Optimal airline bathroom pricing

“In the latest move to squeeze every possible penny from travelers, a discount airline is close to charging flyers a fee to use the bathroom. Europe’s Ryanair is preparing to dun travelers $1.50 for each trip to the loo.” – Discount airline charging pee fee

$1.50 per visit is a non-optimal pricing scheme for airline bathroom use.  Here is an alternative proposal.  The bathrooms are only available for a single passenger for 5 minutes per hour.  During the 55 minutes between bathroom openings, passengers use computerized screens to bid for the single bathroom slot.   If you assume 100 people per flight, there will generally be at least one passenger who has an almost unlimited willingness to pay.  To further stoke demand, the airline should giving away free food and drink, especially Taco Bell.


9 thoughts on “Optimal airline bathroom pricing

  1. Tom Cavill says:

    Expiry of 5 minute allotment causes door to swing open violently.

  2. oogali says:

    Hrm, very interesting solution.But what about the user that goes over their time limit? Naturally, your response is to charge them for two slots, but then that leads to gaming the system (i.e. flipping the lever from ‘occupied’ to ‘available’ BEFORE they’re done), which can lead to queues in front of the door and angry, paying customers, who really have to go.The answer would be multiple bathrooms, but their goal is to reduce the number of bathrooms per flight. So in the new plane configuration, all it would take is two Taco Bell users to cause a denial of service.Being Ryanair and all, I imagine there are no screens in place, so the cost of purchasing and installing the screens and input devices may make this sort of a non-starter.

  3. Alex Mathews says:

    Depending on real-time demand for the can, I’d rather bid on an in-flight seat change, as far away from the loo as possible.

  4. Max Klein says:

    They should move the toilet to where the TV usually is (at the front of the cabin), and facing all the passengers. When the time is over, the door swings open and a clapping noise starts to play. Additionally, they should have a coin slot for each sheet of toilet paper. They can make a “budget” mode where the noises from inside the toilet are available on a special channel on the headset, and passengers pay to listen.Another idea is that you use the toilet, but you can’t get out till you either pay some amount, or you are ‘ransomed’ by another user who needs to use the toilet.

  5. Jay Fallon says:

    If there is anything life has taught me it is that when inconvenienced by price on an item that used to be free, customers will seek alternatives in order to skirt the fee.As such, many passengers now travel with less luggage, opting for carry-on only and also travel with their own food and what limited beverages they are allowed to carry aboard the aircraft.In conclusion and in relation to bathroom fees, I think Ryanair should ensure that their air sickness bags are watertight. And perfumed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You could get a lot more revenue by merging and refitting a pair of bathrooms and then auctioning the private, enclosed space to couples through the same mechanism.

  7. davidchungpark says:

    Easy to assume airline is profit maximizing but what assumptions are you making about the users? Are they homo economius utility maximizing as well, Simon’s satisficing, Kaheman & Tversky risk adverse, etc : )

  8. andrwmyr says:

    Three thoughts:1. Who carries coins to open coin-operated bathroom doors?2. If they are coin-operated, this will lead to confrontations between flight attendants and travelers since travelers don’t carry coins and they need to go to the bathroom and they are pissed over paying.3. Flight attendants will hand out complementary water at a higher frequency.

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