Ryanair to Install Coin Operated Toilets

Jon D Wright, flickr

Pay-per-pee toilets are coming soon to a cabin near you. Irish budget airline Ryanair is going ahead with plans to install coin-operated toilets on 168 planes.

What began as a controversial off-the-cuff remark about installing coin-operated toilets by Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has now turned into serious business, according to a report run by the Daily Mail today.

Not only will the airline begin charging £1 or €1 (around $1.34) for use of the facilities, but they are also working with Boeing to reduce the number of bathrooms onboard to just one per plane. The move will make room for six additional seats on each aircraft, but will leave a single bathroom for all 189 passengers.

"One toilet will discourage overdependence. There is nothing in the rule book to say that an aircraft has to have any toilets at all, which might sounds strange, but we believe three toilets are excessive," Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara told the Irish Times last January.

"By charging for the toilets we are hoping to change passenger behavior so that they use the bathroom before or after the flight," said McNamara to the Daily Mail.

Ryanair is not the only airline looking to save money by lightening the load. Last October, All Nippon Airways began asking passengers to use the restroom prior to boarding to cut fuel costs. The airline estimated if all 150 passengers relieve themselves, the aircraft would be around 140 pounds lighter. Although it may not seem like much, when multiplied by an entire fleet the measure could potentially save the airline a lot of cash.

Case in point: According to the New York Times, American airlines once replaced bulky drink carts with ones that were 17 pounds lighter, saving 1.9 million gallons of fuel per year. In 2008 Northwest Airlines, now swallowed up by Delta, told the Times the airline saves $440,000 per year for every 25 pounds they removed from the aircraft.

Other airlines have cut costs by installing lighter seats, allowing less water to flow out of bathroom sinks, or by replacing heavy pilot manuals with electronic ones. With the cost of oil today reaching a 17-month high, every little bit helps.

As for Ryanair, the notorious no-frills airline seems to do anything to save a buck. To cut costs, the airline has already installed vinyl seats that do not recline and have no seat-back pockets for safety cards and in-flight magazines. The airline has also discussed charging for overweight passengers and even redesigning the cabin to allow for standing passengers.

McNamra told the Times "[O'Leary] has said that if it got him €5 (around $7) extra he'd wipe people's bottoms for them."
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