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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The new airline pee fee

Remember when it seemed stingy of certain airlines to charge customers for checking baggage? Those were the days.

One airline is about to reach a whole new level of ridiculousness. Ryanair, a popular European airline, is considering charging passengers 1 euro (about $1.40) to use the toilet in-flight. Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told BBC that Ryanair is looking at possibly “”installing a coin slot on the lavatory door.””

It’s not news that airlines have become mercenary, money-grubbing businesses in recent years. They’ve been that way long before the recession, but who knew that stepping into claustrophobic, damp airplane bathrooms could potentially come with a price tag?

To be fair, Ryanair flights are usually very brief, so customers would not have to wait to use the restrooms for five hours for the sake of saving a buck. Even so, it can be dangerous for people to hold their bladder contents, especially as a cost-cutting tactic.

More than likely, the airline will encourage passengers to use the airport lavatories before getting on the airplane, as if it’s not stressful enough to worry about pre-flight planning necessities such as the increasingly absurd security process. 

It’s common knowledge that Ryanair already has several superfluous fees. According to the Telegraph, the carrier charges 30 euros to check in a bag, 10 euros to pay for flights with a debit or credit card (excluding Visa Electron), 60 euros to check in sports or music equipment, 15 euros for each kilo of excess baggage, 50 euros to change a flight and 100 euros to change the name on a ticket. Any possible bathroom charge will just be one of many silly charges.

The airline has also discussed removing one of the two toilets from each plane to create more aisles and plane seating. Ryanair is known for having reasonably priced, cheap flights, but that’s no excuse to force people to pay up for toilet usage.

“”Not everyone uses the toilet on board one of our flights, but those that do could help to reduce airfares for all passengers,”” said Ryanair Spokesman Stephen McNamara.

OK, so airfares may go down as a result of this new fee. Way to place the blame on those that use the toilets during flights. Basically, if you’re one of the inconsiderate people with a tiny bladder, or the parent of a child that can’t wait until the end of the plane ride to make a restroom trip, you’re inconveniencing the others who have a better handle on their bathroom visits. Thanks a lot, guys.

The Telegraph Travel also reported that Ryanair would receive 650 million euros in baggage charges and booking fees this year. Are they hurting for cash or just looking to take advantage of passengers simply because they can? Can’t the carrier, and all carriers for that matter, shell out a little more money for passengers to achieve higher customer satisfaction? It’s the least that can be done in these questionable circumstances.

Airline charges would be somewhat justifiable if the airline experience would improve with higher costs, but it hasn’t gotten better. Considering all the extra security measures passengers must endure in addition to skyrocketed costs, traveling has gotten harder and worse for everyone.

It may not be a U.S.-based airline, but American study abroad students often fly with Ryanair if they decide to travel throughout Europe. Who’s to say other airlines, particularly domestic airlines in the states, won’t eventually implement a similar restroom charge?

Ryanair may be just one airline to introduce an in-flight bathroom fee, but I wouldn’t put it past every single airline carrier, especially during tough economic times, to give in to the same kind of policy abuse and essentially begin stealing from customers. It’s already bad enough that many airlines charge customers to check a second bag and request specific in-plane seating arrangements.

In an effort to save money, Ryanair passengers may eventually have other uses for the air sickness/barf bag in the seat pockets in front of them, and then the airline will have to rethink requiring everyone to pay to relieve themselves.

Like the airlines, there are some serious cheapskates out in the world, and these types are not afraid to find alternative ways around this new charge.

— Laura E. Donovan is a creative writing senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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