Low cost carrier Ryanair’s attempts to get one over on Spanish airline Iberia did not turned out quite as it planned. Ryanair had offered a free flight to people who went to a square in Barcelona carrying banners saying why they preferred it to Iberia. A bigger than anticipated response meant the employee handing out ticket vouchers was mobbed. After she had given out the 500 vouchers she had with her, she had to be rescued by police. Some of the angry punters rewrote their placards changing them to anti-Ryanair messages. The local consumers association has opened an investigation after receiving one hundred and fifty complaints. Iberia said the fact that Ryanair had to resort to encouraging people to write rude slogans about a rival shows how little confidence the budget airline has in its services.
However, the Spanish flag carrier has been badly hit by low-cost competition losing its market dominance. Iberia is increasingly dependent on its lucrative Latin American routes. It has also set up its own budget carrier, based in Barcelona, which is due to start flying next month. The most recent passenger figures show that in the last year almost a third of all people flying to Spain travelled on low cost airlines.