Ryanair toilet charge possible "within 18 months"

2 Jun 2009 by Mark Caswell

Ryanair could go through with its plans to charge passengers to use its toilets within 18 months, CEO Michael O’Leary said today (June 2).

O’Leary said the charge could result in passengers learning to use airport toilets ahead of an hour long flight, reducing the need for in-flight facilities.

In the future extra seats could replace all but one aircraft toilet resulting in increased capacity and revenues, O’Leary said.

O’Leary claimed aircraft manufacturer Boeing, keen to install more seats in its aircraft, was looking into new door mechanisms which could be in place within the next 18 months.

Comparing the proposed “spend a penny” charge to that already in place at some London railway stations, O’Leary said passengers “always have a choice”.

“Our passengers can choose to pay a pound for the toilet, no one’s forcing them to,” he said.

“They’ll learn to go to the toilet before boarding, and they’ll go after landing. It’s an hour’s flight, they’ll survive.

“We don’t want to charge our passengers more, we want them to use toilets less. It’s about changing customer behaviour.”

Outlining a vision for the future, O’Leary said charging more for “extras” could one day mean zero air fare with all revenue coming from ancillary charges such as baggage check-in fees.

The announcement was made during a press conference in which Ryanair reported a sharp 78% drop in full-year profits to €105m. Average air fares and revenues per passenger also fell last year, while passenger volume saw 15% growth.

As for charging overweight passengers more to fly, O’Leary said there was no practical way of doing so. The charge was the most popular result of a “discretionary charge” competition launched in March.

When asked whether he’d one day charge passengers £5 to use the toilet, O’Leary said for that much he would “walk them down the aisle” himself.

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Report by Andy Gough

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