No Go: Proposed Bill Would Prevent Airline Bathroom Fees


An Illinois congressman has introduced a bill to prevent airlines from charging fees to use the bathroom. (Photo: iStock)

You might think that airlines couldn’t stoop any lower in nickel-and-diming passengers. But you’d be wrong.

Back in 2010, Ryanair tossed around the idea of charging fliers to use the toilet — and even removing some bathrooms altogether to make room for more seats. Although the fee never materialized, the conversation raised a disturbing questions: Could airlines really do this to us?

That conversation was revived yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Technically, airlines don’t have to let you relieve yourself during a flight (and of course you could be handcuffed if you use the one in the wrong class.) So theoretically speaking, yes—this could happen. But a congressman has just decided to make sure that it can’t.

Representative Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for airlines to add bathroom fees to the long list of annoyances they already charge.

Related: Gone Too Far? Flier Handcuffed for Using Business-Class Bathroom

“One thing they should never have to worry about is access to a bathroom,“ Lipinski said in a statement. “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.”

Related: Why You Need to Get Angry About Bad Airline Service

The bill is called, appropriately, the Comfortable and Fair Flights Act of 2015, and in addition to ensuring no-fee bathrooms, it would also allow passengers to change flights for free if the restrooms are out of order.

Even more interesting, the bill proposes to require that airlines give refunds for baggage fees if luggage is delayed by more than two hours.

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