As a comparison:
Southwest Airlines v. Ryanair
Photo © Benoit Gosselet
Photo © Joost Snijders
Often recognized as the top examples in their respective markets, the comparison between the two is often made. It is however the case that they share little in common besides low fares, charismatic leaders and 737s. WN treats passengers well, uses their own staff wherever they are, gives free drinks and snacks on even their shortest flights, treats their employees fairly and equitably while embracing their trade unions. FR on the other hand actively discourages unionization, pays employees less than at other carriers, makes them pay for their own uniforms and in some cases training. They also treat passengers horribly, using outsourced ground staff whenever possible which makes complaining that much harder and fixing the situation nigh impossible. They allow very little carry-on or checked luggage and are quick to charge excess fees. They don't allow connections between their own flights or any flexibility in ticketing, no matter how much you paid.
I could go on and on with examples, but I think this one is pretty indicative of the differences with all of them (B6 v. U2, F9 v. Germanwings, etc.)
I have often stated that while Europeans will not accept certain things Americans will at the top end of service (i.e. International J/F) but will accept far less at the lower end.
So, what does everyone else have to say here?