Ryanair declares war on bodily fluids, vows to remove toilets

Discount airline Ryanair continues to wage war on dignity and comfort with a plan to remove all but one of the toilets from its aircraft, leaving 200+ people to share one bog:

The prospect of only one toilet being shared by 195 passengers and six crew caused alarmed in the travel industry. A spokesman for Abta, the travel association, said “We all know how inconvenient it can be if a toilet on a plane is out of order or the annoyance of queuing if someone has air sickness in one of the cubicles. This move could be a step too far in Ryanair’s on-going mission to provide a totally no-frills service.”

But the aviation consultant John Strickland said the soaring cost of oil could accelerate the process: “High fuel prices are making it difficult for even Ryanair to keep fares low, so anything which helps them to reduce costs is essential. Having six more seats on the aircraft would not require more cabin crew and would reduce cost per seat.”

I'm not surprised -- after all, this is the airline that once threatened to have me arrested for getting up for a pee after we'd been sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes and were still 20 minutes away from takeoff. Clearly this is an airline that wants to master the process of elimination, by eliminating it.

(via Consumerist)

(Image: ryanair, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jayfresh's photostream)


  1. I solved this worry by never flying Ryanair. Whilst i’m hardly business class league i’d rather spend the money on an arriving in relative comfort.

    1. …and arriving relatively close to where you actually want to be. I almost always end up spending more on transport from whatever rural airstrip I get dropped off at. 

      1. I once flew Ryanair to Berlin and they diverted me to Munich (actually, a remote airport near), and left us standing at a kerb for 3 hours in the middle of the night waiting for coaches to drive the rest of the way!

        1. Cory, for those of us not familiar with European land travel: How far a bus trip was that? I was once put on a bus from JFK to EWR for some cancellation or another, but that was relatively trivial.

      1. Quick, name a budget airline.

        If you’re the first company people think of in a given category, that’s going to increase the number of people who look you up and can’t be bothered to price-check. You just have to weigh that against the people who are put off by the bad publicity (many of whom wouldn’t have been customers anyway).

        1. I don’t know anyone that buys tickets by thinking of an airline and going directly to their website.

          Almost everyone in the loop uses a travel website to get tickets, and I’m pretty sure this company’s master strategy is to be the first company when results are sorted to show lowest price first. It’s a good strategy if your company isn’t known or has a neutral/good reputation.

          But if people see that it’s Ryanair and automatically think of stories they read about how the company charges extra for the bare minimum of air travel comforts, and how their flight might not even have proper lavitory facilities, they might just keep scrolling down the page and buy a ticket that costs $20 more from an airline that doesn’t treat its passengers like cattle. (or less like cattle, or at least understanding that cattle need to use the bathroom once in a while) 

  2. This seems like it could cause a ton of complications for a ton of people. They are pretty much saying “if you have IBS don’t fly with us”. This goes for a lot of other conditions where one needs to frequently use the restroom. This seems like a desperate last ditch effort to save money that will result in even less patronage.

  3. As unpleasant as this idea is, I have a begrudging admiration for Michael O’Leary who runs the airline.  On the radio the other day he was asked how customers could avoid baggage fees – his answer?  ‘Don’t bring luggage’.  When asked how customers could avoid infancy fees – his answer?  ‘Don’t bring infants’.  He’s upfront and ballsy and that seems a rare thing in customer relations.  And if you don’t like what he has to say – don’t fly with his airline.  I think he’s fine with that too.  

    1. Fair enough. I don’t fly his airline. I also tell all my friends who will listen to not fly his airline. Ryan Air is not just another discount airline. Flying generally sucks already, and dealing with a ‘ballsy’ and ‘upfront’ employee can make it downright miserable. 

  4. I’m gonna go out on a limb and ask how does denying people a toilet save fuel, as I’m imagining that this is the biggest cost of a flight.

    1. I’m gonna go out on a limb and ask how does denying people a toilet save fuel, as I’m imagining that this is the biggest cost of a flight.

      They could put seats in those places and sell some more tickets but in reality the toilets are part of the plane and if you want to take them out you have to go back to the manufacturer and have the aircraft re-engineered. Structures and evacuation plans would all have to change. This idea won’t happen. Neither will an earlier Ryanair  idea of making passengers stand up to save space.

  5. I know it’s easy to hate on Ryanair, but there’s actually a lot of airline choice in Europe – so if you don’t like their policies, then fly another way (EasyJet, BMI, etc…)

    I’m not saying this as an ardent fan (I think their treatment of staff is appalling), it’s just that I see their perspective – putting a bus in the air. It’s not about the experience, or the luxuries, it’s just about getting from A to B. I think if they could, they would deny all toilets and have all their passengers standing, just strapped in with harnesses, or whatever.

    I think that’s fine.

  6. I haven’t used the toilet on an airplane on the last two dozen flights I’ve made. If this allows Ryanair to keep their prices as ridiculously low as they are, bring it on!

  7. This video is relevant: Facinating Aida – Cheap Flights

    Also, any company with a boss that tries to steal documents from a journalist looses my respect. When his only defence for horrible work conditions are “we’re not forcing them to work for us”, I vote with my money. (And when Ryanair + fees is sometimes more expensive than the more luxurious airlines, they make it easy for me.)

  8. I can see a business opportunity here for a forwarding service… “Please deposit your dignity with us before boarding, and we will return it to you safely if and when you finally reach your destination”

  9. No problem – do not fly Ryanair! If you, however, want a ticket fo 1GBP (allegedly – because there ia a ton of surcharges for everything: your second leg, your coat etc.) do not complain :)

    When I want to use a low-cost carrier, there are always some alternatives: like easyjet. Never had any problems with them, besides from landing far away from big cities (only sometimes: this is true for London, but: in Paris you land on Orly and have good public communication, in Berlin you land on Schoenefeld – not so far away. In case of smaller cities, with only 1 airport there is no problem whatsoever :)

  10. “And if you don’t like what he has to say – don’t fly with his airline.  I think he’s fine with that too.”

    Nothing to do with what he has to say, but I stopped flying with his airline some time ago.  Turns out,  once you’ve added in all the bullshit extra Ryanair charges, that other airlines aren’t much more expensive.

    Even without the charges I’ve always found that most of the staff in the company have a bad attitude, right down to those on the check in desk.

  11. Anything that reduces peoples experience of flying is probably good for the environment. My last holiday  was by train and ferry. Its very nice to be able to say ‘yes’ when the security person asks if you have any knives or sharp objects, and be allow to keep your multitool with you.

  12. They could pick up some NASA diapers which have already been road tested and give discounts to travellers using them. Of course there still remain a number of lucrative options like providing oxygen bottles to travellers who prefer depressurized seats, which of course would not need a bathroom either. Or they could start leasing out the skin over the tail and wings, plenty of acreage left for super-economy travellers who would sit Indian style on cushions. They could do that indoors too, while undergoing forced meditation (lowering the metabolism) with a yogi. Come to think of it, capsule-hotel style stacked passenger units could be the next logical step, since travellers are basically equivalent to cargo (comes with diapers and 1 small oxygen bottle, don’t breathe deeply or you won’t arrive). Also, much less toilet use if the passengers are anaestheized first, as prophesied in The Fifth Element which was real. As Richard Feynman said, there’s plenty of room at the bottom!

  13. And yet, in their zeal to cut costs further and further, it never seems to occur to CEOs to slice their own compensation to the bone. Somehow, executive compensation exists outside the realm of “stuff we can cut”.

  14. What an advertising opportunity for the competition, while making no structural changes.  “Fly with us.  We provide our customers with the luxury of two toilets (or more) in every plane!”
    OTOH, perhaps Ryanair customers will take the news as well as Netflix’ customer base, upon hearing of the price hike. 

  15. What about converting all seats to toilets? Everybody on a plane, pants down, strapped to a toilet seat next to a fellow passenger. Toilet paper for 5euro per 20cm. Serve food with mild laxative for extra profit… Ups, no food on Ryanair flights, sorry for taking this too far.

  16. Aren’t Ryan Air famous for trolling the press with ridiculous statements like this just to drum up publicity.

    Their message of “Our flights are so cheap because we cut every corner we legally can” makes people think they are cheap even if they don’t follow through.

  17. “Having six more seats on the aircraft would not require more cabin crew and would reduce cost per seat.”

    I’m sure somebody can do the math. 195 seats, all sharing the cost of the flight.  Add six seats, and now the cost per seat goes down.  By what?  Three percent?  (I’m a little rusty on my math)  But wait!  We now have to pay for the cost of ripping out the old bathroom and adding in the six new seats.  And the CEO still needs to make his millions.

    How about the CEO gives up three percent of his salary, and we all get cheaper flights?

  18. Ok.  I did some basic calculations…  Assume there are 195 people each paying $200.  That makes the entire flight “worth”  $39,000.  Now add in 6 more people to split the cost of the flight, and each ticket now costs $194.02, a savings of just under $6 / person.  This is assuming that the cost of re-fitting all the planes is paid for by some government bail-out, and not by the customer.
    That is all.

    1. Ryanair’s average (one-way) fare is said to be 32 euros which would earn them about 200 euros per flight extra (or save passengers 1 euro if they reduce fares). Also, apparently their planes seat 189 passengers (they use Boeing 737-800 exclusively).

      I don’t know what bogus surcharges Ryanair has though.

    2. Save £2 on the cost of a ticket, pay £6 more in convenience fees for not using your Ryan Cash Passport thing….

  19. It says a lot about us as a species that we think being nice to you and treating you like a human being is an ‘extra.’  

    “Greetings, valued customer!  You have paid sufficiently for me to smile at you and *not tear your living heart out of your chest and stomp on it even though I want to SO BAD*”

  20. It’s been said earlier, but this is just an exercise in generating free publicity. Every couple of months they spew out a stupid, never-to-be-implemented idea like this and the media laps it up every time. 

    1. Ryanair is only cheap if you book rather far in advance. For me regular non-budget airlines and in some cases EasyJet are usually cheaper than Ryanair.

  21. I  hate flying so much that if I lived in Europe I’d probably never do it.  Is it too expensive to drive?  I have driven 5 or 6 hours to avoid a 1 hour flight.  Really the only time I fly anymore is to get to Europe.

    1. In my experience (in the U.S.) if you count travel time as door-to-door anything under about 5 or 6 hours is either quicker to drive or a wash. The fact that security theater at the airport is so unpredictable means you have to budget time to get through security. Sometimes you need all of that time, sometimes you need 20 seconds of it. Granted, road conditions can be variable as well, but at least I can search for alternate routes if I want. Sitting in a terminal with an hour and half to kill is just BRUTAL.

  22. They should be wary of “declaring war on bodily fluids”, after all, what if the bodily fluids fight back?!

    1. They should be wary of “declaring war on bodily fluids”, after all, what if the bodily fluids fight back?!

      Beware the angry cumsprite.

  23. Flying far too fuel oil intensive!!! Chinese bullet trains with full lounge cars rolling between Beijing and Shanghai at a full 320 kph for years now, powered soon bu Tsinghua Universities pebble bed gas reactors, Thorium fueled CANDU, and LFTR-reactors – no harmful waste products to deal with, no explosion potential see http://www.theoildum.com/node/4971 for more! U.S.A. barking up wrong tree! Whole world laughing out loud! American media so ashamed they won’t broadcast truth to people! Pan Eurasian Empire rises on Thorium fuel exploitation as we speak! America stuck on foreign oil imports, support many “parasite” nations for every dollar earned, most money spent on foreign oil! Vicious circle will take America down, Asians stand by, even unload American “paper” money now.

  24. Bruce Miller, would you mind explaining what your rant has to do with this subject, since Ryanair is primarily Britain/European based?

  25. Thank the stars that I fly so rarely I can be a snob and fly with Lufthansa or British Airways whenever I do. Though British has show skill on part with an Origami master when it comes to folding ever more seats into a 767, I have to say.

  26. I can’t help but wonder if  Ryanair would be more reasonable if several of their aircraft  mysteriously caught on fire while offline undergoing routine maintenance.  Hummmmmmmm.  It could happen.  Maybe it SHOULD happen.

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