/ Travel & Leisure

Three-hour flight takes off without toilet paper

Ryanair aircraft

Ryanair calls itself a ‘no-frills airline’ so you’d probably expect to do without a few luxuries in return for getting a cheap fare. But what about toilet rolls? And on a three-hour flight?

Well that’s what happened to passengers on a Ryanair flight from Murcia, Spain, to London Stansted.

Barely had they settled in their seats before they were told there was no milk for tea or coffee and, oh yes, no toilet paper on board.

Cabin crew on the loo-cost (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) airline made the announcement during the usual safety demonstration.

‘Sorry, we wanted to take off on time’

Their explanation was that the loo rolls hadn’t been delivered and they didn’t want to delay the plane by waiting for them.

Passengers horrified by the airline’s below-bog-standard service immediately lodged complaints about the airline when they landed. After what you can only imagine may have been a few nervous, bum-clenched hours at 40,000 feet.

Toilet roll ‘handling error’

A spokesman for Ryanair blamed this ‘very rare and regrettable stock shortage’ on ‘handling agents’ in Murcia.

‘Our crew explained to passengers that we wished to prioritise an on-time departure for London Stansted rather than wait for these items to be delivered and cause a significant air traffic control delay for all our customers.’

Ryanair charm offensive

Despite this latest setback, Ryanair is reporting that it recently launched a charm offensive and it appears to be paying off.

The Irish low-cost airline has reported that the amount of traffic travelling on its Boeing 737s is up by a fifth this spring.

But, if you were on that flight – how much charm would be needed to make up for this comfort oversight?

Would you be willing to sacrifice potential on-board comfort in return for your flight being on time? Have you come across a worse example of poor customer service or a more unlikely excuse?


I have absolutely no doubt that the excuse was true. Not making youer flying slot with consequent knock-on delays and costs would be very expensive for any airline.

I would be interested in the legal position as I suspect somewhere there are regulations covering the provision of toilets, water , etc etc.

RyanAir could have been much smarter by offering the flight free to all and garnering some kudos. But perhaps no publicity would have suited them best.


Ryanair has been to the toilet before, when we were told of its plans to introduce a charge to spend a penny: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/4861918/Ryanair-considers-charging-passengers-to-use-lavatories.html This proved to be a publicity stunt, rather than a genuine intention to introduce charges.

I wonder if the recent incident was a cruel way of raising awareness of the airline. I have posted a couple of times about the fact that Ryanair had a premium rate number to complain about its use of premium rate numbers. That has gone now, but I’m sure that Ryanair will be back with more examples of poor customer service.


Yes, I remember that publicity stunt by Ryanair to charge for the loos. It reminds me of this song, which covers this topic as well as many other forms of budget airlines’ drip pricing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAg0lUYHHFc

Even more extreme, watch this system of charging for life jackets on the BBC’s Come Fly With Me comedy (same team as Little Britain): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idd32nyf1pc


Very good. Unfortunately, poor service seems to have a bit of a cult following.


I had a similar experience with British Airways. On an 11:20 flight from Ibiza to London City, they took off with no Champagne, because the passengers on the early morning outbound flight from London City to Ibiza had drunk it all! This highlighted that BA wasn’t stocking up with chilled drinks locally before each flight but was instead allowing chilled drinks to warm up for a long time on UK-outbound flights before serving them on UK-inbound flights.

Given that one of the obvious advantages of business class is Champagne, I subsequently complained to British Airways. Being British Airways as opposed to Ryanair, they generously compensated me for their failure, and I remained a happy customer.


I can think of a cheaper way to drink better champagne! And has no one ever made a mistake or had to overcome a problem at work that did not have a perfect solution? When my grandparents were alive their loo was outside in a yard, and paper was newspaper squares threaded on a piece of string hung on the door. Whilst I’m not suggesting Ryanair opt for outside toilets I’m sure some ingenuity could have provided for an emergency – most of our newspapers would be more useful if hung on the toilet door. I hope the flight did not encounter any stressful events.


Malcolm – I nearly spilt my coffee laughing at the idea of a Ryanair plane with an outside loo. 🙂

I would like to know why we need business class at all. We should keep down prices for goods and services, and the expenses claimed by politicians and those in public service.


wc (sorry, that seems appropriate given the topic 🙂 ) I also wonder why we need first class on trains – reducing capacity. Clearly it is designed to extract revenue from business, as do airlines, and maybe there is a business case. But it bothers me also that anyone in public service should be entitled to spend taxpayers’ money on travel in classes most of the rest of us cannot afford. Just make seats comfortable for all and abolish class.


I think you’ll find that public sector workers have particularly strict levels on the use of first class train fares and business class air fares. I believe that at one time, government employees were not even allowed to collect airmiles.

When it comes to private sector business travel, there are many reasons why business class is necessary. I work in investment banking, and most banks’ travel policies allow business class only for flights above a certain number of hours. The number of hours varies from one bank to another, typically between 2 and 6 hours, and most banks have moved towards the upper end of this range. First class air travel is typically allowed only for the most senior management (if at all) or when travelling with a client who flies in first class.

Providing a flat bed for an overnight flight is essential if you expect the worker to work a full day the next day. Otherwise you have to give the worker a day off to get enough sleep; this becomes expensive and the cost-saving of an economy ticket literally becomes a false economy.

When it comes to short haul travel, business class usually gives a proper meal, which saves the worker having to use working time for a meal, for example by getting to the airport earlier. business class usually gives a proper meal, which saves the worker having to use working time for a meal, for example by getting to the airport earlier.

Businesses need flexible tickets for their workers. Often the difference between fully-flexible economy and fully-flexible business class is relatively small, although increases in this differential are one reason that many banks have increased their threshold from 2 or 3 hours up to 5 or 6 hours.


NFH, as far as I am concerned the private sector can spend its money how it likes. It is out of there profits and if they support airlines – hopefully our own – then I have no problem with that. For rail travel I see absolutely no need to have two classes; to see second class passengers standing while space is available in first is ludicrous. One class would be quite appropriate. We don’t have first class on coaches.

Paying for business class to get a meal seems a very expensive way to eat. I see no difficulty in getting to the airport early for breakfast. One flight I took to Eindhoven saw me having a light breakfast at home, eating a breakfast with my travelling companion at Gatwick – a good fried meal – then presented with a substantial cooked breakfast as soon as we took off, and our host who met us from the plane thought we’d go straight for lunch. Toiurist class.


I don’t see any difference between the private and the public sector, Malcolm, if it means that the public are paying higher prices for goods and services.


The additional price of business class in order to get a meal is not for the meal itself but the timing of the meal. If a worker has spent all day in an office abroad with an evening flight from 19:00 to 21:00, then the optimal time for an evening meal is on the return flight, and not to get to the airport an hour earlier than would otherwise be necessary in order to have a meal before the flight. An hour of the worker’s time can be worth more than the additional price of business class. However, as I explained, this is just one of many reasons why businesses pay for their workers to fly in business class.

It is indeed true that we don’t have first class on coaches, but one could rank coach travel as a class of travel below second class rail travel.

If airlines didn’t provide business class and first class products, then there would be greater use of private jets, which are even more costly.


On a lighter note, your mention of first and second classes on trains reminded me of the time my employer gave me a first-class train ticket for a business trip from London to Reading. I sat in second class, unaware that the logo that said “1st” on my seat referred not to 1st class but to the name of the train company – First Great Western. I only found out when the ticket inspector came and told me I was sitting in the wrong section. As I was already feeling comfortable, I didn’t bother moving.

And the earlier mention of outside loos on a plane reminded me of the Yorkshire Airways sketch – apologies if you’ve already seen it, but it’s a classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJxzDYJ4C3Y


You might find this hard to fathom but sometimes it works out cheaper to use business class even ignoring the “perks”. Not often but my best was £600 same day, same time, same flight. Worth checking.

The same is true of trains on some routes.

Look before you book.