Michael O’Leary, the loathed, business savvy Irish airline boss, will appear on Northern Ireland’s TV channel, UTV, on Thursday evening to discuss his plans for 10 rows of standing seats and a toilet tax on Ryainair airplanes.
In his interview Michael O’Leary says that tickets for these standing seats will cost between $6 and $12. He proposes to make the extra space for the standing passengers by removing the back ten rows of seats and two toilets from the aircrafts. He said that these plans will go into action next year.
Thankfully, the Civil Aviation Authority has some sense and has said that these ideas will not pass safety requirements.
“It's aviation law that people have to have a seatbelt on for take-off and landing so they would have to sit in a seat. I don't know how Mr O'Leary would get around that one. During turbulence passengers also have to have a seatbelt on,” a spokesperson told the Daily Express newspaper.
"Unless people were strapped to the side of the plane while standing up, it's incredibly unlikely to happen."
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also came out commenting on O’Leary’s most recent proposals. The Agency said that their rules would basically have to be thrown out and rewritten to allow standing room on flights. Their rules on seating in airplanes states “A seat (or berth for a non-ambulant person) must be provided for each occupant who has reached his or her second birthday.”
A spokesperson for the Agency said “This idea [of Ryanair's] is unprecedented and unlikely to be certified in the near future." The Agency pointed out the many rules that standing during flights would violate: restraint during take-off, landing and periods of turbulence, the "crashworthiness" of airline seats, the ability of the seating to withstand a certain amount of gravitational force, evacuation issues and flammability issues.
Ryanair’s plans for standing room and paid-for-toilets were first criticized some months ago when they approached Boeing to order new planes. It seems that they are not in touch with the airplane manufacturers again to make their radical plans a reality.
O’Leary said in the interview “We are aiming at starting safety testing in about 12 months with a view to going into service with the new arrangements in about 18 months to two years' time. We think this would work well on our winter services so would hope to eventually introduce it for a winter timetable."
He also plans to have his $1.50 charge to go to the bathroom in place by then too. Of if his plan goes ahead to remove the back two bathrooms from the plane there will only be one bathroom for the entire plane of passengers. His plan is to “change customer’s attitude” and dissuade them from using the facilities. He said “We need to discourage overuse, hence the charge.”
Michael O’Leary certainly knows how to deal with the media and his latest plans are being dismissed by some as a way of yet again courting the media. However O’Leary insists that his plans are real and he has every intention of making them a reality.
He said “We have already done away with check-in desks, an idea that two years ago people dismissed as a joke. We absolutely believe that these new proposals are the future."