Ryanair cuts check-in deadline to four days - unless you pay extra
Travel tips & Advice
Published 20/10/2016 | 01:00
Ryanair is reducing its check-in window from one week to just four days – unless passengers pay extra for allocated seating.
The move, effective from next month, will anger those fliers who prefer to have their seat assigned by the low-cost airline free of charge.
Travellers spending more than four days overseas will now be forced to interrupt their holidays to find an internet café or Wi-Fi access, or risk hefty data roaming fees, just to check in for their return flight.
“From November 1... customers who do not wish to reserve their preferred seat can check in online or on the mobile app free of charge between four days and two hours before departure and will be allocated a random seat,” said Ryanair in an email to passengers.
Those who do reserve a specific seat – at a cost of €8 to €15 per flight – can do so up to 30 days before their flight, it added.
The change applies to both new and existing bookings. Those unwilling to accept the change will be allowed to cancel their reservation free of charge.
The fee follows a similar extra introduced last month, which compels adults travelling with children under 12 to purchase a reserved seat.
The move was designed to change "boarding issues" encountered by crews trying to re-seat adults and children who have been separated, Ryanair said.
While a number of other airlines have similarly tight check-in deadlines, the new four-day requirement runs counter to Ryanair’s “Always Getting Better” slogan – as well as recent efforts to improve its no-frills reputation.
“Ryanair's previous check-in deadline was reasonably generous and customer-friendly,” said Nick Trend, consumer editor with Telegraph Travel in the UK.
“Most usefully, you could check in for your return flight before you left home. This change in policy is clearly designed to persuade more people to pay to select their seats so that they can check in earlier. It's a throwback to the old unhelpful approach to its customers that Ryanair was professing to have abandoned.”
The airline claimed the move will “increase the choice available to customers who wish to reserve their seat on board”.
It added that the change was in response to “extensive customer feedback”.
Passengers who choose to check in using the Ryanair app should note that a handful of airports, including Agadir, Marrakesh, Essaouira, Tangier and Kefalonia, don't accept mobile boarding passes. .. so finding a printer may also be necessary.
There is a €15 fee should passengers require a boarding card to be re-issued at the airport, and a €45 charge for those who do not check in before arrival.