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Ryanair Hits Customers With Summer Fee Gouge

Sometimes I ask myself why we bother covering Ryanair. It exemplifies everything wrong with airline industry culture these days, even as it manages to remain successful. Ah, that's why!

To wit:

The airline will raise its checked baggage fee from £15 to £20 (from $22 to $30, see XE.com for current exhange rates) for July and August—you know, one of the busiest travel periods of the year. According to the BBC, "The company said the increase was meant to 'incentivise all of its passengers to travel light' during the peak summer months." You can stretch the idea to the point where it almost makes sense—most summer travel involves warm places that facilitate light packing—but it seems downright nasty to penalize families and customers needing a suitcase for a long getaway, such as U.S. travelers. But that's a typical Ryanair gouge for you.

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Speaking of which, the airline's infamous pay-to-pee scheme is back in the news! The Daily Mail is reporting that Ryanair "is working with Boeing to redesign the cabin and develop coin-operated toilets on 168 of its planes," and will charge £1 or €1 (around $1.33 or $1.50, respectively) for the privilege. This is pretty much what the airline said back in January, though now the carrier is floating a loose timeline for the rollout of coin-operated restrooms, saying the fee won't be implemented until after this summer. Will this tired, obnoxious publicity stunt ever become reality? Let's hope not, but stay tuned.

I find it interesting that these news items come on the heels of Ryanair's U.S. equivalent, Spirit, announcing it will charge for carry-ons. Perhaps the race to the bottom is more competitive than one would think.

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