Sir, in the past, whenever I contemplated a trip across the water, be it for business purposes or whatever, I was always inclined to favour Ryanair as here I felt, was an airline who had the interest of the public at heart, by offering a viable and cost efficient alternative to what, up until their inception, had been a monopoly run by the Aer Lingus/ British Airways cartel. However my admiration for the former has suddenly evaporated.

I was due to collect a Ryanair flying colleague from Dublin Airport, just before Christmas and decided to take the precaution of ringing their flight information in case of possible delay. My call was answered by a machine which gave me an alternative number to dial, beginning 1550. How nice, thought I, another brownie point for Ryanair, in giving us all a free phone number to ring But wait On checking the telephone directory, this was far from a free phone number indeed, it was quite the opposite a premium rate telephone number, costing 58p per minute

I believe that, with these numbers, a large proportion of the extra charge (of which there was no mention on the recording) goes to the account holder (i.e. Ryanair). I have also heard it said that the best way to make a small fortune out of an airline business is to start with a large one but can things really be so bad, to warrant such opportunism? Indeed, I wonder, if things carry on like this, will Ryanair be the first airline to introduce penny in the slot toilets on their aircraft? Yours, etc., Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3.