Ryanair investigated over exit seat charges

by Emily DUNBAR on March 20, 2012

Budget airline Ryanair is currently being investigated over its policy of making passengers pay an extra £10 if they wish to sit next to emergency exits.

Understandably, the seats are popular with fliers as they provide extra leg room, which has encouraged Ryanair into charging passengers for sitting in such an area of their jets. As well as having to pay for the privilege of sitting next to the emergency exits, fliers occupying such seats must also follow directions and open doors, should any emergencies occur.

As many passengers have refused to pay the demanded amount, many Ryanair flights can be seen taking off with emergency exit seats left vacant. In these cases, the passengers in surrounding rows, much further from the exit, have been asked to make sure they are familiar with evacuation procedures.

IAA - the Irish Aviation Authority - has launched its own investigation into this issue, while the BALPA and CAA – the  Civil Aviation Authority and British Airline Pilots Association respectively – have also voiced concerns. A spokesman representing the CAA commented that any persons not willing to be briefed on what do in case of emergency must be replaced by someone else that is comfortable with assuming such an important role.

A spokesman for Ryanair insisted that the airline doesn’t believe the issue is going to become a problem, but did say that the IAA’s directions will always be followed closely. It was added that the budget carrier always complies with mandatory safety directives and all passengers are routinely provided with safety and evacuation information.

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