Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 15 2015

Congress Is Talking About Your Right To Use The Bathroom On A Plane

David McMillin

Travelers have grown accustomed to paying extra fees to check and carry on baggage, change flights and connect to Wi-Fi, but one Illinois Congressman is aiming to make sure that airlines will not be able to charge for one convenience: going to the bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly. Capitol Hill is talking about your right to use the bathroom at 30,000 feet. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) proposed the Comfortable and Fair Flights Act of 2015 last week, which focuses on preventing airlines from earning any ancillary revenue from your trip to the back of the cabin.

“More and more, when airline passengers get on a flight, they expect to suffer from uncomfortable conditions,” Lipinski said. “One thing they should never have to worry about is access to a bathroom. Unfortunately, commercial flights are not required to depart with a functioning bathroom, sometimes forcing passengers to endure a trip without this basic necessity. Moreover, as ancillary fees continue to grow, the specter of an in-flight bathroom fee continues to loom in the background since first being broached in 2010.”

In 2010, some passengers were frustrated by rumors of Ryanair’s plans to charge one euro or one British pound to use the bathroom. While no airline has managed to boost their bottom lines based on human necessity, it’s easy to see how it could fit into the the fee-for-everything business model of low-cost carriers. In addition to bathroom use, the bill would require airlines to issue refunds for baggage fees if the luggage arrives more than two hours late.

It’s safe to say that every passenger and every lawmaker — regardless of political affiliation — would enjoy the protections of the bill. However, it seems that members of Congress may want to focus their energy in a more important place right now. They must pass a new spending bill by Wednesday to avoid another government shutdown.

Curious what the future of flying may look like? Check out “4 Predictions For The Next Generation Of Air Travel” and keep your fingers crossed that it won’t include fees for flushing.

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