? If you don't, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary thinks you're "stupid."

Michael O'Leary
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Michael O'Leary

The Ryanair chief executive recently admonished passengers, who fail to print boarding passes before arriving at the airport.

The issue came to a head after a mother of two — Suzy McLeod — paid about $380 at the airport in August so her family could get the paperwork to fly home to Britain from Spain. Upset about the fee, she vented on Facebook and received hundreds of thousands of "likes," according to an NBCNEWS.com report.

O'Leary responded. "We think Mrs. McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid," he told The Telegraph. (McLeod was charged 60 euros each for five boarding passes, or about 300 euros total.)

But O'Leary kept talking. And the CEO is known for talking, shocking headlines and publicity. "It is his schtick and he's known for it," said CNBC reporter Phil LeBeau on CNBC's "Street Signs."

Even with a day or so to reflect, O'Leary argued his comments weren't aimed at the mom, specifically — but at his customers generally. "I was not calling her stupid, but all those passengers are stupid who think we will change our policies or our fees," he told the Irish Independent.

Passengers flying Ryanair, the budget Irish carrier, are expected to check-in online and print boarding passes in advance, and come to the airport with paperwork in hand. Those who are empty-handed are charged the fee.

'Bu**er Off'

O'Leary stands by his airline's policy that requires passengers to print their boarding passes in advance.

He said anyone who didn't like the policy could quite politely "bu**er off," according to The Telegraph. Passenger McLeod “wrote to me last week asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill. To which we have replied, politely but firmly, thank you Mrs McLeod but it was your ****-up,” according to The Telegraph. O'Leary says 99.98 percent of Ryanair passengers print their boarding passes in advance.

CEO O'Leary added: The mother pays "for being an idiot and failing to comply with her agreement at the time of booking. We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid," the Mirror reported.

An email request for more information from Ryanair was not immediately returned to CNBC.com on Friday afternoon.