Yesterday, in writing about Spirit Air’s plan to charge a fee for carry-on bags, I concluded by joking that pay toilets were next. Ha-ha. But then I got an email from SmarterTravel alerting me that Ryanair, the king of cheapo European carriers, was already working on exactly that. The carrier actually plans to install pay toilets on its short-haul flights. Apparently Ryanair believes that you should be able to hold it in for hour, and if you can’t—better have a €1 coin handy.
For those of you not familiar with Ryanair, it is a feisty competitor that has torn the once highly-regulated intra-European air travel market to shreds by offering flights for ridiculously low prices. The tradeoff is that Ryanair ceo Michael O’Leary feels free to offer passengers as much abuse as he deems necessary to make a profit. Needless to say he does not give a, um, whit about passenger comfort if he gets you where you’re going for next to nothing.
That gets us to pay toilets. Since Ryanair is mostly short-haul, O’Leary figures all but the most urgent natural functions can be discouraged, which conceivably allows Ryanair to yank out a toilet or two and install seats that generate revenue. Whatever toilet seats do remain will generate revenue, too. That makes economic sense, but I’m just wondering when some beer-swelled English yobs flying to a football match or on holiday will stage a rather indelicate protest.
I will clearly have to refrain from making the what-will-they-charge-for next joke, since the airlines are getting way beyond parody.