From 13 June, it will not be possible to check in for free with Ryanair until 48 hours before your flight.
Passengers who want to check in before that will need to pay at least £4 to choose a seat. Even those who have already booked their ticket will be subject to this change. If you decide to reject the change, your only option is to cancel your flight for a full refund, but this must be done by 19 May.
Meanwhile, anyone who chooses to pay to reserve a seat will be able to check in from two months in advance.
Check-in time shrinks
Until 2016, Ryanair allowed its customers to check in a week before a flight, meaning you could check in for both legs of a return trip before setting off on a short break. Ryanair then shrank this to four days.
Rival Easyjet allows passengers to check in for free from 30 days before departure, and Jet2 allows 28 days. British Airways and some other airlines allow you to check in 24 hours before departure.
Passengers split up
Ryanair and other airlines have been criticised for their policy of splitting up members of the same group if they don’t pay to sit together.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launched a review into airlines’ seating policies earlier this year. It carried out a survey which showed that almost half of all respondents thought, incorrectly, that they’d automatically be allocated a seat next to their travel companion by their airline.
The CAA’s research suggested that consumers may be paying between £160m and £390m a year for allocated seating. Of those paying, two-thirds spent more than £5 and a further 8% paid £30 or more.
Budget airlines earn an increasing proportion of their income from extras.