Ryanair’s much-maligned plan to charge passengers to use the toilet on their flights has been completely misunderstood, says the cheapy airline’s CEO. In fact, he says he’s willing to give all the money from the pay toilets to charity to prove his point.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary made his case this morning at a press conference in Brussels, saying that people are misunderstanding his reasoning for adding pay toilets. It’s not, he says, to make money from captive cross-legged customers, but “to change peoples’ behaviour,” and to squeeze in six more additional seats.
Sez Mr. O’Leary:
If I add six extra seats, all the fares come down across-the-board by four percent… Whatever money we make on the toilets, we’ll happily give it away to some charity for incontinent air-travelers.
However, the plan has hit a rather big speed bump, with jet maker Boeing unwilling to make room for extra seats.
O’Leary says Boeing is balking on the plan that would decrease bathrooms and increase seats because the additional passengers would take the planes over FAA safety limits.
And even though Ryanair doesn’t fly domestically, it would still need FAA approval to make these changes to the U.S.-manufactured Boeing jets.
One potentially scandalous scheme O’Leary has ditched — at least for the moment — is charging customers by body weight. “We have decided we are not going to charge people by weight because there’s no way of determining who’s overweight and who’s not,” he explained.
Ryanair Confident EU Will O.K. Toilet Fees [BusinessWeek]