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04/03/2009 – New Low Cost Airlines Fees Hit A New Low
Airlines instituted fees for purchasing tickets on the phone quite a few years ago. The flying public complained, but the fees stayed in place. Some airlines followed up with instituting additional fees for purchasing a ticket in person at the airport…however Spirit Airlines has followed Allegiant Airlines‘ lead in instituting a fee simply for purchasing a ticket. This new fee is $4.90 for tickets purchased online, via Spirit’s web site. Oddly enough the airline has no fee for purchasing tickets in person at the airport.
As low cost carriers seek to find new revenue streams, such as Spirit Airlines’ and Allegiant Airlines’ new fees for simply purchasing a ticket, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has one again found a new way to try and create a new and untapped ‘stinkin’ revenue.
I rarely use words like ‘stinkin’ but Ryanair has asked Boeing to develop a credit-card swipe operated lavatory door for its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. Originally Ryanair intended to create a coin operated lavatory door, however since the airline operates in areas that use both the Pound (£) and Euro (€) the use of a coin-operated lock became an impossible task. Additionally Boeing engineers found the excess weight of the coins in the doors to be a potential mechanical issues. As airlines move to be ‘cashless’ Ryanair’s credit-card swipe door is the logical payment method for a pay lavatory in flight.
Ryanair, which was founded based on the operations of Southwest Airlines in the United States, has taken low-cost operations to new levels more than once. From non-reclining seats, to the removal of window shades, nothing free on board (including a cup of water) and even the ‘eye brow’ windows in the cockpit have been removed on new aircraft delivered to Ryanair.
The surprising part about reading Ryanair’s announcement that they will charge for use of the lavatories is that I was not surprised to read this. There are many potential problems Ryanair will face for a pay-for-use toilet, such as a passenger with the stomach flu, the need to change a baby in flight, an ill passenger who needs to vomit. Of course there will be the passengers who pay for their use then intentionally pop the door open to allow someone else for free.
When looking at airfares, especially low cost airfares, it is imperative that flyers examine all the costs they may incur while traveling on a low-cost carrier. Sometimes when all the fees and inconveniences are added up, it is more cost effective to fly the more expensive carriers.
…and Southwest Airlines, the airline Ryanair was modeled after, offers free in-flight soft drinks, free in-flight snacks, still allows for two bags to be checked at no cost, has reclining seats, window shades, eye brow windows in the cockpit and some of the friendliest crews I have ever encountered.