Ryanair CEO says seatbelts on planes are useless

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:47 PM ET

The head of a cheap European airline said seatbelts on planes "don't matter," while defending his move to offer standing-room-only sections on flights.

Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, which offers budget flights across Europe, told Britain's Telegraph that bureaucratic "plonkers" are the only thing standing in the way of his offering 1-pound ($1.59 CAD) tickets to passengers who don't mind standing.

As far as he's concerned, an airplane is just a "bloody bus with wings."

"If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won't save you," he said. "You don't need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don't need a seatbelt on trains, which are travelling at 120 mph and if they crash you're all dead."

O'Leary wants to get around European Union regulations that say passengers must have their seatbelts on for takeoff and landing so he can clear the last 10 rows of his planes to sell cheap tickets for the less discerning traveller.

"If you say to passengers it's 25 pounds ($40 CAD) for the seat and 1 pound for the standing cabin, I guarantee we will sell the standing cabin first," he said. "No question."

As for turbulence? He says they can just hang on.

"We're not talking about areas of huge turbulence around Europe," he said. "We don't have heavy landings anymore. If you say to someone, 'Look, hang onto the handle there, you're coming in to land,' they'll be fine."

The outspoken CEO is no stranger to controversy.

He once defended the airline's policy of charging $95 to print a boarding pass by saying people who don't print ahead of time are "idiots" who should "bugger off."

He once suggested charging passengers a fee to use the bathroom on flights, and has been investigated by the Irish Aviation Authority for charging a fee to sit in emergency rows.


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