Ryanair set to charge £5 for online check-in

Ryanair passengers face a £5 charge per flight to print out their tickets at home as part of moves to abolish check-in desks and increase revenues. The policy replaces Ryanair's practice of offering free online ticketing and charging anyone who opted for face-to-face check-in £10.

In future, anyone who arrives at the airport without a pre-printed check-in card will have to pay a £40 "boarding card re-issue fee". In-built restrictions to the online ticketing system mean many customers will be unable to print their tickets when they book, raising the chances for penalty charges from customers who think they have completed the process.

Ryanair says its system won't allow customers booking more than 15 days before their flight, or within four hours of one, to check in at that time. so those who book farther in advance will have to revisit the website nearer the time of their trip to check in.

The EU has forced Ryanair to change the way it lists the costs of its tickets to include taxes and some – but not all – fees up front. Advertised "free" tickets can still end up costing £20 to £80. For example, Ryanair adds £10 or more to each round-trip ticket if it is purchased with normal credit or debit cards, making the charge almost impossible to avoid, but this cost is omitted from the initial price.

The airline defends this practice because it offers free booking to holders of a restrictive, ill-marketed Visa Electron card that is unavailable in major countries.

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