Ryanair to cut free passenger check-in window by half

Airline says changes introduced to give paying customers more time to select seats

Ryanair has cut the time in which passengers can check-in at no cost by half and from the middle of next month any travellers who wish to check-in more than two days before departure will be hit with charges.

The airline has announced that from June 13th free online check-in will only be available between 48 hours and 2 hours before a flight is scheduled to depart. As it stands passengers can check in at no cost up to four days before a flight takes off.

Those who pay for allocated seating will be able to check-in and choose their seats up to 60 days ahead of departure.

As a result of the change passengers travelling on short breaks will not be able to check in and print out boarding passes for the outward and homeward bound legs of a trip of three or four days duration before departure without incurring a cost.


The company said it was introducing the changes to give customers who opt to pay for reserved seats “more time to select their preferred seats prior to departure”.

In a statement Ryanair said online check-in for those customers “who don’t choose reserved seats will be available from 48 hours to 2 hours pre-departure for all flights from Wednesday, 13th June.”

Its spokesman pointed out that the 48-hour window was "double the 24 hour check-in period operated by Aer Lingus, British Airways, Lufthansa, Norwegian and Iberia. "

Last year Ryanair’s seating policy for people who chose not to pay for allocated seats came under fierce criticism from passengers who complained that they were being seated apart from friends and family if they declined to pay for allocated seating.

Affected passengers suggested that the reason why the airline had suddenly started splitting up travelling companions was to encourage more people to pay for pre-booked seats in order to ensure they were able to sit together.

The airline flatly denied it had changed the way it allocated its seats, but a handful of complaints turned into thousands as people across Europe said their travelling parties had also been split up, regardless of when they checked in and how many seats were available on their aircraft.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor