The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has confirmed plans by Ryanair to increase the €40 charge to €100 – a 150% hike.
Mr O’Leary claimed the fee increase would help eliminate the number of passengers who show up at check-in desks without their boarding pass.
The latest price hike by Ryanair is another move by the airline to lower its own costs and comes shortly after the no-frills carrier phased out check-in desks in an attempt to achieve savings.
However, it retains a number of check-in desks at airports to allow passengers to drop off their baggage which costs €15 for the first item and €35 for a second if booked online and €30 and €70 respectively if checked in at the airport.
Mr O’Leary justified the increase in the cost of issuing boarding cards to travellers at airports on the basis that “only a tiny number of passengers” still arrive for a flight without a printed ticket.
Online check-in is available from 15 days up to four hours prior to the scheduled departure of Ryanair flights.
“You really now must check in before you get to the airport. If you don’t the fine is €40 and if that doesn’t get rid of them all within a very short order, we double that fine to €100,” said Mr O’Leary. “We don’t want people showing up without the pre-printed boarding card.”
However, Ryanair has not formally indicated when the fee increase – which is more than double the existing one – will come into effect.
Meanwhile, the number of claims for compensation against airlines over denied boarding, cancellations and long delays has increased dramatically during the first half of 2009.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation has reported a 140% increase in the number of valid complaints received between January and June this year compared to the same period in 2008.
Although the CAR received 1,300 queries during the first half of 2009 relating difficulties encountered by air passengers, only 242related to the EU rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellations, long delays or downgrading.
However, the CAR said the 242 valid complaints compared to just 173 received during the first half of 2008. The vast majority of 113 cases due to be investigated by the Aviation Regulator relate to the cancellation of flights by airlines, with 15 cases linked to passengers being denied boarding and nine incidents of long delays.
Ryanair accounted for most complaints followed by Aer Lingus, BMI Baby and Centralwings.