For the last couple of decades, airlines have sought to make money charging for things that previously were free. It started with easyJet having the temerity to make passengers pay for tea and biscuits on flights between Luton and Scotland. Now, even British Airways is picking up the habit on short-haul trips from January next year.

Next was checked baggage, with Flybe beginning in a small way with its £2 per bag charge in 2006, which has now multiplied and spread to dozens of airlines.

Now assigned seats, which once were allocated at the airport before departure, require extra payment on many airlines. 

For travellers like me, who don’t mind where we sit, the main issue is to do with online check-in. Monarch doesn’t allow it at all if you don’t buy an assigned seat, insisting on that old-school thing of checking in at a desk at the airport. British Airways and other “legacy” airlines have a 24-hour window, while easyJet is prepared to specify a seat for you as long as a month before the flight.

Since Ryanair introduced allocated seating, its online check-in for us cheapskates has been a week. That has annoyed people on longer trips, but for anyone on a seven-day holiday it’s been easy: get up early on the day of the outward flight and check in for the inward trip, printing out your boarding pass or saving it on the Ryanair app. 

All of that is about to change, with a four-day deadline imposed. Watch our video to find out why.

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