Has Ryanair reached a Gerald Ratner moment in its short-ish history?
Ratner was a purveyor of inexpensive jewellery who, in a 1991 after-dinner speech, described an item he sold as complete rubbish.
Overnight £500 million was wiped from the value of his empire and, before you could say “how much are those earrings?”, the company was gone.
Now Ryanair has cancelled 40 to 50 flights a day through to October, affecting tens of thousands of passengers, and because, if some stories are to be believed, a sizeable flock of unhappy pilots have flown the coop.
I experienced Ryanair just once, from Edinburgh to Pisa, and pledged it would be my last.
Apart from being left gobsmacked by the general free-for-all in the rush for the non-designated seats, there were the heavy sales pitches from the cabin crew flogging everything from salted peanuts to scratch cards.
And while their cheap fares will appeal to most people, a look at their website tells you that buying your ticket is just the start.
If you haven’t already printed off your boarding pass? Kerching! That’ll be a fistful of dollars please.
There are other potential financial penalties; too many to list.
Step forward Michael O’Leary, the man at the controls who has, at various times, labelled thousands of his passengers as “idiots” .
Those who turn up at the airport without a printed boarding pass, he once insisted, were “stupid”.
It looks, though, as if the stupidity finger is now pointing at the Ryanair chief.
He once said: “We already bombard you with as many in-flight announcements and trolleys as we can. Anyone who looks like sleeping, we wake them up to sell them things.”
Obnoxious doesn’t cover it. Such insults have at least been muted … for the time being.