Ryanair to charge for checking in online

Ryanair is to start charging customers to check in online. The no-frills airline said that check-in for all its flights booked after May 20 would be by website only and that passengers must pay £5 to do so.

Passengers without a printer must find access to one or pay a £40 charge for arriving at the airport without a boarding pass.

The charges come as the carrier scraps airport check-in desks and moves to 100 per cent web check-in.

“It’s no different from turning up at the airport without your passport,” a spokesman said. “We just want to encourage passengers to travel with the right documents.”

The airline is also pushing ahead with measures to deter passengers from travelling with checked luggage by making it prohibitively expensive. Under the current rules, a passenger travelling with three bags now pays up to £120 in baggage charges on a return flight.

The first checked bag costs £10 per bag/per each-way flight if booked in advance (£20/€20 per bag/per each-way flight if you pay at the airport or book via a call centre). Previously the charge was £5 per bag, raised to £10 per bag earlier this year. After that, a second bag costs £20/€20 per bag/per flight and the cost is the same for a third bag, Ryanair also said that it would not accept bookings for unaccompanied minors from May 20.

Separately, Ryanair claims to have reformed its online booking sites following demands from the European Commission to make booking tickets online cheaper and less confusing.

European Commission officials are expected to announce today that more than 50 airlines have improved, or will shortly improve, their websites after the Commission threatened to name them.

The reforms are designed to stamp out fares being displayed so that taxes and additional changes were only added to the bill at the end of the booking process. There have also been concerns over the use of pre-ticked boxes, which can fool customers into taking extras such as insurance.

The EU investigation of airline ticket selling practices was kicked off in September 2007, when research showed that one in three people buying flights online were being misled.

Ryanair said it had changed its website at the start of last month. Easyjet said it will begin reforming its site this summer.