Ryanair, the Irish airline that never ceases to cause controversy, is in hot water again. The airline is being investigated by the Irish Aviation Authority due to concerns that it is not allowing passengers to sit in the emergency rows if they don't pay a £10 ($16) fee, reports TNT Magazine.
It's not out of the ordinary for there to be an extra charge for emergency row seats, owing to the extra leg room. But, under Ryanair's policy, if nobody pays, then the seats remain empty. Yet, nearby passengers are still expected to man the exit door in case of emergency.
"I wasn’t allowed to sit in the emergency exit row so I sat in the window seat in the row in front. Before take-off, one of the cabin crew spoke to me, and another passenger who was in the aisle seat," a Ryanair passenger told the Daily Mail. "Basically, she was saying that, since we were the closest to the emergency exit, we’d have to make sure we’d read and understood the instructions for opening the doors in the middle of the plane in an emergency."
Ryanair Head of Communications Stephen McNamara expressed that this is a non-issue, since all Ryanair passengers are given the same safety information.
But, that's if the planes ever make it off the ground. Late last year one Ryanair flight was aborted after tape on a window came loose.
No stranger to fees, Ryanair has incited ire in the past over a £40 boarding pass fee. And, in 2010 Ryanair had plans to install coin-operated toilets. That is, before the airline wanted to remove the lavatories in 2011 to make way for more seats.
Ryanair also made headlines in August 2011 for giving a passenger suffering a cardiac arrest a sandwich, and then charging him for it.
The company's CEO has seen his fair share of controversy as well, once mocking a defunct competitor's laid-off workers.
Photo: Tom Raftery/Flickr