Cheapo Airlines

Flying seems to be getting more painful every day for those confined to the airlines. If you think it’s bad here in the United States, take a look at Irish-based Ryanair. They take cheapness to a new level, both in terms of airfares and amenities.

Ryanair is quite famous for this. Far from being embarrassed by their reputation, they actually take pride in it. The fares may be low, but walk aboard their aircraft you’ll find less leg room than on any other airline. They’ve even gone so far as to remove the seat-back pockets in order to save weight and space in the cabin.

But that’s just the start. Ryanair charges passengers extra money if they are too heavy (a so-called “fat tax”). You’ll also get dinged if you need to print a boarding pass or use the toilet on board the aircraft. Checking luggage? That’ll cost you at least $41 per bag.

Never one to rest on their laurels, this month Ryanair has taken the “cheapo” mentality to a new level by virtually doing away with lavatories altogether.

The budget airline announced that it would remove two or three toilets from its aircraft to make room for six extra seats. Up to 200 passengers and six crew would share a bathroom during the flight, reported the Daily Mail.

O’Leary said, “We very rarely use all three toilets on board our aircraft anyway.”

But apparently he is doing us all a favor. The move “would fundamentally lower air fares by about 5 percent for all passengers, cutting US$3 from a typical US$63 ticket.” What a steal.

While not exactly a long-haul airline, they do have awfully long routes for that sort of thing (Finland to southern Spain, for example), especially when you consider that the time on board the aircraft often includes long taxi delays. Imagine a two hour flight with a two hour ground stop.

I’m flying in the Gulfstream world, where there are two lavatories for a typical 5-7 people on board the aircraft. Ryanair is expecting 200+ souls to share a single restroom, and pay for the privilege. Can you imagine the conditions on board that airplane? I’m guessing it’ll be akin to what you’d find in a poor rural village somewhere in India.

Ryanair has been skewered by many, but few hit the mark quite like this parody:

  2 comments for “Cheapo Airlines

  1. October 24, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Just so you know, United charges for checked luggage too. They used only do it for overweight luggage (above 50 pounds), but not anymore. And on international flights they take $250 per bag. United was supposed to be the opposite of the cheap garbage airlines, but they seem like coasing on their laurels now.

    • Ron
      October 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Almost all domestic airlines charge for checked bags nowadays. Sad but true.

      I mentioned it with regard to Ryanair because their baggage charges are exorbitantly high when compared to other carriers traveling comparable distances and routes.

      It’s especially noteworthy when you consider that checking a bag incurs a fee of five times the base cost of the actual ticket.

      I didn’t know United charges $250 per bag for an international flight, though. That’s pretty ridiculous.

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