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April 12, 2021

Update: Ryanair pay-to-pee policy may be illegal

For anyone scoring at home, last week’s announcement Ryanair will start charging its passengers to use the washroom didn’t exactly fly so well.

“Let them have a few people pee (in their) seat or change poopy diapers in the aisle when they forget change,” wrote one MSN reader. “That might change things quickly.”

Added another commenter, “If they must clean (the) seats after every flight they may think twice.”

Yet, all stew-in-your-own-waste sentiment aside, it was Rich – a fellow MSN reader – who pointed to the most pertinent issue here.

“Forgive me if I’m wrong,” he pondered last Friday, “but is it not illegal to dispatch a passenger plane without a functioning toilet? If I don’t have the correct change, then as far as I can see they are not providing me with a lavatory and are in contravention of the regulations.”

And Rich may just be right. On the heels of Ryanair’s polarizing pay-to-pee policy, some pundits have already begun questioning the basic legality of the airline’s move.

Eliminating two of three onboard bathrooms – and subsequently charging one euro or British pound for each use of the remaining loo – may break certain laws in the U.S., at least, according to one American doctor and potty expert.

Dr. Steven Soifer, a University of Maryland professor who’s also the co-founder of the American Restroom Association and something called the Shy Bladder Center, tells AOL News he was “shocked” at Ryanair’s new bathroom plan because it may violate standard human rights of the outfit’s passengers.

“Whether it’s shy bladder or incontinence … it is a human right to freely eliminate yourself,” he says, noting Ryanair’s decision likely contravenes several North American disabilities acts.

(While the comparison isn’t totally fair, it’s worth pointing out that fated Nintendo contest a while back when – in a radio show competition that would award a brand new Wii to the person that could drink the most water without going to the bathroom – one woman died from water intoxication.)

Now, of course, Ryanair doesn’t fly to North America, so what does this have to do with anything? Well, if nothing less, this is good news to sceptics who thought the Ryanair pay-to-pee policy would set a dangerous precedent for budget airlines this side of the Atlantic.

Miramar, Florida– based Spirit Airlines, who recently instituted a charge for carry-on luggage, was one suspect that industry analysts thought might follow in Ryanair’s bathroom policing footsteps.

With what we know now, though, they may see our collective bladders in court before getting away with such a plan.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...