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Friday 2 July 2010

How Tired Is Your Pilot? – 9

Just to emphasise that the start of the silly season approaches, this week has seen the regurgitating of an air travel classic: there is a suggestion that standing passengers may be allowed on some flights. No prizes for identifying the carrier pitching this singularly ludicrous idea – it is of course Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care).

Allied to the idea of making the punters at the cheap end of the aircraft (the back, in case anyone was wondering) stand is the equally daft corollary of taking out the rear toilets, therefore leaving only one – at the front, just behind the flight deck – for which punters would have to pay. The Ryanair spokesman, with a completely straight face, has explained that, with only one toilet, use would have to be discouraged, which justifies the charge.

Of course, the supposedly low cost of these “standing” places would be subject to the usual booking fees, “taxes and charges”, and baggage charges, which might just defeat the idea of saving money. And in any case, there is good reason to believe that it won’t happen: the various regulatory authorities would have to be convinced, and Michael O’Leary’s finest might find them harder to please than the most reluctant punter.

For starters, there is the matter of the incident at Stansted Airport where a tug operator had to literally run for his life after a Ryanair flight deck crew attempted a crossbleed engine start without the parking brake applied. The thought that this carrier’s crew might not be as careful as the rivals their press office loves to gratuitously insult on the company’s website re-entered following another incident, at Manchester Airport, where a Ryanair plane tried to pass to the rear of a Lufthansa one and hit it.

In the near future, I will be paying close attention to the AAIB website and any mention of Irish registered Boeing 737-800s in the Bulletin Reports. Something tells me that I will not be alone.

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