Ryanair's check-in desks checking out

Ryanair is ditching its airport check-in desks to cut costs. And we thought it was stripped right down already...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

From the start of next year, Ryanair passengers will have to check in online to confirm their flights, the aim being to pass on the savings to passengers through lower fares. Many who have flown with the budget carrier will be surprised it could find any operating costs to slash, having long done away with such ‘luxuries' as baggage allowance. What's the next move - in-flight vending machines serving peanuts wrapped in a warm towel?

Under the new system, passengers will leave their luggage at a bag drop, but the rest of the process will take place online. Which, it turns out, isn't such a radical move. Ryanair reckons 75% of its passengers already check in online, and that it's the ‘next logical step' in passing on its savings to passengers. Indeed, the snaking queue of despondent faces at the check-in desk may soon seem as anachronistic as smoking in the departure lounge. And you'd have to be a stubborn technophobe, or fan of waiting, to consider that a bad thing.

Ryanair will be hoping its other hi-tech development will get a similarly easy ride. The carrier has become the first in Europe to offer a mobile service, meaning that passengers can make and receive calls and send texts mid-flight. We admire Ryanair's unflagging ability to find ways of squeezing money out of its passengers, but this may well backfire - when it's suddenly faced with a snaking queue of people waiting to hurl themselves out at 30,000 feet once those ring-tones start blaring...


In today's bulletin:

Northern Rock starts lending again as banks feel the heat
Mandelson gives LDV row the swerve
Ryanair's check-in desks checking out
Were our big banks run by psychopaths?
Editor's blog: Sadness as Saab reaches the end of road

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