Airlines in the US are charging for so many extra goods and services that were formerly free, a US politician is pushing for a law to prohibit any airline charging to use the toilet.
Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski from Illinois fears that toilet charges will be next on the list. He has filed a bill to prevent airlines from charging passengers for using restrooms on planes.
Lipinski’s bill, known technically as the Comfortable and Fair Flights Act of 2015, goes further. It would also guarantee passengers the right to change flights free if toilets on their scheduled flights were out of order, US political publication The Hill reports.
Furthermore, it would require carriers to issue refunds for bag fees in cases where luggage is delayed by two or more than hours.
Lipinski says the measures are necessary because airlines have greatly increased the number of fees they charge for ancillary services that used to be free – everything from peanuts and snacks to checking in baggage, getting a pillow or earphones, and pretty much everything else.
“More and more, when airline passengers get on a flight they expect to suffer from uncomfortable conditions; as a frequent flyer I understand this,” Lipinski said in a statement.
“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 spectre of an in-flight bathroom fee continues to loom in the background since first being broached in 2010.”
It was in that year that Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair raised the prospect of charging passengers to access toilets, but the statement was generally dismissed as a publicity stunt by chief executive Michael O’Leary. It never came to anything.
On baggage fees, Lipinski said: “Many of us are all too familiar with paying baggage fees and have come to accept them as part of the flying experience. While lost and delayed baggage rates are declining, passengers who suffer from this inconvenience do so without the right to a refund, even after hours or days of delay. Simply put, if you pay for a service, you should get that service promptly or get your money back.”
Written by Peter Needham