Ryanair introduces charge for check-in

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The Independent Online

The airline that levies a "wheelchair supplement" on every passenger, and which invented the notion of a fee for paying by debit card, is about to start charging for one of the absolute basics of air travel: check-in.

Any passenger booking with Ryanair from 20 September onwards will be offered a choice: either check-in online, or pay a £2 fee per person, per flight. The twist is that travellers with bags to check in are denied the internet option.

Europe's biggest no-frills airline currently charges a £2 fee for web check-in, but this will disappear. Ryanair denies that "chequebook check-in" is designed as a revenue stream - instead, it aims to modify passenger behaviour to cut staff, facilities and therefore costs.

"We already have Europe's lowest fares, and we want to cut them even further," said Peter Sherrard, Ryanair's head of communications. The price of a round trip for a family of four will rise by £16.

Industry observers believe that Ryanair could even start charging for using the on-board toilets, on the grounds that the aircraft washrooms occupy space that could otherwise be used for seating. The airline has always denied plans for passengers to pay a pound to spend a penny.

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