Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, is at it again – making shocking statements. In recent comments reminiscent of one of the airline boss’s previous ideas, he has dubbed seatbelts on planes as useless. He also says seatbelts won’t save passengers in case of a crash, and he wants to make standing seats a reality on his aircraft.
These comments were made in an interview between O’Leary and The Telegraph. He claims legislation that forces passengers to wear seatbelts is unnecessary and useless. People who wish to fly on holiday need to be allowed to stand at the rear of a plane, which he considers a bus with wings. He believes that a seatbelt won’t help a person if an aircraft crashed. Passengers on the London Underground don’t need seatbelts, he justifies, adding that seatbelts aren’t needed on trains that travel 120mph, which would kill everyone in a crash at that speed.
O’Leary wants to create cabins that feature only standing seats to be sold at £1 each on European flights, which would target budget and student travellers. He suggests that removing the last ten rows of seats on planes would allow groups of travellers to commute on their feet. During the landing process, he says they could just hold onto the handle and be fine. He believes that they will sell the standing seats first when travellers hear that they are just £1, compared to £25 for a regular seat.
The Ryanair boss also thinks people should be able to choose from a safety viewpoint. They aren’t talking about using these seats on flights in areas of huge turbulence across the continent. The industry doesn’t have heavy landings anymore either. They run 1,500 services a day, and they don’t land with a skid down the runway. Flying is a very safe and routine form of travel.
European Safety regulations already rule out proposals for standing seats on planes. The rules say that passengers have to wear seatbelts at the time of take-off and landing. However, O’Leary says that his carrier is always looking for new ways to fly, and authorities are at fault of not allowing them to go ahead with their ideas. He said flights shouldn’t be considered luxurious experiences anymore, as passengers are more focused now on just getting to where they want to go.
New ideas should be explored, he added. The problem with aviation is that it’s populated by people who believe it’s a ‘wondrous sexual experience’. They think ‘it’s like James Bond and wonderful’, with everyone flying in first-class. But it’s just a bus with wings. A majority of people only want to get from point A to point B without paying £500. Instead, they want to put the money towards a nice apartment, hotel or restaurant.
This interview follows Ryanair ranking badly in a survey on legroom, which was revealed last week. It also comes after O’Leary’s other money-saving ideas, like proposing that passengers pay to use the loo in-flight. Additionally, he has claimed that an overwhelming number of his customers say overweight travellers should be taxed or charged more for their seats, while he has suggested that environmentalists need to be shot as well. However, one of his money-saving ideas has been put forward and followed by at least one other airline – charging passengers to print off boarding passes at the airport.