Ryanair Wants You to Pick the Next Fee You Pay

Posted March 20, 2009 by Carl Unger

Ryanair safety cardIrish discount carrier Ryanair, known mostly for its cheap flights, also has a knack for getting free publicity. Recently, the airline's CEO Michael O'Leary said Ryanair might begin charging passengers to use the bathroom, a suggestion that whipped travelers and industry analysts into a frothy frenzy. About a week later, O'Leary effectively said, "just kidding," and joked that "bureaucrats" would never allow him to charge for restrooms anyway.

But the amount of free PR generated by O'Leary's comments was not lost on the folks at Ryanair. The carrier is now running a competition that offers €1,000 (about $1,356) to whoever can come up with the next fee Ryanair should charge. If you’re like me, your first thought was: This is like someone saying, "I'm going to punch you, but you get to pick where."

When I read Ryanair's list of the "best suggestions" it has received so far though, I realized this competition may be less serious than it had seemed at first:

Charging for toilet paper – with O’Leary’s face on it
Charging €2.50 to read the safety cards
Charging €1 to use oxygen masks
Charging €25 to use the emergency exit
Charging €50 for bikini clad Cabin Crew

If these are the best suggestions, my guess is that Ryanair is looking for something silly as opposed to honest business ideas. So, readers, let's hear from you. What are some oddball services Ryanair could charge for? How about a €5 no-snoring-seatmates fee, which guarantees the flight attendants will jostle the guy next to you when he starts to snore. Perhaps a €10 no-kid-kicking-your-seat fee, paid in advance, to make sure no rambunctious children can be seated behind you? Share your ideas below.

And if you want to enter Ryanair's contest, email them at competition@ryanair.com. And let's all hope this really is a publicity stunt, otherwise the oxygen masks may one day come with a coin slot.

(Photo: Ryanair)

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Reader Comments

Why not go with a novel idea and not charge the fee of 25euros. Why not give back to customers 25euros or give spot prizes to customers within certain months of the year. How about that exposure for advertising. Be the first to be different. Whats the odds that other airlines will pay attention when the buzz is that you (the customer) could possibly get cash back from the airlines. What a novel concept. Guess which airlines customers will pick. Yep Ryanair......

Posted on March 20, 2009 at 09:16 PM by R

The Chicago tribune travel section this past week (Sun June 7, 2009) had a small article on this, attributed to Rob Manker, June 5, 2009. Looks like it may actually be for real? Or should this blurb be canned?


Here's the relevant section:

"Now, on one European airline, going to the bathroom will also hit you in the wallet. Budget carrier Ryanair has asked Boeing to put credit card readers on the bathroom locks of its new planes. The airline also plans to eliminate two toilets on the planes and replace them with six additional seats, which means more passengers will stand in line longer for the privilege of paying to potty. This can't be good for beverage cart sales."

Posted on June 09, 2009 at 11:58 AM by Sandy Wood

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