As a self-employed person, the idea of a break is completely foreign to me. If I completely switch off for any period of time, I know I’m going to pay for it several times over. For me, it’s a lot better and easier to stay in touch and know what’s going on seven days a week than to switch off.
I decided very early on that the way to make a difference in my life and in other people’s lives was to give them services and products that are actually for the many and not for the few.
I have a feeling that there is a gap in the food retail market – a niche below some of the current budget operators such as Aldi and Lidl.
I know easyJet is not luxury, but we certainly don’t charge for wheelchairs or take away essentials. You have to make the passengers reasonably comfy for the sake of health.
I like organised things. I don’t like the corruption and slowness of Greece.
I see easyHotel as one of the best, most natural extensions of the ‘easy’ brand from the airline. EasyHotel is raising money to accelerate growth at a much faster rate than I could have grown it as a private company, whilst enabling me to spend more time on my diversified portfolio of other investments.
I wanted to be my own boss. I was fascinated by airlines and how I could change travel for the average person. Then I wanted to diversify.
I’m not a communist – I believe in the free market and that entrepreneurs should be allowed to take risks because it creates wealth and jobs, but I draw the line at people risking other people’s money. That’s deplorable.
I’ve always been conscientious and hardworking. I’ve never wasted time.
I’ve made mistakes in business, but none so big I couldn’t recover and learn from them. The more you try to change consumer behaviour, the riskier it gets. You have to work out your potential losses against the obvious gains.
In America you can be Donald Trump, have a business go wrong, and file for Chapter 11. You can move on, and no one complains. When his casinos were in Chapter 11, he was still on TV telling people how to get rich. I had to persevere for years with easyInternet because I couldn’t afford to hurt the brand.
In simple terms, I realised that food is the most fundamental need for a person. In difficult economic times, people’s priorities change, and they might be willing to do something that secures for them the lowest possible weekly food bill.
My biggest mistake was when I started up easyEverything, a chain of Internet cafes. The idea that people would go to a shop to use a computer was revolutionary in 1999. It worked for a while, but cheap technology almost killed it. One silver lining of the problems I faced was that it gave me experience of turnarounds.
My cosmetic range, easy4Men, is not going that well. It’s meant to be for the no-nonsense man, but now I don’t know if the no-nonsense man exists.
On reflection, I am always pleasantly surprised when ordinary members of the public stop me in the street to say, ‘Thank you,’ I guess for making travel and other goods and services affordable to them.
Sir Richard Branson is probably the best communicator ever. He was an inspiration for me – contrary to some reports, we’ve never done business together, although we did discuss an aviation venture very early on. I don’t think easyJet competes with Virgin – we’re in different areas.
The whole concept of the travel agent is absurd. They appear to be agents of the traveller but are actually agents of the airlines.
There are still too many people out there who are claustrophobic. On easyCruise, we are going to open up as many cabins as we can.
There is a place and a time for philanthropy, and there is only so much money you can give away.
When I opened the world’s largest Internet cafe, certified by the ‘Guinness Book of Records,’ in Times Square in New York, I was live on ‘Good Morning America,’ and for me, that was an achievement.