Taking the Michael

This morning’s Observer column

Chutzpah, according to a famous definition, is a chap who, having murdered his mother and father, then throws himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan. It might have been coined with Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, in mind.

Last week the budget airline had to take its website offline for three days to enable a massive upgrade of its computer systems. You’d have thought that it would be a source of acute embarrassment for the ‘ticketless airline’. Not a bit of it: instead, anyone logging on to Ryanair on Wednesday found a cheery message. ‘Web Closing Down Sale’ it screamed: ‘Cos the website will be closed we need your bookings today’. Cheeky, eh? No wonder they make money…