Pay Toilets on Ryanair

Low-cost airline in the UK Ryanair is considering having customers pay to pee, as reported on The Economist’s travel blog, Gulliver.

I’ve flown Ryanair, it’s a miserable experience (much worse than Southwest), but it is cheap, with frequent flights all over Europe.

But I think this is a bad idea. Movie theaters don’t have pay toilets because they would probably lose at the box office what they charged for the bathrooms. It’s even worse 30,000 feet in the sky with no options.

It makes sense to charge for a beverage, checked luggage, and other items to keep down price. But I think this crosses the line of decency.

What do you think?


  1. You’re not alone Ron

    Next week my wife and friend are flying Ryanair Liverpool to Dublin (40 minutes) so they should be alright!

  2. Ed Kless says:

    The more I read about it, the more I think it was a publicity stunt, and not a bad one at that.

    I have not flown Ryanair, but the last numbers I saw had them quite profitable, so there must be people who want to use them. It certainly would not be my preferred carrier.

  3. Eric Fetterolf says:

    I confess I’m disappointed in the great Kless and Baker.

    This is EXACTLY what the “pricing on purpose” model demands. You pay for the items you need, at a price UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED UPON before you enter the contract. If you don’t agree, you don’t fly with Ryanair. You find another solution if this price is too great.

    I wonder if Ryanair fare + 2 bathroom trips is greater than the next competitors with free bathroom trips?

  4. Eric,

    I am sure it is and I think we are in agreement. Ryanair is certainly entertaining a price on purpose position. We think it is fine. We are just saying that we would not agree to fly under those conditions, meaning we are not pure price buyers.

    Having flow British Airways, I can say I truly enjoyed the experience and would pay more for the same route.

  5. Eric Fetterolf says:

    Thanks Ed, for your response.

    I am curious. One of the tennants of the Verasage community is that firms set the prices. Your comment suggests that the buyer sets the prices.

    Am I mis-interpreting something here?

  6. Having just received my phone bill I’m not too happy that it cost my wife (me?!) a ?1 a minute to phone Ryanair to correct THEIR booking mistake. 15 minutes = ?15 ($20)

  7. I apologize, I should have made this clearer from the start. Here’s my problem with this: perception of fairness. Some things are beyond price, which is why we don’t see pay toilets in movie theaters.

    Why don’t gas stations do this, especially along the Interstate Highway system? The answer is one of fairness, which I do believe is an important factor in pricing (I have an entire chapter on this topic in Pricing on Purpose).

    I’m an incredible capitalist when it comes to pricing, and even supported the Coke vending machines that changed prices when it got hotter outside. However, they should have lowered the price when it got colder.

    Perceptions of fairness matters, and pay toilets are outside the scope of pricing on purpose. But this question has already been answered. If it was a good idea, we’d see more of it. The fact that we don’t means there are hidden costs involved that make the extra price not worth it.

    Can you think of what some of those costs might be?

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