The budget airline Ryanair has divided opinion on social media with a barb aimed at the UK government’s latest travel restrictions and Covid-prevention measures.
In un tweet ampiamente condiviso, Ryanair posted a chart that mocked the government’s own Covid alert graphics, comparing the rising Covid alert status as a result of the threat of the Omicron variant to rising levels of partying among government figures.
The Ryanair partying levels start at “small gathering with wine and cheese”, a reference to the hospitality offering at the alleged Downing St party on 18 dicembre l'anno scorso, and rise to a second level of the prime minister hosting a pub quiz – pictures of which appeared to emerge over the weekend.
The graphic suggests that higher levels of partying could include Michael Gove in charge of refreshments, Boris Johnson topless, and Jacob Rees-Mogg crying in a corner asking for nanny. Gove is reputed to be no stranger to a party, having been spotted dancing in a nightclub in Aberdeen in a fashion described as “merry” nel mese di settembre.
Inevitably, there were those who considered it an ill-judged move, although it seems unlikely that a tweet like this would not have been signed off by senior management, rather than being an off-the-cuff response.
There were also those gently poking fun at people who had been sanctimonious about the airline’s joke tweet.
tuttavia, for a corporation to pointedly criticise the government’s pandemic response in this way is a risky reputational business, fraught with potential backlash.
Ryanair’s own behaviour during the pandemic has also come in for criticism on social media. It has been a vocal critic of travel restrictions, but has also been accused of running “ghost flights” to destinations that have imposed restrictive travel measures in order to avoid having to pay out refunds. A viral tweet from a few days previously gained a new lease of life in the wake of Ryanair’s social media attack on the government.
Ancora, the Ryanair tweet didn’t quite conjure up quite as graphic a picture of the Downing Street parties as some did after Johnson’s TV address on Sunday.