Airlines May Be Prohibited From Making You Pay for the Bathroom
Back in 2010, European budget airline Ryanair floated an idea: What if they charged customers to pay to use the restroom? Or just removed the bathrooms all together, and put in some extra seats? (Ryanair has a history if seeing just how many frills in can remove from flying—it's also proposed standing-room only flights, having passengers load their own luggage into airplanes, and eliminating the position of co-pilot, so all planes fly with just one pilot.)
The plan did not take off, with some going so far as to call it "inhumane," but one Chicago congressman wants to make sure in-flight pay toilets never become reality. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois, proposed legislation, dubbed the "Comfortable and Fair Flights Act of 2015," that would make it illegal for airlines to ever charge for the bathroom.
Said Lipinski in a statement:
"More and more, when airline passengers get on a flight they expect to suffer from uncomfortable conditions; as a frequent flyer I understand this. One thing they should never have to worry about is access to a bathroom. Unfortunately, commercial flights are not required to depart with a functioning bathroom, sometimes forcing passengers to endure a trip without this basic necessity. Moreover, as ancillary fees continue to grow, the specter of an in-flight bathroom fee continues to loom in the background since first being broached in 2010."
It should be noted that no American carrier has ever suggested charging for using the restroom, but there are plenty of horror stories of multi-hour flights endured without a working restroom. Current FAA regulations do not specify whether airlines must have working restroom facilities aboard; it's something that remains at the discretion of the airline itself.
Lipinski's proposal also carries an interesting addendum, and one that is frankly more likely to affect travelers: All airlines would be forced to refund extra checked bag fees to anyone who has the arrival of their bag delayed by two or more hours.
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