Ryanair investigated over exit seats charge

21 March 2012

ryanairRyanair (them again) are being investigated by an air safety watchdog over their policy of preventing passengers from sitting next to emergency exits unless they pay an extra £10.

Now, you may well be a fan of the exit seats because there's a whole load of leg room for you to enjoy there. As such, Ryanair has been encouraged to charge passengers for the privilege of sitting in these seats.

Of course, they're also paying for the honour of having to actually do something beyond the normal passengers in the case of an emergency. Ryanair are probably thinking of charging for the state of exhilaration you may feel in the time of a tragedy too.

Naturally, because Ryanair have been asking for extra money on these seats, some passengers have refused to pay the extra, meaning that many Ryanair flights have taken off with those seats vacant, which is note a safety boon.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has launched an investigation into the issue, while the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have also expressed concerns.

"Our guidance to UK-registered airlines is that whoever is sitting next to the emergency exit must be briefed about what to do," said a spokesman for the CAA. "If that person says they are not willing to do it, then someone else must be found who is happy with that role." He added: "It's an important task. It's not easy to open the doors and they must be physically strong enough to throw them from the plane."

A spokesman for Ryanair doesn't see a problem with it all, naturally. They say: “Ryanair complies with all mandatory safety directives. All passengers are provided with the same safety and evacuation information.”

TOPICS:   Travel   Consumer Advice


  • David
    Presumably if you have paid the £10 then you are quite within your rights to charge, say, £5 per passenger to use the emergency exit in the event of a disaster? You can't beat free enterprise!
  • Bob H.
    Surely this is just standard procedure for all airlines? I know it's the case for KLM and BA.
  • Dick
    I have never been instructed how to open the door, and have sat next to the emergency exit on many airlines. They check you know you are sitting next to the emergency exit, but do not show me how to use it. The massive red arrow and picture is enough to tell me how to use it in case of an emergency. Same on Ryanair if nobody is sitting there, first person there looks at the arrow and opens the door.
  • Skymarshall
    @Dick: The point is that all flights should have someone sitting next to the exit just in case they do need to be opened immediately.
  • Incapable B.
    I've changed my underpants three times today already.
  • Chewbacca
    Yeah, EVERY airline does this (more or less). I mean, I love ripping the piss out of Ryanair as much as your mum but this just seems a little.. harsh?
  • Richard
    “Our guidance to UK-registered airlines is that whoever is sitting next to the emergency exit must be briefed about what to do,” Isn't this a bit contradictory? 'Guidance' suggests it's optional advice whereas the word 'must' makes it sound mandatory :-P
  • Sicknote
    An airline does not have to sit a passenger next to every escape door; it is simply required to show the passenger how to operate the door in the event of an emergency and asses that they are physically able to do so. Ryanair have fallen foul by specifically selling these seats at a premium; in the event that Miss Marple and her 5 sisters were to book on the same flight and buy these seats then the airline falls foul of passenger suitability. Ryanair are going to gradually charge more for seats that are nearer the lavatories as well; with the cheapest seats being between the exits & toilets. Hooray for budget airlines.
  • Al
    I regularly defend Ryanair ... I've never understood why people complain when they're charged extra for carrying their double bass onto the plane. In this case I'm a little less happy about defending them. I'm not going to try and post a link (since it tends to get lost in the system), but if you follow the top result from google for "Passenger seats immediately adjacent to Type III, Self-Help, Emergency Exits" you'll see that the IAA advises that these seats are occupied. I guess it's only advice and Ryanair is free to ignore it ... but I can't help feeling that it makes sense from a safety point of view.
  • Ingerlandish H.
    Ryan's response, "In the spirit of fairness we are offering all passengers who die from inappropriate seating strategies a full refund of their ticket price*, we feel that this is a suitable compromise, well suitable to get us some free publicity." * Full refund of ticket price does not include, booking charges, hold baggage charges, excess baggage charges, taxes, payment booking charges, checkin charges, or travel insurance charges.
  • Mike H.
    I wouldn't bothe. It's the cunt near the door that people push out of the way or stand on to get out of the plane. Look out for those with iPads and iPhones, they'll be the cunts that push you out of the way or use you to stand on to get out of the plane.
  • james d.
    why don't they just let someone sit there if no-one has bothered to pay the extra? Seems like a simple solution to me.
  • Frank
    LOL... there's nothing like that extra leg room but if there is an emergency and if you've been given training to operate the door shouldn't they be reducing the price of that seat due to the fact that in an emergency you'll technically be employed by the airline to man the door.

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