Monday, June 15, 2009

It Is Better to be Pissed Off Than Pissed On!

I have had such an exciting week. I spent five days in training learning about some of our products, and in the process, I learned some really cool stuff about some of the airlines that partner with my company. I enjoy being in a class where I actually learn something and have fun doing it. Of course, what I learned is that I don’t get to travel enough and my current level of spending would never qualify me for any airline program except flying as cargo. Still, it makes me deliriously happy to know that some people can just jet across the world at a moment’s notice and still have money left over to buy cheesy souvenirs.

Being a full time Mommy and a full time employee outside of our home, I have very little time for anything like the news, or a quiet night with a glass of wine and some smooth jazz. Hubby and I also don’t travel much. Most of our time off is spent in the form of ‘staycations’ or trips south to visit the grandparents. We dream about exciting cruises or trips to Paris, but the fact of the matter is that raising a family in this economy leads you to a certain level of frugality. That being said, we still like to dream about where we might go, and I peruse sites that offer deep discounts and low air fares. It never hurts to dream, right?

So I finally got to see the news and read my Wall Street Journals that have been piling up, still in the plastic. And the sad fact of the matter is, I subscribe, because I work in the financial services industry, but I can’t understand the Journal. Like, with all the money they’re making, why do they have those Georges Seurat pointillist pictures? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just take a picture, load it to a disc, and take it to WalMart? I don’t get it. Anyway, I recently read about how one low-cost carrier is going to turn your travel dreams into a nightmare.

Ryanair, a low fare airline based out of Ireland, is known for their very cheap flights from various hubs throughout Europe. Still, feeling the squeeze from the economy, and getting soaked by the dwindling number of people traveling, Ryanair has come up with a novel approach to staying liquid. They are proposing installing locks on the doors to the airplane lavatories and making you ‘pay as you go.’

No shit.


I had to read and re-read the article several times. I have some burning questions. Will this be a credit card terminal or can you use cash? Will you also have to pay for toilet tissue, in which case you might want to hold on to your cash. And what currency will you use? I mean, let’s face it. People all over the world have to go to the bathroom. We don’t all carry Euros. It could get really crazy at 50,000 feet.

I like to think of the locked lavatory as ‘Swipe and Wipe.’ I assume the easiest method would be to use a credit card to gain entry into their nasty little lavatory. But I just don’t get it. Why would you do this to people…moreover, paying customers? Of course, they could be trying to ensure that no one on their cheap flights decides to sneak into the loo for membership into the ‘Mile High Club’ but they have sky marshals to help prevent that sort of thing, don’t they? They’re damn sure not paying anyone to be kind to your luggage!

The crazy thing is, I can ALMOST understand where Ryanair is coming from, because the economy, like airline toilet paper, is really tough. In fact, airline toilet tissue is like John Wayne. It’s rough, tough, and won’t take shit off of anyone. But I digress. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind about how this will work. I can imagine me flying over Dublin, fighting with one of the flight attendants. Imagine her lilting Irish brogue….

Look, I have enough change at the bottom of this purse to pay off my mortgage. Do you take quarters, dimes, and pennies?

“Sure and begorrah, I’m afraid we don’t Lassie. Would you be havin’ any euros?”

Uh, no. But I do have urine.

“Or would ya be havin’ a credit card?”

Yes. I have several. Like my bladder, they’re maxed out.

“Well, perhaps you can hold it?”

Nevermind. I think I just watered your wild Irish rose. I’ll go sit down. If I need to do anything more substantial, I’ll use my barf bag. Those ARE still free, right?

It should come as no surprise that this airline is receiving some of the lowest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. Only the flight crew can get into the lavatory without having to pay, and they only take whatever currency you DON’T happen to have. There are no thrills or frills, but plenty of spills. Sure, their tickets are cheap, but it’s just not worth it.

Unless maybe you have a ‘PeePal’ account.