RyanAir – who are usually the first to introduce new charges in the European low-cost air travel market – have published their plan to start charging extra for passengers who use the check-in desk at the departure airports, to check-in for their RyanAir flights.
RyanAir actually plans to simplify the check-in and boarding process, cut costs and increase ancillary revenue with this action. The fee will be £2/€3 to each person using an airport check-in desk beginning 20SEP2007. They also claim that the fee “reflects the cost of airport check-in desk facilities“, but it will also encourage customers to use RyanAir’s Check’N'Go Web check-in service. So basically this is the next step in pushing the passengers towards self-service in as many steps of the flying process as possible. If you think about it:
- 10 years ago we all required personal assistance while booking our flights. Now we do it ourselves over the internet.
- 5 years ago we all needed personal assistance while checking-in for our flights. Now we do it ourselves using self-service check-in kiosks, web and wap applications.
- Until about a year ago, no matter how we checked ourselves in, we required to be assisted in printing our magnetic stripe boarding passes. Now more and more airlines use bar codes for check-in and boarding, so we can actually print a standard size paper ourselves at home and proceed to passport control/boarding immediately after arriving to the airport.
- Until also about a year ago, we always stood in the queue at the boarding gate and handed over our magnetic stripe boarding pass to the gate agent, who then assisted us while placing it in the machine, which read it and allowed us to proceed. Now at more and more airports they offer self-boarding facilities, where we can either load our boarding passes to the machine ourselves, or just waive the bar-coded piece of paper to the reader, which opens the gate for us.
The last four steps are now encouraged by RyanAir the hard way:
DO IT YOURSELF OR PAY FOR THE ASSISTANCE!!
It is funny, that the RyanAir until now used to charge the exact same fee (£2/€3) for its web-check-in service and the airport desks were free. Now it’s turned around, and the passengers are encouraged to take advantage of the early, web-check-in facility, and indirectly are also encouraged to travel with only carry-on baggage (as if you have a baggage to check-in, you are forced to visit the airport desk and then pay the fee…) The Priority Boarding remains an option while checking in online, which again costs £2/€3.According to the low-cost airline: “Ryanair’s Web check-in and priority boarding service has proven very popular among passengers by freeing them from check-in queues and departure gate queues. However, clearly charging for this service has acted as a disincentive. We expect that providing this service free of charge will significantly increase usage,” it added, noting that the new measures “will, we believe, encourage more and more passengers to travel without checked-in baggage.” I think, the service being free of charge will indeed increase usage, but the real incentive will be not paying for the airport check-in desks…
There is one question which is not yet clear for me however: if you have a baggage to be checked-in, how much do you have to pay? In our earlier post we have investigated the charges for extra, checked-in baggages. Now the charge for those (£5 (€6)) at RyanAir has basically been increased by £2/€3, as when checking in a bag, you must use the airport check-in desk… So you should think twice about having a non-carry on baggage with RyanAir, as it will cost you a minimum of £7/€9 from 20September2007!!