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seatbelt airplaneFlying in the face of safety regulations around the world, one airline executive is speaking out against seatbelts on planes. “If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you,” claimed Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, as reported in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

Actually, Mr. O’Leary, we beg to differ. In a recent test crash, scientists found that passengers without seatbelts would have died, while those wearing seatbelts and using the brace position on impact would have survived. (See How Flying Coach Could Save Your Life for more details.)

Even in non-crash situations, seatbelts can keep you safe. According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 58 people are injured each year by turbulence when not wearing their seatbelts.

Naturally, O’Leary’s diatribe was brought about because those pesky seatbelt regulations are keeping him from making money. According to the Telegraph, he wants to add “standing room only” cabins in the back of Ryanair planes, allowing budget-minded travelers to stand throughout their flights (while holding onto a handle for greater stability) at a price of 1 GBP, about $1.58 US. This is not permitted under current aviation safety laws, which require air travelers to wear seatbelts during takeoff and landing. “We’re always looking for new ways of doing things; it’s the authorities who won’t allow us to do them,” complained O’Leary. “They are all a bunch of plonkers.”

Would you buy a ticket in a standing-room-only section of a plane if the price were cheap enough?

— written by Sarah Schlichter

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13 Responses to “Airline CEO: Seatbelts on Airplanes “Don’t Matter””

  1. ACruiseGUy says:

    All I could do while reading this was sit open-mouth at his cavalier attitude towards the safety of his customers — and then LOL at the stupidity of his comments.

  2. Daniel S says:

    Yes, I would fly standing room only if were going to save me that much money. The odds of injury while flying that way are still lower than the odds of injury while driving, and people do that every day without a second thought.

  3. James W says:

    You gotta remember that this guy loves publicity for his airline. His last gimmick was to sugggest bringing in paid-for toilets on planes.

  4. dj says:

    I would definitely fly standing room only. Agree that the chances of accidents in an airplane are very low and for the price — let me on.

  5. Anon says:

    I wouldn’t fly RyanAir if THEY paid ME. Given O’Leary’s attitude toward the safety regulations in the cabin, I can only imagine what his approach is to cost-cutting when it comes to other safety measures. Jeez.

  6. Pete says:

    One UK pound is currently about US$1.59, not 59 cents.

    But I always keep my seatbelt fastened when seated; pretty sure I wouldn’t go SRO. Clear air turbulence is sneaky.

  7. Charles Rahm says:

    Naming authorities as plonkers certainly won’t help him in achieving his weird goals!
    So I agree to a former commenter, that it is just cheap marketing for his airline.

  8. Dillon says:

    Anyone who saw that special knows just how wrong he is. And anyone who isn’t worried about SRO because they’re more likely to be injured in a car hasn’t been in chop. Or made a landing at SNA (short runway, even for MD80s or 737s). An airplane isn’t a bus. When a bus hits a bump you mutter profanity. When an airplane hits a bump in the air you scream profanities while EMS hauls you off. Thirty minutes later.

    Of course, if he gets rid of seat belts, that also saves him enough weight for an additional person.

    Or he gets himself in the public eye. Again.

  9. MH says:

    I would not fly standing room only. It would be too hard on my back–and my safety is also too important to me.

  10. O’Leary is an idiot publicity-hound – as you said, thousands more people would be dead, and many times more injured if not for seatbelts. Turbulence alone is justification to stay buckled up. It may not happen very often, but when it does I’d prefer to stay securely in my seat. I’d take a standing-room fare on a very short flight that stays low – say the 20-minute SEA-YVR route, but not much more.

  11. Jim Emery says:

    Sitting is hard enough in coach; why make flying anymore unpleasant than it already is?

  12. jerry parryhill says:

    recent flight; could not get an aisle seat & only so many times can ask someone to let you out. I’d rather take whole flight standing then to cramp up jammed in current seating.

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