Ryanair run a very distinctive airline. One that has little focus on good customer experience: instead prioritising their internal processes and profitability.
So instead of bending to the whim of customers, they simplify their internal processes, derisking them of all that can go wrong. After all, complexity introduces more potential failure points.
And it works. A very high proportion of their flights depart and land on time. And they squeeze every last pound or euro out of customer pockets.
Unfortunately their success leaves a poor taste in customers' mouths - feeling cheesed off that online check-in closes four hours before the flight departs, meaning you can't leave it until you get up for the early flight to Stansted. Oh, and web check-in no longer qualifies for priority boarding. And then there's the on-board advertising - the plane's PA sounds like Ryanair FM before take-off. And no where else could a simple breakfast of tea and a roll cost £7.20 - and be served tea first followed 15 minutes later by the roll (and finally another 20 minutes later by a scribbled receipt).
Its older Irish flying cousin, Aer Lingus, may be late departing Belfast International for Paris this morning, but their laid back attitude at check-in - "would you like to take the buggy to the gate?" - and hassle free approach has us all chilled out. Being en vacances helps too.
(Of course the 15 minute delay has just been extended to 30 minutes, so our laissez faire attitude might fade as Littl'un runs out of steam charging around Gate 27!)
Update - the delay was just over half an hour in the end. Spot the problem with the photo below, taken out the window after we took off and rose above the clouds.