Ryanair chief 'serious' about pay toilets

Ryanair chief executive has asked engineers to design toilets with doors that open only if you swipe a credit card through the locking mechanism.

By
March 8, 2009 09:53
2 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary insisted Thursday he's serious about making passengers pay for the right to relieve themselves on flights - and is flush with interest in the idea of mounting credit-card-operated toilets. O'Leary, whose Dublin-based airline has pioneered the practice of filling air travel with extra charges, divided opinion last week by suggesting that his next target would be coin-operated toilets. Aviation analysts and the traveling public alike couldn't tell whether O'Leary - a cut-throat operator with an entertainingly bombastic style - was poking fun at his own reputation. The Ryanair boss told a dumbfounded Dublin press conference Thursday the days of the unlocked potty are indeed numbered. "Eventually it's going to happen. It's just we can't do it at the moment because we don't have a mechanism for charging you," he said. O'Leary said he has asked engineers at US aircraft maker Boeing - which supplies Ryanair's entire fleet of 737-800s - to design toilets with doors that open only if you swipe a valid credit card through the locking mechanism. He conceded that his earlier idea, to make them coin-operated, wouldn't work in part because Ryanair operates heavily in areas using both the euro and British pound. "We have looked into this before, and the problem is Boeing can't come up with a mechanism on the toilet door to take coins," he said. "We're suggesting they go back and look at a mechanism where you'd swipe the credit card for a quid [British pound] on the toilet door. They've gone off to look at that... We are serious." He didn't seek to soften the impression that Ryanair was happy to make its passengers suffer. "Most people would go to the loo [toilet] before they get on the plane, or they hold it until they land. You would only have to deal with the people who absolutely have to go," he said. One positive effect, he said, would be to "reduce an awful lot of the unnecessary visits to the toilet that [expletive] so many passengers off." It could also become the next serious moneymaker at Ryanair, already Europe's most profitable and aggressively expanding airline. O'Leary estimates if 20 percent of passengers pay £1 to use the rest room, this would generate £15 million annually - which he characterizes as future "fare savings to the traveling public." Ryanair is famous for offering officially "free" flights that end up costing €50 ($70) or more once fees for check-in, luggage and on-line payment are applied. On board, the airline hawks bingo cards and duty-free goods on short-hop flights that can last barely an hour. It offers no snacks or drinks for free, not even tap water.

Related Content

El Al
August 16, 2014
The Travel Adviser: For El Al, mission accomplished

By MARK FELDMAN