26 February 2009

Ryanair to Eliminate Check-In Desks

Looking for things to rid themselves of, European low-cost carrier Ryanair, which we never have particularly high opinion of, is planning to eliminate all its check-in desks by year’s end. Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said the airline saw the move as the “logical next step” in its effort to slash costs.

CEO Michael O’Leary is quoted as commenting that they only want one person in five to check luggage, implying a move toward separate luggage transport, as advocated by several freight companies. Despite this, Ryanair recently cracked down on carry-on luggage, Ryanair customers “will now have to pay £28.50 (about $41) to take their duty-free shopping on the plane.” The new on-the-spot charges must be paid at the boarding gate if passengers can’t fit their shopping into their single carry-on piece. People who stock up on cheap alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes will be hit with the fee before they board. Any additional bags, even a bag of newspapers and snacks for the flight, could incur another fee each way.

Ryanair already charges for counter check-in, a fee that fortunately hasn’t made its way to the U.S., and anything else they can get away with, and is successful because their base fares are so low, as are the expectations of their passengers. It has proven though, that there is no depth they won’t sink to. To encourage self-service is one thing. To eliminate all options for assistance is quite another.

No comments: