Ryanair announced it will begin charging passengers £5 (approximately $7.50; see XE.com for current exchange rates) to check in online. Passengers who don't check in online and choose instead to arrive at the airport sans boarding pass will pay £40 (that's $60) to get one. And yes, this fee applies if you print your boarding pass (and pay the initial £5) but lose your pass before you get to the airport. The airline is also removing airport check-in desks.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Basically, Ryanair is taking one of the most fundamental aspects of air travel—checking in for your flight—and slapping an unavoidable fee on it. Plus, by removing its check-in counters, the airline is placing responsibility of checking in entirely on the shoulders of its customers. And if you blow it, the airline penalizes you with an absurd charge.
The lone customer-friendly aspect of this (and saying so is a stretch) is that Ryanair will give passengers 15 days to check in, meaning customers who don't own computers have time to find one. Of course, they wouldn't need to find one if Ryanair wasn't threatening them with an enormous fee.
At this point, I have to ask: What is the appeal of Ryanair? Sure, it's cheap, but with an endless and ever-growing list of extra charges, the airline's value seems to be shrinking at an alarming rate. Further, with its penchant for adding ridiculous fees and proposing preposterous (and ultimately fake) charges, the airline seems almost disdainful of its customers, and certainly not interested in cultivating any sort of positive brand image (unlike carriers such as Southwest and JetBlue, which try to appear friendly and concerned with the customer). We've had plenty of fees added by U.S. carriers, but none as brazen as what Ryanair announced today.
Of course, no one forces people to fly Ryanair, and yet people do, so clearly the airline is doing something right. But what? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Thanks!