With their usual level of contempt for their customers, Ryanair have managed to slide out one piece of troublesome news covered by a bigger and noisier, literally, story.
Whilst most people have been discussing the horrific plans to allow mobile phones to be used on Ryanair flights (can’t people be out of contact for just a couple of hours, can’t everyone else be spare their inane chatter for the length of the flight!), another piece of news was release.
By the end of 2009, Ryanair will do away with the checkin desks at all their airports. All passengers will have to checkin online prior to leaving their home, or their hotel for the return leg. Which begs the question, what happens if you don’t have access to a printer at your campsite. Do you have to find an internet café and pay there to checkin? Are Ryanair thinking of setting up rip-off priced internet stalls in place of their checkin desks at airports for those whose relaxing beach break doesn’t involve visiting an internet café?
This naturally leads to the question, what next – you can only print your boarding pass on special Ryanair branded paper which you have to buy in advance, perhaps a final and complete ban on luggage (which is the subtext of what they are trying to achieve) so that they can cut their costs even further?
Those cheap Ryanair flights really aren’t what they once were.
The following is from Reuters 21/02/2009:
LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Europe's largest low-fare airline Ryanair said on Saturday it planned to save costs by closing all its airport check-in desks by the end of the year and have passengers check in online instead.
"All we will have is a bag drop where passengers can drop off their luggage, otherwise everything will be done online," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told the Daily Telegraph.
He said the savings would be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares.
Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara told Reuters that 75 percent of the airline's passenger already used its online check-in services.
"We are trying to encourage the remaining 25 percent to do the same," he said.
"Hopefully by the end of the year we will have bag drop-in areas instead, which will be manned."
The airline would continue to have staff running ticket desks at airports, he said.
The change would lead to layoffs but the airline used many third-party staff at airports and would attempt to limit the effect of the reduction.
"We are hoping the job cuts will be minor," McNamara said.
(Additional reporting by Carmel Crimmins in Dublin)
(Reporting by Tim Castle; editing by Chris Pizzey)