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Airline Bans Passengers from Exit Rows if They Won’t Pay Extra

It’s bad enough that many airlines charge extra to sit in the emergency row seats in economy. But now Irish budget airline Ryanair is taking it one step further, charging 10 GBP (about $15; see for current conversion rates) to sit in the exit row … and if no one shells out, then no one can sit there.

That’s right: The emergency exits remain vacant.

In the event of an emergency, passengers sitting in the rows ahead and behind the exit will be asked to step in and open the door, potentially wasting precious time. Those same  passengers won’t have had time to study the door and instructions on how to open it. Furthermore, passengers who sit by the emergency exit row are required to be physically able and willing to assist in an emergency; no such rules apply to passengers sitting “near” the exits.

The Daily Mail spoke with a Ryanair passenger who said, “[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. 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. I said I couldn’t even see the door because it was directly behind my back and suggested it would be a lot easier for the people expected to man the doors if they were allowed to sit in the same row as the doors. She said those seats could only be used by people who had paid extra.”

Ryanair’s legal team must be extra busy these days—the airline is also being investigated by the European Commission over financial arrangements with certain airports.

Readers, do you think Ryanair should let people sit in the exit row for free? Tell us in the comments.

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