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Pilots aghast at Ryanair toilet charge

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/ne...icle5815088.ece

Ginny McGrath

 

Ryanair’s proposal to introduce a £1 toilet charge is not only legal; it is being taken seriously by pilots.

 

The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, announced this morning that the carrier is looking into fitting coin slots to the toilet doors of its aircraft. Passengers would have to pay £1 to use the loo.

 

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates the aviation industry in the UK, Ryanair would not be breaking the law by introducing the charge.

 

A spokesman told Times Online: “The situation is that there is no legal requirement for an aircraft to have a toilet onboard, so if an airline does have a toilet they can charge to use it.

 

Nobody has generated more travel news and comment than Michael O'Leary and his airline. Here are some highlights of the past decade

Ryanair: no complaints about mobiles

 

Chief executive Michael O'Leary says most passengers are just texting because calls are so expensive

 

“Ryanair is legally able to do this.”

 

The proposals are being discussed avidly by pilots on the industry blog, the Professional Pilots Rumour Network.

 

While some pilots dismiss the announcement as hyperbole, a number say O’Leary’s claims are genuine. One, blogging under the name “ppvvmm” writes: “He was dead serious, Ryanair are looking into it.” Another, classic-hunter, says: “100% serious. One of his (many used) reasons was again to keep the costs down, as well as if train stations can do it, so can I…”

 

The proposal has sparked discussions among pilots over whether crew will also be required to pay to use the toilets. “Captplaystation” writes: “How many 'tokens' will the crew receive a day? 1 per sector? 1 per day?”

 

There’s also speculation over what Ryanair will charge for next, with some bloggers joking about charges to use life jackets and oxygen masks.

 

The Air Transport Users Council, the consumer watchdog for UK aviation, says it too has been investigating whether the charge is legal.

 

“At this stage it appears that the regulations don’t state that airlines must provide a toilet, and it appears they can charge if they want to,” James Fremantle, industry affairs manager, told Times Online.

 

He added: “We think it is unfair and impractical to go down this route. We sympathise with lots of Ryanair’s charges like baggage, because passengers can choose if they want the service, but you could argue this is not optional because you might be caught short on a flight or have a medical problem.

 

“You can’t always choose to go to the loo – it is unfair.”

 

If Ryanair were to pursue the toilet charge it would have to fit coin slots onto its fleet of 168 Boeing 737-800.

 

Speaking to Times Online this morning, a spokesman for Boeing said: “Lots of different technical ideas get discussed, but we don’t disclose the discussions we have with airlines.”

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