The airline is considering charging passengers £1 a time to use the oxygen masks on its aircraft as well as £3.50 to use the emergency chutes, its chief executive said yesterday.
“One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is
the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot where the oxygen masks come down so that
people might actually have to spend a pound to breathe oxygen when the cabin is depressurised at 35,000 feet during a nosedive,” Michael
O’Leary said in a televison interview.
Passenger groups reacted with incredulity to the idea but Mr O’Leary said that the plan could lead to lower fares.
“Mr O’Leary seems to be trying to capitalise on his aged fleet of decrepit aircraft which have been beset with many problems like metal fatigue and little to no maintenance. The fares may be cheap but it’s like playing Russian roulette everytime you step into one of his flying coffins. Just last week there have been 43 incidents where the cabins have been depressurised and if he can make everyone pay a pound to breathe oxygen during a major emergency then he really is a cold hearted bastard,” Arthur Robinson, a member of Passengers Need Rights told Reuters.
Mr O’Leary dismissed concerns that passengers without the right change would
be inconvenienced during a nose dive or ditching into the sea. “I don’t think there is anybody in history that has
got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound. If they don’t have any bloody change they deserve to frickin’ pass out,” he said.
A Ryanair spokesman reassured panicking travellers that they
would not need to pack their oxygen tanks in the immediate future.
“It is highly illegal for passengers to bring their own oxygen tanks onto the aircraft and they will be stopped at customs if they even attempt to,” Stephen McTavitt said.
“The price of oxygen has gone up and we have about 20-30 emergencies per week on our planes. We are just covering the increasing cost of running a cheap airline. If you don’t have the necessary change and the cabin is losing pressure fast, you can always ask around to see if anyone can spare a pound. If still unsuccessful, well, tough luck chummy.”
Michelle Gurner, head of research at Which? Holiday, said: “It seems
Ryanair is prepared to plumb any depth to make a fast buck and, once
again, is putting profit before the comfort of its customers.
“Charging people to use the oxygen masks in an emergency might result in fewer people
buying overpriced drinks on board, though. That would serve Ryanair