Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pee for free? Not for long

In the past year of travel blogging, I've taken my fair share of swipes at the airlines for their nickel-and-diming ways. I even dubbed 2008 "The Year of the Fees." More than once, I jokingly suggested that airlines would eventually start charging for the use of lavatories in flight:

• In No More Free Hot Dog, I wrote, "You can still pee for free at the ballpark (last time I went, anyway), but don't expect that luxury to remain free in flight forever."

• In United to Ground Planes, Cut Routes, I reported, "Yesterday, the International Air Transport Association projected a $2.3 billion loss for the airline industry this year, due to soaring fuel costs. They can't recoup that kind of loss by charging $25 for a second checked bag, or even installing coin-operated lavatories."

• And in Even More Legroom™, I rhetorically asked, "What's next, you're going to levy a fee for the oxygen masks that might drop in case of a decrease in cabin pressure? Add a credit card slot to recline your seat? Tokens for the lavatory?"

All joking aside, it's becoming reality. The CEO of Ryanair, Europe's low-cost airline, told the BBC, "One thing we ... are looking at again, is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door."

Cocktails make air travel a bit more pleasant; but sure, I understand charging me for them. I have a certain expectation about being fed on a long flight; but okay, I understand the business costs associated with them. Hydration and urination, however, are two fundamental human needs for which I think it's immoral to charge customers.

Not that the airlines are shy about doing so: US Airways led the "charge" by dinging travelers two bucks for water. Now Ryanair may make you pay to pee. If that happens, will they also charge you per sheet for toilet paper? And would this guy have had to pay extra for his seat?

[Thanks to Michele for the Ryanair tip-off.]


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Long weekend in London

With all the economic uncertainty and a wedding to plan for later this year, we had not made any big travel plans. But when Cassie's brother Mike and sister-in-law Michele announced that they were moving back to the United States in March, we took advantage of an extra day off on President's Day—as well as lower-than-typical air fares—to visit London one last time before they move.

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