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April 9th, 2010:

European airline brings pay toilets to the skies

ryanairYou’d think that making distressed tourists pay to use  the bathrooms of museums and public parks would be enough for European businesses. But that is apparently not the case, as Irish discount carrier Ryanair now plans to bring pay-toilets to the skies.

The Curious Capitalist has the details:

…Ryanair, the king of cheapo European carriers, was already working on exactly that. The carrier actually plans to install pay toilets on its short-haul flights. Apparently Ryanair believes that you should be able to hold it in for hour, and if you can’t—better have a €1 coin handy.

For those of you not familiar with Ryanair, it is a feisty competitor that has torn the once highly-regulated intra-European air travel market to shreds by offering flights for ridiculously low prices. The tradeoff is that Ryanair ceo Michael O’Leary feels free to offer passengers as much abuse as he deems necessary to make a profit. Needless to say he does not give a, um, whit about passenger comfort if he gets you where you’re going for next to nothing.

That gets us to pay toilets. Since Ryanair is mostly short-haul, O’Leary figures all but the most urgent natural functions can be discouraged, which conceivably allows Ryanair to yank out a toilet or two and install seats that generate revenue. Whatever toilet seats do remain will generate revenue, too.

A typically-European way to make a buck. What if someone doesn’t have a Euro to spend on the bathroom? Is he going to get in trouble for going in his seat? This policy could result in some rather nasty mid-air disagreements between flight staff and customers who just have to go.

Thanks to the work of the Committee To End Pay Toilets in America, many American municipalities ban pay-toilets. Hopefully these bans will apply to U.S. airlines as well.

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