Changes to Ryanair’s online check-in process have infuriated Which? members who have been unable to check in for both legs of their journey in advance, without paying an extra charge.
Online check-in with the budget airline is now only available between seven days and two hours before departure for those who choose not to pay £5 or £10 for allocated seating.
This means passengers who are travelling for more than a week and don’t pay for allocated seating can only check in for the outward journey – not the return journey – before they leave the UK.
Those who pay the extra fees can now check in up to 30 days prior to their flight.
Go further: Best and worst short-haul airlines – find out how Ryanair compares with its competitors
Ryanair check-in rules ‘incredibly inconvenient’
Previously, Ryanair allowed customers to check in and print boarding cards up to 15 days before their departure – long enough to cover a fortnight’s holiday.
Which? member, Paul Morrison said: ‘It’s incredibly inconvenient because it means that if you have a holiday which is longer than seven days, you have to spend some of it finding somewhere to go online and print out your return boarding pass.’
Those who can’t check in while they are away will face a fee of £70 per person to do so at the airport where they will catch their return flight.
Check-in for Easyjet, Wizzair and Jet2
The changes, which took effect from April, come just months after Ryanair promised to deliver meaningful improvements to its customer experience.
Two of the airline’s no-frills competitors, EasyJet and Wizzair allow all of their customers to check in online up to 30 days in advance. Jet2 allows online check-in 28 days in advance.
Ryanair said: ‘While we understand the minor inconvenience for those limited number of customers travelling for over seven days who freely choose to wait for a cost-free allocated seat, any such inconvenience will be eliminated shortly when we move to mobile boarding passes.’
The airline hopes to have its new mobile app available by early July.