Ryanair's ever outspoken CEO has raised eyebrows again by asserting that seatbelts on airplanes are pointless, in an attempt to lobby for standing room only sections on his planes -- a move he also tried back in 2009.
Stating that airplanes are just buses with wings, he asserted that “if there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you,” in an interview with the Telegraph. He added, "You don't need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don't need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph and if they crash you're all dead..."
O'Leary hopes to get around EU safety regulations that require passengers to be belted in for take-off and landing so that he can remove the last 10 rows of seats from his planes and make them standing room only for a price of £1 ($1.60.)
He assured the paper that if it came between £25 for the seat and £1 for the standing cabin, the standing cabin would book up first.
"You should be able to choose from a safety perspective," 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."
Not everyone would agree.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the use of seatbelts is to ensure passenger safety during take off, landing and in the case of turbulence.
The FAA website notes that approximately 58 people in the United States are injured by turbulence each year while not wearing their seat belts. And, from 1980 through 2008, of the 234 turbulence accidents experienced by U.S. carriers, 298 serious injuries and three fatalities resulted.
Back in 2010, 30 people were injured when a United flight hit severe turbulence, after which 21 people were transported to the hospital. More recently, in June, five were injured on another United flight that hit significant turbulence.
One passenger had this to say: "...We hit some really severe turbulence and people who weren't buckled in, or the flight attendants, flew up and hit the ceiling of the plane and immediately were slammed down to the floor of the plane."
Would you fly without a seatbelt? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.