Ryanair May Make Passengers Stand to Cut Costs
Low-cost airline Ryanair, which mulls making passengers carry their own bags to hold and asking for £1 for the use of in-flight toilets, is now looking into offering standing room for passengers on its planes.
Ryanair has made a "very preliminary" call to Boeing about making planes with standing room in the hope of packing more passengers in, Stephen McNamara, a spokesman for Ryanair, told CNBC.com.
"We'd have to work with Boeing on something to lean on, like a stool," he explained. "I know that's something that Airbus looked in, something the Chinese airlines are looking into."
Passengers would be strapped in their standing stools, at least for take-off and landing, he said.
If the measure is approved by safety regulators, 4 or 5 rows of seats would be removed to make way for the standing stools, he said.
Russ Young, a spokesperson for Boeing, told CNBC.com he was not aware of the discussion with Ryanair.
Prices for standing tickets would be 50 percent lower than those for sitting passengers, and in some cases, passengers will even fly for free, according to McNamara.
"This will apply only on our commuter flights, under one hour, 30 minutes," he said. "You won't be standing from Ireland to Africa."
The idea had already been mooted by China’s Spring Airlines earlier this year as the carrier struggled to fulfill demand with a limited fleet. It remains unclear whether standing planes would be technically possible and within safety regulations.
Last June, Ryanair revealed it would do away with luggage check-in desks early next year, meaning customers will have to take their own bags through security and out on to the runway for loading.
O'Leary claimed it would cut loading times and the amount of lost baggage as well as saving the company potentially $42 million per year.
Ryanair is also seeking to cut the number of toilets onboard from three to one, in addition to introducing rest-room charging. Ryanair is hoping to add 6 more seats in place of the toilets - or perhaps many more standing places.
Ryanair saw its passenger numbers rise by 13 percent in June to 5.84 million passengers, compared to the same month last year, the airline said in a statement. Its load factor edged up to 85 percent from 84 percent for the period.