How to avoid Ryanair’s £55 check-in charge

Joanna Whitehead

Ryanair’s online check-in window will be open from just 48 hours to two hours before departure from 13 June.

Passengers who haven’t reserved seats and arrive at the airport without having checked in online are required to pay a fee of £55 in the UK or €55 (£48) elsewhere.

The new rule applies to existing and new bookings, although Ryanair has said that passengers booked to travel from 13 June onwards who have not paid for reserved seating are entitled to cancel their flights and request a full refund. This offer is only available until 19 May, however, “after which the change will be regarded as implicitly accepted,” says the airline.

The reduction means that those on anything from week-long holidays to three-day minibreaks will not be able to check-in for their return journeys before they leave. As Ryanair requires a paper boarding pass printed at home, or a virtual boarding pass downloaded onto passengers’ phones, necessitating wifi, the change could prove problematic while abroad.

Here are some of the ways to avoid incurring further costs at check-in when you travel with Ryanair:

Download the Ryanair app

It’s entirely possible that the reduction of the check-in window has been designed to encourage more passengers to download the app, but doing so will enable you to check-in with greater ease when you’re away. Make sure that you can download the app before your trip while you still have reliable wifi. Once the check-in window opens, you’ll still need internet access to check-in via the app and download your boarding pass; ensure your accommodation has wifi beforehand or find a local cafe or bar that has it. Alternatively, check whether you get free data in the country you’re travelling to – and, if not, consider signing up to pay a bit more per day to use your UK data allowance abroad.

For those with limited space on their phones, it’s worth deleting an existing app to create space for the Ryanair one – then deleting it again upon your return home.

Ask your hotel to print off your boarding pass

Many hotels, particularly larger ones, have the facilities for you to access your Ryanair account, check-in and print off your boarding pass. If you’re concerned that this might be your only option, it’s worth contacting your hotel ahead of time to see if this can be arranged.

Go old school and seek out an internet café

Tracking down an internet café to log on and check-in online might seem like a drag while you’re on holiday, but if you’re staying in a city or popular tourist resort, it’s highly likely that there will be at least one of these where you can check-in and print off your boarding pass for a small fee.

Bite the bullet and reserve a seat

If all this seems too much like hard work, passengers can pay a fee – typically £4 per person, per flight – for assigned seating and check-in up to two months ahead of departure.