As airlines across the globe tackle plans to make travelers feel safe in a post-coronavirus world, one budget carrier is implementing a surprising strategy.
Ryanair, based in Dublin, announced on its website last week that it will require passengers to ask to use the lavatory on flights to prevent lines and crowding.
The decision is part of a series of changes that the airline hopes will minimize the spread of the coronavirus on board when it expands its services come July. The airline plans to return to 40% of its normal schedule and 90% of its route network starting Wednesday, July 1.
"Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19," the company's CEO, Eddie Wilson, said in a statement. "As already shown in Asia, temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this."
Some of Ryanair's other initiatives to promote the safety of the passenger and crew include online check-in, digital boarding passes on smartphones and temperature checks upon airport entry. The airline is also "encouraging" passengers — both in the airport and on board — to wear face coverings, clean their hands regularly and practice social distancing.
During boarding, crowding around the gate and in the walkway to the plane are not permitted, the airline said in a video about safe flying. When checking in, passengers will also be required to share details about the length of their trip and their address abroad to help local governments monitor travelers who should be self-isolating.
On board, flight crew will face coverings and only serve prepackaged food and drinks, and there will be no cash sales. The airline has also said that all of its planes are "professionally cleaned and disinfected" daily with chemicals that last for more than 24 hours.
Back in 2010, Ryanair came under fire when it announced tentative plans to charge passengers to use the restroom on flights lasting one hour or less, according to CNN. The fee was either 1 euro or 1 British pound, at the time between $1.33 and $1.52.
According to the Ryanair website, flights start at €19.99 or nearly $22 one way.