Published by Gill & Macmillan, Dublin in March 2009.
THE IDEA :
‘Take Gdansk. Who wants to go to Gdansk? There ain’t a lot there after you’ve seen the shipyard wall.’
'Twelve months ago I believed it made no sense flying to Poland. I've changed my mind. We're happy to let our higher cost rivals get in there. We will follow when the time is right. We'll then push the others out to Russia, then Siberia.’
Mick O’Leery, Chief Executive, Ruinair Holdings plc
THE DUST JACKET :
Having survived his best-selling travelogue ‘Ruinair‘, Paul Kilduff flies eastwards on a low-fares journey to discover the twelve countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Fortunately still allowed to fly on Europe’s lowest airline, he unfolds the former Iron Curtain to reveal our fellow New Europeans. He meets the Latvian politician who refers to Ruinair passengers as ‘savages’; he searches for a second vowel in Brno; he learns there is more to Gdansk than a shipyard wall; he finds beauty in Bratislava and he endures Romania’s native low-fares airline. And what does Ruinair’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary think of Kilduff’s first book? ‘I heard it should be in the fiction list but keep up the good work. Fly Ruinair. Best wishes, Mick.’
PROLOGUE EXTRACT : (Copyright 2009)
I am pleased to enclose a signed copy of ‘Ruinair‘, which is about low-fares air travel in Europe. Some of my readers told me that they have already sent you a copy but I suspect this is your first signed copy.
I hope that the book with its attendant free media publicity and the nine weeks spent as Ireland’s no. 1 best selling non-fiction title, will in some small way help to increase your traffic this year from 51 million to 58 million passengers. Perhaps you can let me know if you spot any factual inaccuracies, perish the thought.
I am aware that as air fares fall your airline is looking for innovative ways to increase ancillary revenues. I can get copies of ‘Ruinair’ for half-price so how about we sell the book onboard your flights and split the profits? We would sell lots of books if we push them as hard as Bullseye Baggies and scratch cards.
I am setting out on my second voyage of discovery to travel to the 12 countries of Central and Eastern Europe which have joined the European Union, and all for another miserly €300 in total air fares (excluding taxes, fees and charges which we both know don’t really matter much to passengers).
It remains a daunting prospect to fly to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Cyprus and Malta, since I was horrified to discover that your fantastically low airline does not yet fly to some of these major European nations.
I would be grateful for any expert advice you could offer as I set out on my epic journey eastwards.
With best wishes,
(budding author, frequent flyer and loyal shareholder)
Two weeks pass by where I am completely ignored by the postman. Then I receive an envelope which contains my original letter with the following hand-written comments scribbled in blue pen;
‘Dear Paul, I haven’t read it. I heard it should be in the fiction list but keep up the good work. Free publicity won’t make any difference to our growth but it all helps. Why don’t you travel during our €1 seat sales (including taxes, fees and charges) and do it all for just €30? Fly Ruinair and avoid our vastly inferior competitors. Best wishes, MO’L.’
It is just as I thought. Mick is never lost for words.
‘Privately and personally, I don't think I’m quite as obnoxious as I come across.’
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY :
"Kilduff is a smooth and engaging writer, and the narrative flies along, to use an appropriate metaphor. This is a diverting read and will certainly get you through a stiff flight. I’m surprised Kilduff doesn’t have free flights for life, with drinks on top. Far from being a critical account of the low-fares airline, Kilduff’s book is a tribute to the reach of Ryanair and its colourful chief executive, Michael O’Leary." ~ Irish Times
"Kilduff is a shrewd and amusing observer and a very good travel writer." ~ Irish Independent.
"It is an eclectic and eccentric mix, with sharp incisive pictures of societies coping with the immense change of the post-Iron Curtain world." ~ Travel Extra Magazine