28 February 2009
To Pay or Not To Pay -- Airline Toilets
There is one thing that seems to remain perpetually true of Ryanair, it is no stranger to self-made controversy or perhaps just brilliant self-promotion and marketing. The latest statement from Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, that future Ryanair passengers are going to have to pay for the pleasure of relief at 30,000 feet. The relief that O'Leary is referring to is certainly a new spin on the "mile high club". Yes, Ryanair has apparently been discussing, at least, internally the possibility of charging passengers for the privilege of using the toilet facilities on its flights.
This might seem an unlikely scenario. However, Ryanair has been the leader in ramping up their income generating capacity of services that have traditionally been free. More to the point other airlines have been following suit. Paying additional for in-flight food and beverage, checking a second bag, and online bookings, to name but a few.
There are a couple of realities in this proposal. First, and let's face it, if you gotta go you gotta go and when it is all said and done it is not like you have a lot of choices at 30,000 feet. It is not like you are going to be saying to the captain that you would like to pull over at the next set of public toilets. Second, the fees for cleaning up should one refuse to pay the toll for the toilet would probably mean that a pound or so to take a pee is probably worth it. Finally, this may in fact allow Ryanair to reduce their flight costs even further and there should be a reduction in ticket prices.
Yet, the flip side of this is that people would take a pee before boarding and then try and ride it out so to speak. This means that they would be less inclined to drink during the flight as a means of trying to eliminate the need to go.
To be honest, whether I had to pay a pound or not to take a pee in flight would not be a primary determining factor as to whether I would fly Ryanair or not. However, Ryanair is always good value for money in the sense that I really enjoy reading news about Ryanair whether it be publishing sexy calendars of the staff or thinking about charging passengers to take a pee. It is good to see a company that take the view that all news is a publicity opportunity to promote the product.
Nevertheless, I am wondering that if you have to pay to pee can you expect better and cleaner facilities?