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"Wal-Mart With Wings"

Unlike other discount carriers, Ryanair has stayed profitable by charging for every little bit of service

By Kerry Capell

Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) CEO Michael O'Leary makes no apologies for his penny-pinching. Want to check luggage? You'll pay up to $9.50 per bag for the privilege. Free drinks and snacks? Forget about it. Even a bottle of water will set you back $3.40. It's not just passengers who have to cough it up. Flight crew buy their own uniforms, and staff at Ryanair's spartan Dublin Airport headquarters must supply their own pens. After a customer sued Ryanair for charging $34 for the use of a wheelchair, the company added a 63 cents "wheelchair levy" to every ticket. Says O'Leary: "You want luxury? Go somewhere else."