RyanAir has announced that from 1st October, there will be no Ryanair check-in desk at any of its airports, and everyone must check-in online and print off their boarding pass.
On the one hand RyanAir check-in is more flexible than British Airways etc, who don't let you check-in online until 24 hours before departure, and won't let you use the check-in kiosks at the airport until 2 hours before departure (why?).
So if you're on your return sector home from an unfamiliar city, and you can't find internet access before you reach the airport, it’s no good being there 3 hours ahead hoping to reserve your seat before everyone else.
RyanAir at least looks good on paper, in that currently you can check-in online from 15 days ahead, up until 4 hours before departure. So for a 2 week trip you can actually check-in for both sectors and print off your boarding passes before you leave home.
However, if you're going away for more than 2 weeks, or you forget/lose your return boarding pass, then you have to allow time to track down an internet cafe before you go to the airport.
Unless you've got your own WiFi enabled laptop with you (who wants to lug that on a wilderness holiday), I've never seen an internet cafe landside in a European airport (only airside after Security), so you can't rely on being able to check-in when you get
to the airport – and without a boarding pass you can't get past Security to get to the internet cafe.
Given that I'm the sort of person who doesn't have the time / can't be bothered to refuel the Rental Car before returning it, I certainly don't aim to allow another hour to drive miles out of my way to find an internet cafe, to pay £1 to park the car, then
£5 to check-in and print off my boarding pass. That might take me longer than the flight itself.
I stopped using RyanAir after they stranded me in Beauvais (Paris) on a Saturday night with a technical failure, with no compensation of course, but to rub salt in the wound they confirmed that the earliest flight I could be on standby for was 3 days later
on Tuesday – so of course I made alternative arrangements with EuroStar on the Sunday at great expense and forfeited the return ticket.
Along with the proposal to charge £1 to use the toilet - why not charge £5 for a face mask to protect against swine flu whilst you're at it – I think this must be the straw that really breaks the patience of the airline’s customers.