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Should Ryanair's Web Check-In Fee Be Included in the Price of the Flight?

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ryanair web check-in

Ryanair - is their Web Check-In Fee 'avoidable'?

Image: Damian Corrigan
Question: Should Ryanair's Web Check-In Fee Be Included in the Price of the Flight?
My question to Ryanair in full:

With no free check-in option available now, paying your new web check-in fee constitutes a compulsory charge, which should be included in the advertised fare. Why isn't it?

Answer: Ryanair's Head of Communications, Stephen McNamara, was kind enough to provide me with this answer:

Check-in charges do not apply to our promotional fares of FREE, €1, €5, €10 etc. Ryanair releases one million promotional fares every week and 50% of Ryanair booking are through promotional fares. Therefore, check-in fees are avoidable and will be avoided by millions of passengers each week by simply opting to travel on a cheaper promotional fare. What you fail to mention is that Ryanair has REMOVED a €10 airport check-in fee, replacing it with the €5 fee, which will save millions of passengers’ money each year.

My Response

The first thing to clear up is McNamara's claim that Ryanair has so generously removed a 10€ airport check-in fee. What they have actually done is quadrupled it and renamed it a Boarding Card Reprint Fee.

Making check-in free on some flights does not constitute a fare being avoidable.

But let's give Mr McNamara the benefit of the doubt for the moment and see how easy it is for passengers to 'simply opt out' of paying the web check-in.

For flights from London Stansted to Girona in July, free check-in was available on less than 30% of days and on just one in five flights (17 flights out of a total of 84).

Furthermore, there were no free web check-in days from July 9 to July 20.

Additionally, there were no free we check-in days on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

So, if you wanted to travel from London Stansted to Girona in July 2009, it would be quite difficult to 'simply opt' to travel when there is a cheaper flight.

Since this exchange with Mr McNamara took place, a Berlin court has ruled on some of Ryanair's charges, which could spell an end to this fee. Read more about this here: Ryanair Fees Challenged in Court.

Read the next question, on Contacting Ryanair, or see all of my Questions to Ryanair.

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