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Ryanair Earns 'Worst Airline Ever' Award with New Online Check-In Fee

March 23, 2009 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

Just when the threat of paying to pee onboard Ryanair flights died down to a mere wimper, Europe's low-cost airline has struck again with the announcement that they will charge £5 (about $6.55) for online check-ins. Add this to their plans to completely eliminate airport check-ins by October of this year, and there will no longer be a way to avoid all of Ryanair's scattered (and scatterbrained) extra fees.

We know that there is still a lot of time left in 2009 but Ryanair has prompted us to officially bestow them with the Worst Airline Award of the year. We really aren't sure how any airline is going to top them at this point. Well, we certainly hope that no airline tries.

Ryanair began their three-phase plan for check-in charges last Thursday by charging $6.55 (or £5) for online bag check and £10 (or $13.10) for airport check-in. They also opened up web check-in to passengers who previously were required to see the Ryanair counters in person; these included people with checked luggage, the handicapped, and foreign citizens outside of the European Union.

Phase two, scheduled for May, will require everyone to check-in online with the new fee of $6.55, unless the booking was made through a promotion allowing the old face-to-face transaction. At this point, the fee for checking your bag online will be eliminated, meaning you will only have to pay that amount once, as a kind of bonus for figuring out how to do everything else properly, we suppose.

If all of this doesn't sound ridiculous enough, just wait for the third and final phase to kickstart on October 1: all airport check-in desks will be eliminated and the online check-in (and the fee) will be mandatory across the board. If, by chance, you happen across a physical Ryanair desk before it is removed, then the $13.10 fee for using it will be doubled.

We already feel horribly for the few employees leftover at the Ryanair bag drop counters who will no doubt be bearing the brunt of these ridiculous fees by taking questions from irate passengers and explaining the fees.

While we do appreciate the disturbingly low fares that Ryanair offers, it's no fun to be nickel-and-dimed during the entire process from our door to our vacation door. It's kind of like dangling a carrot on a fishing rod in front of a bunny. We honestly think passengers would probably just prefer to pay a higher ticket price upfront and be done with it already.

And to think we still remember the days when Ryanair only charged for extra checked bags, sigh.

Related Stories:
· Ryanair to Charge About $6.50 for Online Check-In [Travel Weekly]
· Ryanair's New Check-In Policy [Times UK]
· Ryanair Coverage [Jaunted]

[Image: Ryanair.com]

Archived Comments:

I don't get it

If the fee is mandatory why have it at all? Why not just build it into the ticket price?

People are not as stupid as Ryan Air thinks..

Ryan Air seems to think that people are too stupid to understand that a "free" flight is not for free.. They even admit that they put a "fee" on every single traveler, rather than raise the price of a ticket, just to be able to advertise cheap flights. I think they are digging their own grave.. Nobody will take their advertised price seriously after this.. It surprises me that they think this is a good plan in the long run. But what do I know? I have no marketing or business training.. I wrote more about this on my blog winter-travel.org

Fee Free Please

I hate all these extra fees. Just give us the total amount. People aren't that dumb although sometimes they get trapped into paying. You will surely lose repeat customers that way.

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Avoid the online check-in fee

"the online check-in (and the fee) will be mandatory across the board." Why would someone avoid a $6.55 check-in fee by paying a $13.10 in person check-in fee? "...passengers would probably just prefer to pay a higher ticket price upfront and be done with it already." Don't passengers have that option in the form of other airlines? Besides, there are plenty of companies that offer a lower price at less convince.