Airline’s plan would make space for six extra seats
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary argues move ‘would fundamentally lower air fares by about five per cent’
The airline’s longest route route from UK is service to Rhodes in Greece which takes four-and-a-half hours
Move would see 200 people on flight vying for access to sole lavatory
By Ray Massey
Last updated at 11:15 PM on 12th October 2011
It is a cruel irony for the millions of holidaymakers who slam Ryanair for charging them for hidden ‘extras’ while flying.
Because soon, the budget airline’s passengers will feel grateful for the chance just to spend a penny.
For it plans to rip out even more toilets from its planes – whittling them down to just one loo per aircraft.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said he wants to replace the toilets with extra passenger seats in order to offer cheaper air fares.
He is pressing Boeing to ‘re-certify’ Ryanair’s aircraft to enable six extra seats to be installed, particularly for short-haul flights.
The airline flies only one type of aircraft type, the Boeing 737-800. It has 189 seats on each plane, the maximum allowed under current rules.
Fitting six extra seats would mean ripping out two of the three loos – leaving 200 passengers to share just one. But Mr O’Leary insists: ‘We very rarely use all three toilets on board our aircraft anyway.’
The move ‘would fundamentally lower air fares by about 5 per cent for all passengers – cutting £2 from a typical £40 ticket’, he added.
There is no legal stipulation for an airline to provide toilets on its aircraft. Boeing declined to be drawn on the plans, saying: ‘We don’t discuss those conversations.’
The budget airline has announced plans to remove two of the three lavatories from its planes – a move that it believes will allow space for up to six extra seats
Ryanair will carry 75million passengers this year. Its longest UK route is from Rhodes to Liverpool, taking four hours and 25 minutes. Initially, though, the higher-capacity aircraft would be deployed on shorter routes.
A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said: ‘We all know how inconvenient it can be if a toilet on a plane is out of order. This move could be a step too far.’
But aviation consultant John Strickland said: ‘High fuel prices are making it difficult for even Ryanair to keep fares low, so anything which helps reduce costs is essential.’
Last summer Ryanair said it planned to introduce flights where passengers stand up rather than sit, from £4 per ticket. The plan would remove the back ten rows of seats from its 250 planes and replace them with 15 rows of vertical seats.
The Office of Fair Trading is investigating a ‘super-complaint’ by the Consumers’ Association into charges by low-cost airlines.
Ryanair – which charges up to £20 per piece of checked luggage per flight – faced outcry in 2009 for plans to charge passengers a pound to visit the plane toilet. The plans to ‘charge a pound to spend a penny’ have now been dropped, Mr O’Leary said.
The move, which takes ‘no frills travel’ to a whole new level, could see 200 passengers vying to share one facility – forcing them either to wait in very long queues or cross their legs and pray.