Airline appears serious about pay toilets

Travelers on European budget carrier Ryanair will likely have to start paying for bathroom use, and may wish they had a wooden (think hollow) leg. [via msn]

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary told the Guardian newspaper in England that he's serious about charging for toilet access -- an idea he had earlier bandied about -- and also plans to reduce the number of bathrooms on his Boeing 737-800 jets from three to one.

Those bathrooms will be replaced with six more seats -- "which means more passengers will stand in line longer for the privilege of paying to potty. This can't be good for beverage cart sales," wrote Rob Manker at

O'Leary said he's asked Boeing to look into placing credit card readers on bathroom locks in new Ryanair planes and making that seat adjustment. The price to potty would be £1, or about $1.60, when it takes effect within two years.

"We are flying aircraft on an average flight time of one hour around Europe," O'Leary said. "What the hell do we need three toilets for?"

Hmm. Perhaps because the 737-800 seats 162 to 189 passengers, depending on the seat configuration, not including O'Leary's extra seats.

Carl Unger at Smarter Travel commented, "To be fair, I can see his point. Ryanair essentially acts as a bus service in the sky .... Of course, your average 737 carries three times as many passengers as your average long-distance bus."

Seeing may be believing when it comes to O'Leary, who the Guardian says is known as "O'Really" because he doesn't always mean what he says. However, it's true that O'Leary has never met an airline fee he didn't like.

In fact, says, "There are reports O'Leary is also tossing around the idea of requiring passengers to load their own luggage onto jets, so that the airline can cut costs by not having baggage handlers."

Stateside travelers aren't immune from rising fees. Starting Wednesday, June 10, United Airlines customers who don't pay their checked-baggage fees online will start paying an extra $5 at the airport, says. That will amount to $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second. US Airways will follow suit in July.

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