Budget airline Ryanair is scrapping its check-in desks at Edinburgh Airport effective Wednesday. Passengers will now need to check-in online with a £5 online charge per person, per flight. All new bookings will also be done on-line. Passengers who fail to carry their pre-printed web check-in boarding card will be charged a £40 "boarding card reissue fee".
The move comes as the no-frills carrier scraps check-in desks at airports and migrates to 100 per cent web check-in.
Stephen McNamara, of Ryanair, said: "Passengers travelling without checked in bags have already embraced our online check-in service and the extension of this service to all passengers, including those with hold luggage and those travelling with infants will allow all passengers to forever avoid check-in queues.
Ryanair is also has plans to discourage passengers from checking in luggage. Its current fee £5 fee per item of hold luggage in advance will double from 20 May, with additional bags charged at £20 each.
Extra costs which passengers unwittingly end up paying by traveling budget airlines such Ryanair have been flayed by consumer groups and the media alike. Other additional charges the airline customers are forced to pay include £5 for paying by debit card (other than Visa Electron). In February it announced that it was considering putting a £1 coin slot in the doors of its toilets.
Though the airlines sharp practices have been rapped by critics and regulatory authorities industry sources point out that the airline has grown phenomenally since its first flight in 1985 carrying 5,000 passengers to 51 million last year. They say it is the carrier that flies more passengers internationally than any other airline, making it the ''world's favourite airline'' a claim once attributed to British Airways.
Ryanair's growth and profitability are driven by its obsession on costs, they point out. As part of its relentless drive, the airline has mooted such measures as charging passengers for using on-board toilets and fines for overweight customers. The latest move to scrap airport check-in will cut costs by £50m a year, with the savings being passed on to customers according to Michael O'Leary, the airline's controversial chief executive. In an industry that has taken a massive hit on falling demand, O'Leary believes the move would allow Ryanair to operate successfully as Europe's lowest cost, highest profit airline.