Should you have to pay to use plane bathrooms?

Plane bathrooms, for most of us it’s the most personal space you’ll get for the entire flight. It’s not luxurious but it serves a good purpose. Most people see it as a basic human right but some airlines see it as a luxury that should be paid for, but should we?

Aeroplane bathrooms are little in size but big in purpose, they serve the need of all humans and can cause problems if those needs aren’t met. Full-service airlines such as Qantas offer 23kg baggage, full meals, entertainment, seat selection and hand luggage all included in the price. These airlines would not dare charge people to use the bathroom because it’s also included even if it might not say so on the ticket. However, airlines like Ryanair who currently offer them for free like every other airline in the world decided they would consider it in 2010, even naming the proposed price per visit at AUD$1.70

Ryanair charges for everything, for example, let’s take a flight from London to Luxembourg, Ryanair’s cheapest most basic fare costs AUD$24 while British Airways cheapest economy plus fare between the two cities costs $87, BA’s fare includes a leather seat, airport check-in, seat selection, carry on baggage and 23kg checked-in baggage, Ryanair’s fare includes a seat and a carry on that fits under your seat. With Ryanair, you can pay an extra $56 to have the majority of the BA’s economy plus inclusions however at $82 for the Ryanair fare one would only need a few bathroom visits to match the BA fare.

Here’s the debate, should the people who are paying $24 be required to pay the $1.70 per toilet charge? Should airlines with slim profit margins be able to make money off a basic human necessity? I should mention all these prices are just examples I just searched up today however the principal remains the same, should the cheap seats include basically nothing besides the seat? All humans have different needs and it’s important to recognise that but would airlines actually implement it? It’s a question I’m not qualified to answer but it’s important the discussion is had in regards to the definition of what a “low-cost carrier” truly is


Low cost carrier Ryanair considered charging people in 2010 full image credit

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If you can find a reason to charge people to use the restroom, I think there’s a lot of other ways you can charge people for. Using the bathroom isn’t a privilege but a basic human need.

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Personally I think that’s going too far. Especially considering many people don’t use airplane bathrooms on such short flights, they would be charged for nothing.

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Next up: you need to pay to deplane the aircraft.

Honestly… this is a terrible idea. Are you gonna blame the person if they can’t hold it? Would you make them pay?

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But then comes the phrase, you get what you pay for. When flying, I’m sure at least 50% of the passengers won’t even have to use the restroom, especially on flights like London to Luxembourg. If you do, then $1 doesn’t seem like too bad to spend. For a low-cost carrier like Ryanair, it’d only increase their profit but it’s an okay thing to do in my opinion.

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Short answer no. Even though as a passenger on the 15 flights I have taken in the past 3 years, Yes that is my current total lifetime flights :(, I have not once used nor seen the airplane lavatory. At the same time that does not mean one should be charged for using it. We have to think of the countless scenarios of people who may have dire needs of it such as children, elderly, those with underlying issues, small bladders, etc. Not everyone is capable of being at the airport 4-5 hours early, to explore, eat, use the bathroom on the ground, board the plane and then hold it for the 45 minutes to the excruciating 18hrs some flights can be. It would be a violation of basic human needs. If something like this did happen per chance two things would happen. One the cost would be minuscule and just included in the basic ticket price and swept under the rug, maybe it already has, or two people would refuse to pay for it and either boycott that airline or it would simply receive less passengers on it’s longer routes.
TL:DR: No one would truly pay for a bathroom, it is just an over glorified 300mph porta potty.

I would imagine most people would have $1.70 in their bank accounts, maybe a credit card machine on the door?

Theoretically, yes.

However, what if they don’t want to pay? You can’t force a customer to do so, which is why they’re additional purchases.

What would happen next if the passenger doesn’t pay for the bathroom? Would they just go where they’re sitting? Can the airline hold them accountable for that?

If the flight is free, why not? ;)

I feel that they could try at it, but would most likely fail. Seeing that Ryanair’s flights are mostly pretty short, using the bathroom isn’t something everyone needs. The airline would make little to no profit every flight, and could lead the airline to have some passengers move on to different airlines.

I don’t think it’s a great idea, but it doesn’t seem too crazy to me. A few of public restrooms here in NZ cost if you want to use them. Normally a $2 coin. It wouldn’t seem too absurd to charge on airplanes as well

Do you know why there is a fee for public bathrooms in New Zealand? I wouldn’t be surprised though if it is a city planning thing and has mostly to do with homeless people staying in bathrooms.

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If it means that the bathrooms will be impeccably clean as a result then I’d be happy to pay since I don’t end up going there on short flights away, but it’s not easy to chump up $1.70 in loose change or pay fees when using a card. They somehow need to make it easy for passengers to pay if they really need to go

This isn’t the most current information here with the service changes at BA over the past years.

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To go on topic: The idea is just ridiculous and it’s a classical Ryanair PR stunt in my opinion. It’s free promotion for them, but yeah implementing this idea isn’t something I consider fair as you as a passenger simply don’t have any other bathroom at hand while on a plane.

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Not really sure. It’s normally in tourist heavy spots, so I think it has something to do with covering the cost of maintenance as the tourists won’t pay rates (city tax kind of)

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Definitely agree, a basic human need shouldn’t be charged to passengers, but this is also how the low cost airlines make money, but totally unnecessary.

The problem with the argument in the article is that not all airports have adequate washroom facilities. What you’ll get at Stansted is not what you’ll get at a small airfield which are the basis of Ryanair’s operating symbol. Keep in mind that unlike a shopping mall or an airport, a 737’s cabin is an enclosed space, so tons of health hazards if passengers are unable to use the lavatories.

European train stations: First time?

Having to pay to use the toilet is honestly just obscene, what are we supposed to do if we’re about to burst but have no money? It’s undeniably a necessity because there is no alternative.

yeah, Indeed

I think there should come a time when the use of washrooms is considered a necessity rather than a luxury. I haven’t found anything about this topic on the WHO though regarding paying toilets.

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