Skift Take

Trusty Ryanair CEO O'Leary knows just how to phrase matters to get attention. Sad thing is that's he's likely totally correct about passenger's willingness to pay for standing-room only tickets.

Seatbelts on aeroplanes are pointless and will not save passengers in a crash, the chief executive of Ryanair has said, as he attempts to make “standing room only” cabins a reality.

Michael O’Leary claims legislation forcing passengers to wear seatbelts is useless, unnecessary and insisted upon only by authorities he deems “plonkers”.

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Those wishing to fly on holiday should instead be permitted to stand at the back on a plane, which he considers to be “just a b—– bus with wings”.

Mr O’Leary, the chief executive of budget airline Ryanair, dismissed the notion seatbelts were an essential safety requirement, saying: “If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you.”

“Seatbelts don’t matter,” he proclaimed.

“You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph and if they crash you’re all dead…”

He is currently seeking to create “standing room only” cabins for students and budget travellers, selling £1 tickets to European destinations.

He has suggested removing the back ten rows of seats in aircrafts, allowing groups of less discerning travellers to commute to their destination on their feet.

When it came to landing, he suggested, passengers could “hang on to the handle” and would be “fine”.

“If you say to passengers it’s £25 for the seat and £1 for the standing cabin, I guarantee we will sell the standing cabin first,” he said. “No question.

“You should be able to choose from a safety perspective.

“We’re not talking about areas of huge turbulence around Europe.

“We don’t have heavy landings anymore “If you say to someone,’ look, hang onto the handle there, you’re coming in to land’, they’ll be fine.

“We operate 1500 flights a day. They don’t come skidding in. This is a very routine, safe form of travel. ”

The ‘standing cabin’ proposals are currently ruled out by European Safety regulations which say passengers must be belted in for take-off and landing.

Mr O’Leary, whose low-cost airline posted a 10 per cent rise in first-half profits to £477m, said: “We’re always looking for new ways of doing things; it’s the authorities who won’t allow us to do them.

“They are all a bunch of plonkers.”

The outspoken chief executive added flights should no longer be considered a luxurious experience, with passengers more focused on simply getting to their destination.

“We should be exploring these things. We should be asking the questions,” he said.

“The problem with aviation is that for 50 years it’s been populated by people who think it’s this wondrous sexual experience; that it’s like James Bond and wonderful and we’ll all be flying first class when really it’s just a b—– bus with wings.

“Most people just want to get from A to B. You don’t want to pay £500 for a flight.

“You want to spend that money on a nice hotel, apartment or restaurant… “You don’t want to p— it all away at the airport or on the airline.”

Mr O’Leary is known for his forthright pronouncements on airline policies.

He has already suggested charging passengers to use Ryanair toilets, suggested environmentalists should be shot and proclaimed an “astonishing” number of his customers want to tax and torture fat people.

When questioned over the fairness of charging travellers to print a boarding pass, he said: ““We think [they] should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.”

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Tags: ryanair, safety

Photo credit: A Ryanair aircraft is seen flying above Ratcliffe Power Station as it comes into land at East Midlands Airport, central England in this July 1, 2008 file photograph. Darren Staples / Reuters

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