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Judge: Ryanair Can’t Force You to Print Ticket

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A judge in Spain rules that Ryanair’s print-or-pay approach to boarding passes is illegal. According to the Guardian, “A judge in Barcelona said that, under international air travel conventions, Ryanair can neither demand passengers turn up at the airport with their boarding pass, nor charge them €40 (£34) if they do not.”

Ryanair made the change last year and promptly began removing check-in counters from airports it serves. Under the policy, passengers pay €5 or £5 for each one-way leg of their trip at check-in, and €40 or £40 if they arrive at the airport without a boarding pass and need one.

Just maybe not in Spain anymore. “I declare abusive and, therefore, null, the clause in the contract by which Ryanair obliges the passenger to take a boarding pass to the airport,” Judge Barbara Cordoba said, according to the Guardian. “The customary practice over the years has been that the obligation to provide the boarding pass has always fallen on the airline.”

Ryanair, not at all surprisingly, disagrees, and said it will appeal the decision. “The court is wrong,”  Ryanair spokesman Daniel de Carvalho told the Guardian. “You need the boarding card to fly. If a passenger arrives without a boarding card, we find an ad hoc solution to their problem. The €40 is a penalty for doing that. We serve the boarding card in exactly the same way that the passenger makes the booking, by internet.”

Of course, most airlines still have check-in desks or self-service kiosks at airports, at which boarding passes can be printed in, oh, two or three minutes.

But that would constitute customer service, which Ryanair has never claimed to be part of its product offering. “If the problem is the €40 charge for this service, we’ll simply stop offering the service,” de Carvalho said. That, of course, will mean the passenger who arrives without a boarding card cannot fly.”

Readers, what do you think about the ruling, or Ryanair’s policy?

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