AN AMERICAN airline called Spirit is notorious for its low prices, bare-bones service and its poor customer service.

So many travellers have they hacked off, they are said to be known as the most-hated airline in the US.

But the airline doesn't seem bothered by this label. The company says it knows perfectly well why people choose to fly with them. Their prices tend to be lower than everyone else's.

So brash is the airline that they launched a survey on passenger views about what they don't like about airline travel, which with even more brashness they called 'State of Hate'.

The 30,000 respondents chose Spirit itself as the worst offender when it came to complaints about extra fees.

A spokesman said: "Our experience shows once customers understand how much money they save with our model, they like it a lot.”

If this tone sounds familiar, the chances are that there's one European carrier it reminds you of. However, that bold statement comes as that cheap-flight stalwart RyanAir is changing the way it relates to its customers.

Its chief executive Michael O'Leary once famously said: "People say the customer is always right. You know what? They aren't; and sometimes they need to be told."

Their range of infuriating surcharges, including one for paying for your flights with a credit card, were justified with the same reasoning Spirit used. I understand the logic, but it's kind of hard to bear when you're at the sharp end of that kind of treatment (the petty charges, the incessant advertising, etc).

But now it seems the Ryan Air leopard has changed its spots.

“People used to come to us for the low prices and put up with the service,” O'Leary has said, “I don’t want them to have to put up with the service any more.”

He even said “Ryanair is more fluffy now.”

The airline no longer charges for carry on luggage, and has brought in allocated seating and discounts on children’s fares for family bookings.

All of which I heartily support and I'll be glad to fly with them minus some of those irritants. But not too many I hope, because without some of their cost-cutting, and O'Leary’s hilarious comments, they’d be no different to British Airways.