Budget Airline Ryanair are currently being investigated by safety watchdogs after passengers were made to pay an extra £10 charge so they could sit in seats by emergency exits.
The popular seats offer more legroom for travellers, however the seats located next to the emergency exits have been left empty on hundreds of flights after travellers refused to pay the added cost.
Ryanair passengers buying standard seats are told that they can sit anywhere on the plane apart from the first four rows and the emergency exit rows in the centre.
However passengers in standard seats are still expected to be able to follow directions on the emergency procedures.
The Irish Aviation Authority and UK regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), have launched an investigation into the airline. Suggesting that Ryanair should look at its policy as the issue is described as a ‘grey area’.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has also questioned safety issues on board.
One passenger on a Ryanair flight said that he was asked to make sure that he was aware of how to open a door that he was unable to see.
“I wasn’t allowed to sit in the emergency exit row so I sat in the window seat in the row in front. Before take-off, one of the cabin crew spoke to me, and another passenger who was in the aisle seat.
“Basically, she was saying that, since we were the closest to the emergency exit, we’d have to make sure we’d read and understood the instructions for opening the doors in the middle of the plane in an emergency”.
Adding: “She said emergency row seats could only be used by people who had paid extra. It just seemed ludicrous and mean-spirited.
Stephen McNamara, the head of communications at Ryanair said: “We do not believe this to be an issue, as all Ryanair passengers are provided with the same safety and evacuation information.
“We will continue to discuss the matter with the IAA”.
Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh