Friday, February 27, 2009

Revolutionizing Air Travel

Yahoo! News is reporting that Ryanair is mulling whether or not to implement a paid toilet system aboard its aircraft. Perhaps this is not so shocking considering other methods the airline uses to make additional revenue: charging roughly 5 euros for airport check-in (fair enough, it seems, although airport check-in is being phased out now), releasing a "girls of Ryanair" calendar (pictured left, the profits of which are to go toward charity), etc.

The article is quoted below:

"Irish carrier Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, might start charging passengers for using the toilet while flying, chief executive Michael O'Leary said on Friday.

'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 actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future,' he told BBC television.

He said this would not inconvenience passengers travelling without cash. 'I don't think there is anybody in history that has got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound.'

O'Leary has a reputation as a cost cutter, expanding Ryanair by offering low headline fares and charging extra for items such as additional luggage.

Last week, Ryanair announced it was to shut all check-in desks at airports and have passengers check in online instead.

'We're all about finding ways of raising discretionary revenue so we can keep lowering the cost of air travel,' he said. (Reporting by Tim Castle; Editing by Dan Lalor)"

So what's next, an oxygen tax?

I think charging to use the toilet is going a bit too far, although it is definitely a service nonetheless. But charging for it? What if someone doesn't have pounds or euros, but, say, Latvian lats or Swedish kronas? To be quite honest, when I travel I usually get my change in the country of destination, and only after usually exchanging recently received banknotes from an ATM at a local convenience store or hostel.

Such a move will result in many passengers waiting to use the toilet at their destination airport, so I think the marginal revenues for Ryanair won't be much, perhaps 20 pounds per long-haul flight.

But who knows, maybe I am wrong.

Time will tell.

1 comment:

Edward said...

I'm wondering if their quest for extra money won't backfire at them. A very important part of every business (and I don't think they've factored it in their decision) is customer satisfaction. Considering the price of a ticket, even one dissatisfied customer per flight (someone who will decide to take a different airline next time) will result in a bigger loss to this company than they can possibly make in collected change during that flight.