It looks as if the U.S. has the power to hold up plans to charge for using toilets on Ryanair. According to Business Week, CEO Michael O’Leary believes that plans will go through in the U.K. but admits that U.S. authorities could stifle his plans. He is waiting to hear the vote from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as to whether or not it will approve the measure.
In addition, they are also awaiting an answer back from Boeing on whether they will accept their charge to build the pay toilets to be installed on their planes. But the Seattle Times reports Boeing does not want to exchange seats for toilets, stating the added seats will cause passenger safety concerns.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Ryanair’s controversial announcement in their in-flight publication to charge folks on their short flights for using the on-board toilets. The budget airline, based in Dublin, Ireland, is the first to make such a bold move in an effort to cut costs and recoup profits on its airline.
But according to Business Week, O’Leary said it’s more about changing passenger behavior than trying to make a quick buck. The idea is to encourage passengers to use the toilets located inside the terminal before boarding planes.
“If I add six extra seats, all the fares come down across-the-board by four percent,” O’Leary said. “Whatever money we make on the toilets, we’ll happily give it away to some charity for incontinent air-travelers,” he added. The pay toilet would be for flights that are one hour or shorter in duration.
Ryanair officials claim that if passengers accept this new measure, it would allow them to remove two of the three on-board toilets, making room for additional seats on the plane. The added space could mean six additional seats.
The idea of paying for toilets is a foreign one to most Americans. However, it’s customary to shell out 50 euro cents to a full euro to use public toilets just about everywhere in Europe. In fact, paying for public toilet use sometimes affords an attendant who cleans the toilet and makes sure it’s flushed. Very nice. So, it’s no surprise that O’Leary’s vision isn’t running into much friction on its home continent. In order for Americans to accept this step, however, they will have to be open to ideas unfamiliar to the American culture – a feat not easily accomplished.
And of course, the change must be approved by the FAA in order to make the changes on Boeing planes. Though the low-fare airline is based in the U.K. and has no operations in the U.S., the FAA must approve any changes made to their U.S. – built planes.
And therein lies the rub.
Andrew Willis, “Ryanair Confident EU Will O.K. Toilet Fees” Business Week
Associated Press, “Ryanair complains Boeing won’t scrap toilets for more seats” The Seattle Times