20th Mar 2012 9:25am | By Alasdair Morton
Ryanair, never short of a controversy-courting money-making idea, have found themselves in hot water again after they refused to allow passengers to use seats by the emergency exit unless they coughed up an extra tenner.
Paying an extra £10 affords passengers in these seats the luxury of a few more inches of legroom. The Irish Aviation authority is investigating worries though that the budget airline is not allowing people who will be expected to operate these doors in the event of an emergency to sit by them. Ryanair maintains that it expects passengers in the seats behind to fulfil the same duty.
A recent Ryanair passenger has spoken of how this can mean that travellers are expected to operate doors that, in some cases, they can not even see.
The passenger, on a flight from Bratislava to London, told The Daily Mail: "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.”
Ryanair’s head of communications Stephen McNamara has said that the airline does not believe their policy of charging extra for particular seats has any impact on safety as all passengers are furnished with the same evacuation information.
Ryanair has courted controversy before for its money-making tactics and apparent plan to charge passengers for any extra they can.
They abolished airport check in requiring passengers to check-in online, failure to do so incurring a £60 fee per passenger.
They then abolished this free online check in, charging passengers £6 a head to print their own boarding cards.