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House Bill Would Prevent Airlines From Charging for Bathroom Use

Sweet relief: Congressman Daniel Lipinski has filed a bill that would make it illegal for carriers to charge passengers for the use of on-board lavatories.

From baggage and snacks to seat selection and onboard entertainment, airlines draw a handsome income from ancillary revenue. While it hasn’t happened just yet, one man is concerned that it’s only a matter of time until passengers will have to pay to use the onboard facilities.

Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill) is so worried about this possibility that he has filed a bill in the House of Representatives that is intended to provide for and protect the rights and comfort of passengers.

As part of a wider piece of legislation entitled the , Lipinski’s bill would prevent airlines from charging passengers for the use the onboard lavatories. It would also enable travelers to swap flights at no extra cost if the facilities on their original flight are out of order.

Additionally, it would force airlines to refund baggage fees if passengers’ luggage is delayed by more than two hours.

While there has been talk in the past of European low-cost carrier RyanAir adopting a pay-to-pee scheme, that idea was – to the relief of many passengers – never realized.

In a statement, Lipinski explained the impetus behind his bill, saying, “More and more, when airline passengers get on a flight they expect to suffer from uncomfortable conditions; as a frequent flyer I understand this. 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.”

Lipinski believes that this legislation will help to guarantee the comfort and interests of air passengers traveling on America’s commercial airlines. “These are all common sense provisions that will help to protect the consumer rights of passengers,” he said.

[Photo: Getty]

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BJM December 14, 2015

I would think free access to the toilet would be a basic provision, like oxygen pressurized to a breathable atmosphere.

emcampbe December 14, 2015

As I understand this (per written here, I haven't read the Bill) - this bill says that airlines wouldn't be able to charge for use of a lavatory on board (where no airline, even Spirit, seems to be even in the realm of considering it), and also would provide passengers an option to change to another flight if the bathroom on their plane is out of order. But doesn't put a requirement that flights must contain a bathroom? Am I missing something here? Given there is no legislation (certainly that I am aware of) on the books requiring airlines to have a bathroom on a plane (or a ratio of X bathrooms to Y seats), what is the point? If there's no requirement to even have a bathroom, how can there be a law outlawing a charge for the use of it (please don't take my point the wrong way - I don't think airlines should be able to charge for use of the bathroom in any circumstance). I just think there should be some sort of item requiring a bathroom before there should be an item outlawing a charge for using it.