Ryanair passengers say the airline has come up with a “scandalous” new extra fee after they were charged to get their boarding passes online.
Unhappy travellers have taken to social media to express their frustration, saying they were required to pay up to £21 for a seat booking, in order to access an e-boarding pass.
The alternative was to queue for a paper pass at the airport.
Ryanair has not yet responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.
So far it is unclear how many passengers have faced the new charge, and Ryanair has not clarified the scope of the policy, which was first reported in the Mail Online.
However, the charge appears to have been introduced in the past few days.
In the meantime the airline is receiving indignant comments from passengers on X, formerly Twitter.
“When and why did you start this carry on? I now have to QUEUE to collect my boarding pass at the airport?” said one passenger travelling from London to Belfast early on Monday morning.
Another passenger said: “I just can’t believe your new policy of not allowing passengers to create a boarding pass (mobile or print-out) unless they buy a seat, forcing them to join a check-in queue (30m or longer) to do so for no other reason for you to make a few quid. Scandalous.”
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One traveller said that staff at the airport check-in desk told them the new policy was only for last 20 passengers checking in for the flight, and the charge had been introduced in the past few days.
Most airlines require passengers to check-in online, confirming their intention to travel. Usually you can download an electronic copy of your boarding pass at the same. Some passengers choose to pick up a printed boarding pass at the airport instead. None of those choices are usually charged for.
However, Ryanair appears to be requiring some passengers to book a seat, which typically costs between £7 and £21, before they are allowed to download their boarding pass onto their phone or computer before they head to the airport. If they choose not to book a seat they have to queue for a boarding pass at the airport.
Low-price airlines such as Ryanair have gained a reputation for adding on charges, such as for putting luggage in the hold, booking a seat and asking for a seat with extra legroom.
Budget carriers argue that is how they keep basic fares low compared to traditional carriers who usually provide meals, baggage and other add-ons within the overall price.
Adding extra optional fees is known as “drip pricing” and can add significantly to the total price.
The government recently held a public consultation into drip pricing and whether there should be clearer information for consumers. The consultation closed in October.
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