AP – February 27, 2009
DUBLIN – Is a bathroom an optional extra when you’re at 30,000 feet? Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary seems to think so — and says his no-frills airline might charge customers to use its aircrafts’ toilets. O’Leary whipped up a frenzy of indignation and potty humor Friday as he suggested that future Ryanair passengers might be obliged to insert a British pound coin (U.S. $1.40) before they gain access to in-flight relief.
As always when introducing new charges, O’Leary suggested a separate toilet fee would lower ticket costs and make flying, somehow, easier for all. Nobody, even his own aides, seemed to be sure if he was serious or pursuing his well-documented penchant for making brazen declarations to win free advertising. "One thing we have looked at in the past, and are looking at again, is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door, so that people might have to actually spend a pound to `spend a penny’ in future," O’Leary said, using a local euphemism for relieving one’s self.
When asked, during an interview on BBC Television, what would happen if a customer really had to go, but didn’t have the correct change, O’Leary dismissed the scenario as implausible. This even though Ireland and most of Europe uses euros, not the British currency, and even on-board attendants often find themselves without the correct change. "I don’t think there’s anybody in history (who has) gone on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound," he said.