Today at work, we were discussing RyanAir’s announcement that they will be charging to use lavatories inflight. I’m all for this decision. I don’t often use the lavatory inflight, and if I really needed to, I’d be happy to pay a few bucks to do so. However, one of my coworkers pointed out that some people will do anything to save a few dollars, and that it might result in some rather disgusting behavior. I definitely think that is unacceptable; however, if they had a way to enforce the policy to be sure gross stuff didn’t happen, I would be fine with it.
In general, I’m a big fan of nickel and diming, especially when it’s for things I don’t want to use. First bag fee? Bring it on, I only check bags when I’m going somewhere for several weeks. Charging for drinks? Despite my alcoholic nature, I never drink inflight – I typically just booze up at the airport bar and then sleep it off on the plane. People tend to get very upset with extra fees, but you have to consider that even though you’re paying extra for something, your ticket price is going to be cheaper by that amount or more, so if you were going to use it anyway, it’s break even, and if you weren’t, you’re saving money. (Yes, I realize this brings up the question of whether airlines are just looking for ancillary revenue or are just trying to cover costs – let’s just assume the latter).
With all this in mind, here are some ancillary revenue fees we discussed and my reactions. Please note that these are not being considered at all as legitimate fees; this is a what-if scenario. If they cost extra, would you pay for:
Seatbelts? Yes. They help in turbulence.
Oxygen masks or life preservers? No. If my plane is going down (already a near impossibility), these aren’t likely to do that much anyway.
Ability to recline? I would love if this were a fee so I could avoid paying it. I almost never recline on flights – I like to sit up straight. And I hate when other people recline into my lap and make it difficult for me to use my laptop. It would be fantastic if airlines designated one column of seats (would have to be front-to-back of the plane to make it fair) as non-reclining.
Window/aisle vs middle? I won’t ever pay for advance seat selection, and I don’t pay for extra legroom seats, but I’d probably be willing to kick in a few bucks to guarantee not getting stuck in a middle seat (depending on stage length of the flight). Particularly on the large trans-Atlantic flights where you have blocks of 5 seats in the middle, these are the worst! That said, if Boyfriend were next to me, I’d take a middle and cuddle up with him.
Electrical outlets (to plug in your laptop)? No, my computer gets good enough battery life.
Wi-fi? If it was strong and good, yes. However, I’d only pay $3/hour, which is much less than most current carriers charge, and they have terrible bandwidth that makes it really slow.
Television? Nope. I’ll bring my laptop and watch stuff on there. I rarely watch the inflight TV or movies anyway.
Headsets? Yes, I always bring my own, and don’t want to subsidize yours.
Food and drinks? Definitely. I don’t consider those a necessity for a flight anyway, and I can bring my own if I don’t want to pay.
Bathroom? As discussed above, would happily pay for this if I felt the need to use it.
Barf bags? (Note: RyanAir also announced they will charge for these). I don’t like the idea of charging for sick bags, because it could result in some messy situations, but I think if you DO get sick, you should have to pay a surcharge. That is nasty to sit near and even nastier to clean up!
Curious what all your opinions are – just no fighting please, as I realize these are some hot-button issues 🙂