Who knew the time would come when those cramped, awkward airplane bathrooms would be considered a luxury? Ryanair's latest 'nickel and dime' initiative has the airline removing all but one bathroom on their aircraft to make room for more sellable seats.
Back in early 2009 we reported that the company's CEO, Michael O'Leary, proposed actually charging passengers a small fee to use the plane's lavatories. An idea that understandably met with criticism, but now seems like a fantastic compromise when compared with the airline's latest idea for increasing their per-flight income.
Ryanair's fleet consists of around 300 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which the airline has each outfitted with 189 seats, the maximum allowed under current regulations. But by removing two of the three lavatories, Ryanair hopes that Boeing will re-certify the plane for six more seats. On one hand, the extra seating would lower air fares by about five percent for all passengers. And it's nice to see Ryanair using the initiative to lower costs. But on the other, the extra seats would bring the plane's capacity to 195 passengers, all sharing a single bathroom. Ryanair does say they plan to only deploy the modified aircraft on shorter routes, though... at least initially.
Oddly enough there are no regulations that require an airline to provide a bathroom at all on their planes. So maybe we should just be grateful to have even one? And let's not forget, if the lines to use the loo get unbearably long, there's always the Gerard Depardieu approach to limited bathroom availability. [The Independent via The Consumerist]