Friday, January 22, 2010

Fee Per Wee

When my good friend Katherine sends me an e-mail with the subject line, "You Gotta Blog About This," I sit up and take notice. First, because I've known Katherine for a long time and have great respect for her opinions; second, because it's always good to have someone give me the intellectual equivalent of a jump-start to get the creative juices flowing.

Today, Katherine alerts us to the growing threat of "Fee Per Wee" in air travel.

Yes, this is what Katherine sent me, as it was sent to her by her corporate travel advisor:

"Cross your Legs: Ryanair to Implement Fee Per Wee

"Ryanair says it will press ahead with plans to charge passengers to use its aircraft’s toilets. Despite admitting its announcement last year that it might install coin-operated facilities was a publicity stunt, chief executive Michael O’Leary is now revisiting the issue, according to the airline. Ryanair would also like to remove the two toilets at the back of each aircraft, leaving only one on board and creating room for six extra seats. In its in-flight magazine the airline described the coin-operated toilets as a cost saving proposal that would help reduce fares by at least 5 per cent. Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said the charge would apply only to flights of an hour or less, which would include most all Ryanair routes between Ireland and Britain."

Yes, friends, at least one airline is now looking at a urine surcharge, a "cost-saving proposal that would help reduce fares by at least 5 percent." It'll work, of course. You've seen how much fares have plummeted since the imposition of checked bag fees...not to mention the $5.00 chocolate chip cookie, the $3.50 mini bag of trail mix, and the $7.00 cocktail (exact change or credit/debit cards only).

Of course, there is another way to take advantage of the cost-savings potential of body waste in air travel, as discussed in this article from Time Magazine: Go Early: Japanese Flyers Get Some Bathroom Advice. According to this article, Japan's All-Nippon Airlines is gently encouraging passengers to visit the rest rooms and relieve themselves of extra weight before boarding their flights, the theory being that if each person leaves a few pounds of ... um ... waste products ... in the rest room, it's that much less weight the aircraft has to carry, and that much less fuel it needs to burn. Voila! It's a stand-up double*: the airline spends less on fuel, and the airplane burns less fuel to produce less pollutants.

I predict the next step will be to have airline-run barbershops near the gates, where passengers will be required to get their hair cut to save weight. After that, who knows? Perhaps we will be required to pack our clothes in Hefty Trash Bags to eliminate the weight of suitcases. Or there will be a surcharge for portly passengers based on weight that exceeds a certain limit based on combined height and width (much like the post office charges you for packages).

The possibilities are endless.

And trust me - the airlines will explore them all.

Have a good day. Visit the rest room now.

More thoughts tomorrow. It's Cartoon know you'll need it.


* Note to Mike: another baseball metaphor!



GreenCanary said...

Who thought they could make flying even MORE UNCOMFORTABLE? Cripes.

Rugly said...

Well...the 'clothes optional' airline can't be far behind...can it?

Mike said...

I'm going to open up a chain of lyposuction booths in airports.

HEY! Here's an idea. Fill the cabin with anesthetic gas. Nobody to feed. No drinks to pass out. Nobody getting up to pee. No crying babies. No screaming passengers during crash landings.