WARNING: RyanAir Online Check-in

November 13, 2007

in Airlines, Information, Reader Tips, Travel

Further passing on the costs of service directly to the consumer, RyanAir recently altered their check-in model. Whereas online check-in was formerly linked to priority boarding and was a privilege to be purchased for 6 euros, they have turned the tables and made online check-in the free standard, with anyone needing counter service (namely to check in a bag) charged an additional 3 euros per flight. I was surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

The problem here is that online check-in is only available to certain groups: most significantly, only passengers with EU/EEA passports. American? Australian? Indian? Out of luck. You have to pay to check in. Even more abhorrent is that the BLIND must pay to check in. Are these forms of discrimination even legal? It seems to me one thing to charge people if they choose to check in at a counter or are checking a bag, but if other people willing to check in online don’t have a choice simply because the system isn’t set up to handle them (and for no good reason; other European airlines allow foreign passengers to check in online) . . . that is me paying a tax on YOUR stupidity, RyanAir.

I asked RyanAir counter staff on my last flight how this was possibly fair. One said in theory I could request a refund from the main office. I’m guessing once the money is in their hands I’m never going to see it again.

But be aware: this is a change they are taking a hard line on. RyanAir denied boarding to at least 9 fliers at Stansted Saturday morning when those passengers presented online boarding passes but did not have EU passports. RyanAir claimed their tickets had been falsified and were therefore canceled.

My only advice here for those in the excluded categories is to go for web check-in when you purchase your tickets BUT DO NOT USE IT TO CHECK IN FOR YOUR FLIGHT. Arrive with a bit of extra time and check in at the counter. Make them extract the money from you there, if they must. To tell you the truth, I’ve never had RyanAir charge me for last-minute services — like checking an unexpected or overweight bag. This option is legitimate, will not cost you more (than perhaps a bit of hassle at the airport, but it’s the principle) and may in fact save you the fee altogether.

I would love to hear comments or stories from anyone affected by this change. Thanks to SS for the tip.

Update 11/19/07: SS later spotted this on the RyanAir website:

Where a passenger is unable to avail of Online Check-in by reason only of not being the holder of either a valid passport or a National Identity Card, issued by the government of an EU/EEA country, any Airport Check-In fee paid will be refunded upon application.

I called RyanAir to clarify where one should apply to for refunds. That address would be:

Ryanair Refunds Dept
Ryanair Head Office
Dublin Airport
Co Dublin, IRELAND

You can also fax refund requests to Ireland +353 1 812 1230

You must include the following: Confirmation Number (e.g. ABC123), Full Flight Details – date/routes, Passenger Names

(Update 4/27/08: Student Scrooge writes that RyanAir further requested a copy of the non-EU passport’s front page.)

They will reply to the email address associated with your original itinerary. Refunds are made directly to the card used for booking.

The customer service agent I spoke to said the method I described above would also work. She recommended calling RyanAir before the flight to have them change the booking from online to airport (no cost) to avoid complications at the counter. You can reach RyanAir at the following numbers, though I recommend figuring out the cheapest way to call Ireland and ringing them at the “rest of the world” number to avoid high fees.

  • Looking to beat RyanAir at its low-cost game?  I outline my system for scoring the cheapest flights — and actually getting RyanAir to pay *me* to fly — in the post “Why I Love/Hate RyanAir.”

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{ 260 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doug 12.20.07 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for this article. I am flying to Spain from Germany and, as an American exchange student, this cleared up some fog that the ryanair website created and will probably save me a headache!

2 Cindi In Luxembourg 01.20.08 at 10:18 pm

In regards to your comment: “To tell you the truth, I’ve never had RyanAir charge me for last-minute services — like checking an unexpected or overweight bag.” You must have been extremely lucky, or clue us in on which airport(s) you routinely take.

I’ve never seen Ryanair NOT charge for extra bags or the first kilo of overweight baggage. I recently flew from Frankfurt Hahn to London Stanstead. In both directions all passengers with any overweight luggage (and there was a steady stream) had to leave the line with their luggage to pay the overweight charge. Each were given the amount to pay at the ticket office, and the paid receipt had to be provided again at the check-in line prior to receiving boarding passes. At 8 euro or 5.50 GBP for each portion of kilo over 15, my 4 kilo overweight baggage fee cost more than the original flight.

Another important item to note – Ryanair now also asks if you want to pay for “priority boarding” for an additional fee. As nearly everyone now takes it, if you don’t, you are guaranteed to have that wonderful middle seat. It seems to be the standard now, and anyone who doesn’t have it will have to wait to board until the looong line of those who did purchase it have already boarded.

3 poetloverrebelspy 01.21.08 at 1:53 am

Thanks for your comment, Cindi. Let me clarify where I think the difference lies: I NEVER TRAVEL WITH CHECKED LUGGAGE. The times I can remember checking a bag unexpectedly were 1) at London Stansted, when security and not RyanAir wouldn’t let my carry-on bag through (when I had to cram everything, including my computer, into one bag); and 2) at Milan Bergamo, when security wouldn’t let a large (but safe) metal item go in hand luggage. So I have checked bags only after having already gone through the check-in process; perhaps because it was a security matter, I didn’t have to pay either time. To be honest, my carry-on is regularly over 10 kg (though regulation size) and RyanAir has *knock on wood* never cared about that either. [To everyone reading this, RyanAir's official policy is that they can deny you boarding if your carry-on is overweight, so I am officially not recommending that you follow my example.]

You are correct that if you are traveling with checked luggage and put that luggage on the scale and it’s overweight, they will charge you per kilo overage. All other airlines will do the same for an overweight bag (the only difference being their limits are higher). I avoid the whole hassle by traveling “lighter” with a smaller bag and carrying it on myself. You can avoid such overage fees by toting another (foldable) bag along just in case and carrying on the four kilos yourself if necessary. Heck, for your 22 pounds / 32 euros, you probably could have found a cute carry-on bag at Stansted to transfer stuff into! Better that money go to Overpriced Airport Luggage Store than RyanAir, I always say.

As for your comment on priority boarding, it can no longer be purchased and is now an automatic and exclusive perk of online check-in. So yes, everyone who qualifies, prints out a boarding pass at home and carries on their luggage will now board the plane before you (luggage checkers, Americans and BLIND PEOPLE) too. You can see that they really REALLY REALLY want you to carry on luggage and eliminate the need for on-the-ground airport staff and support. (An absolutely short-sighted policy, in my opinion, as it simply puts more stress on airport security personnel, but I digress . . .)

And to the point of the post — booking web check-in and then checking in at the airport — I can report I had no trouble on my flight from Venice Treviso to Malta, even though I didn’t call RyanAir to change the booking in advance. I’ll report back after the return trip Tuesday.

4 poetloverrebelspy 01.24.08 at 3:38 pm

Malta-Venice check-in was also trouble-free. They don’t even note any sort of discrepancy between check-in types. Can anyone else provide anecdotal evidence?

5 robinmadrid 01.24.08 at 11:12 pm

Another nasty trick Ryan Air does is to add back in the travel insurance, it took me 4 tries to book my flight. Each time i unchecked the travel insurance and each time it was automatically added back in. Another thing I found out is checked baggage is a fee PER BAG, for what ever reason I took two small bags instead of one big back and on the way back I was told I had to pay an extra 10£ for the privilege.
But I really shouldn’t complain as the whole trip including extra charges cost less than parking for the weekend.

6 dave 01.27.08 at 2:39 am

i am an american and accidently said i’d check in online. is there any chance i will get screwed out of getting on the flight (i haven’t checked in yet or anything)? or can it DEFINATELY be changed if i call them or just show up? thanks!

7 poetloverrebelspy 01.30.08 at 1:05 am

Hi Dave. I just took another two flights (Berlin-Stockholm-Berlin) with RyanAir, booking online check-in then checking in at the airport. They have not tried to get money from me nor have they even mentioned that I signed up for the “wrong kind” of check-in. The trick here is not to check-in online AT ALL, but to show up at the airport and check in as usual. If you’re really worried you can call the numbers I linked to above for reassurance.

8 poetloverrebelspy 02.04.08 at 11:12 am

Find this article featured as a “great read” at eyeflare.

9 Tobias 02.04.08 at 1:45 pm

Quote by poetloverrebelspy “As for your comment on priority boarding, it can no longer be purchased and is now an automatic and exclusive perk of online check-in. So yes, everyone who qualifies, prints out a boarding pass at home and carries on their luggage will now board the plane before youPriority”

This is not the case, Ryanair have always allowed passengers to purchase Priority Boarding. Those who use the check-in counter (with or without bags) can chose Priority Boarding at the time of reservation for £3 per sector.

More details on this link.

10 poetloverrebelspy 02.04.08 at 7:19 pm

Tobias, you are absolutely correct. I went through the purchasing process and didn’t see it offered (it is hidden until you select one of the “airport check-in with bags” options, which I never use). It is included “free” with online check-in, which is what I advise travelers to select in this post.

That said, paying RyanAir for “priority boarding” is a total waste of money, in my opinion — and whatever elitist cache it once had is muted now that there are hoards of people who get it simply for checking in online.

11 Devin 02.05.08 at 9:23 pm

Hi, I’m trying to book a flight from Dublin to Rome and Ryanair seems like the cheapest way to go, but I am worried about selecting the Online check-in and then just showing up at the airport. Are you an American or non-EU resident poetloverrebelspy? I’m an American and would love to save the airport check-in and ‘priority’ boarding prices, but I don’t want to show up and have my reservation called fraudulent and have to buy another set of tickets.

On another note, I want to bring a carry-on bag with me and avoid checking it. It seems like Ryanair has stricter hand-baggage requirements than other airlines. Has anyone been able to check in a bag over the 20cm / 7.87 inch height? This seems pretty restrictive.

Thanks, and I like your the writeup here!

12 poetloverrebelspy 02.06.08 at 2:42 am

Thanks for your comment, Devin. I have a U.S. passport and have successfully flown (as noted above) between Italy, Malta, Germany and Sweden by booking online check-in, then checking in at the airport. I also flew the Germany-Sweden itinerary with a non-EU passport-holding friend, and she faced no problems either. As I wrote, the ground staff have never noted a discrepancy, probably because we must check in at the counter as a matter of course.

Here’s another way to think about this: even if you were an EU citizen who booked online check-in, but then decided later to check a bag, you would be forced to check-in at the airport, and the “worst” that could happen to you would be having to pay fees on the spot. It is always okay to go from online to airport check-in.

The essence of the post is a warning that non-EU citizens who try to check in online will not be allowed to board their flights. As I mention above, the way around this is to book the online check-in but to NEVER EVER use it. YOU MUST ALWAYS CHECK IN AT THE AIRPORT. Booking online check-in simply keeps RyanAir from collecting the money they would eventually have to refund you anyway. The only thing you “lose” is any claim to priority boarding — which, as I wrote above, is hardly a loss anymore.

If you are still concerned, you can book the regular check-in and apply for a refund. This post also details how to follow that route, if you so choose.

As for luggage, please remember that RyanAir’s policy is that they can deny you boarding at the gate if your luggage is too large or overweight — so I am never going to advocate that you try to fly with luggage that is larger than the dimensions and weight they advertise. You can read a longer discussion of this issue in the post Pack Less, Carry On, Save Money.

Hope this helps.

13 Jenny 02.13.08 at 5:39 pm

We’ve never flown with ryanair before and dont expect to check a bag so have opted for the online check in
ON the return journey what then? will we need to find a net cafe and do online check in the night before on an early morning flight?
The website isnt helpful there either, all selecting the online check in icon does is take me to the check in!

14 poetloverrebelspy 02.13.08 at 8:17 pm

Hi Jenny.

If you read this page, you’ll see that you can check-in online between 2 days and 4 hours before your flight. You will also have to print out your boarding passes to present for security and at the gate.

If you can’t get to an internet cafe before your flight, you may still show up to check in at the desk and will be charged the airport check-in fee at that time (as they state on that page, currently £3/€4 per person). Save yourself time in line by proceeding to the RyanAir ticket/service counter and paying the fee BEFORE you go to the check-in counters.

Hope this helps.

15 poetloverrebelspy 02.15.08 at 3:02 pm

Find some more anecdotal evidence on this topic at the Assistants in France bulletin board.

16 Mary Ann 02.23.08 at 8:18 pm

THANK YOU!!! We are travelling in June from UK to France, hoping to use Ryanair, six (four children) of us with US passports. I’m the one in charge of purchasing and would have skipped airport check-in and done online check-in to save money. This posting has probably saved a load of hassle for me and my family!

17 sharon 03.17.08 at 3:31 pm

my father in law lives in dublin and is terminally ill – my husband had a ticket booked to travel back to the uk on 15th march – we were advised not to travek back that day as he was expected to deteriorate – i rang ryan air and asked if i could change the ticket under the circumstances – they replied – who do you think we are? SOCIAL SERVICES?


18 laurence 03.17.08 at 9:57 pm

I thought this might be an error on the Ryanair site.
My wife and I booked on the same reservation. She holds an EU passport and I hold a Canadian one.
Do you think if we show up at the airport and check in there, we will get charged?
How early should we show up for our flight?

19 poetloverrebelspy 03.18.08 at 11:48 am


If you are checking bags, you most certainly will be charged. If you only need to check one bag, have your wife do so, because . . .

if and when they charge you at the airport, YOU can apply for a refund (as a non-EU citizen checking in, no luggage), but YOUR WIFE (a an EU citizen traveling on the same itinerary with someone who must check in at the counter) cannot.

The only way to have avoided these fees completely is to book separately, your wife checking in online, you booking online check-in then checking in at the airport. (Even then they have the right to charge you the fee at the airport, but you have the right to request a refund.) This doesn’t always work out cheaper, however, if you book a flight with a per-booking transaction fee, currently something around 7 euros.

RyanAir counters close 40 minutes before the flight. I as a rule am always there 1.5 hours before the flight, planning to ride no later that the second-to-last train/bus/whatever that will get me there in time. Your wait in line will depend on the airports you’re flying through and the popularity of your given flight, something I cannot assess from the information given.

20 tim 03.19.08 at 12:36 am

I have a flight booked from Stansted next month. I selected online check-in, but as I am under 18 (17) and travelling without an adult, the conditions state that I am not qualified to do so. I got away with it on easyJet last December, but I suspect Ryanair might enforce this rule more tightly. Do you recommend that I go to airport check-in, or take a chance that they won’t look at my d.o.b. too closely?

21 poetloverrebelspy 03.19.08 at 2:06 pm

tim, I am never going to recommend you break RyanAir’s rules. This post is about how to obey the rules, making sure people don’t make costly mistakes in order to save a few quid.

Use airport check-in like you’re supposed to. Being denied your flight over this (agreeably stupid) fee would be pennywise and pound-foolish.

22 robinmadrid 03.21.08 at 1:43 pm

OK I’m a bit confused by something, you state that online checking is available only for EU passport holders and all others much stand in line. But I’ve NEVER had anyone check my passport at security. My wife who is a frequent traveler has had only occasionally show her passport at security. On my last trip Spain Germany Spain I was even asked to show my passport.

So how do they know if your an EU passport holder if they never check ID.

Regarding luggage I’ve flown with Ryanair a few times and have always checked a bag, biggest mistake was checking two small bags rather than one large one, that cost me 10£. Also I rarely have had my carry on weighted.

23 poetloverrebelspy 03.21.08 at 4:50 pm

If you use online check-in, you still must show your ID of choice (for all non-EU folks, this will be a passport) twice: first, before you enter the security area, a person checks to make sure the name on your ID and the name on your boarding pass match; second, before you board the plane (or enter the boarding area, depending on the airport), the airline again makes sure the name on your boarding pass and your ID match.

This is a RyanAir issue, not a security issue. Security could care less whether you’ve checked in online. The point of the post is that RyanAir is taking a hard line by denying boarding to any non-EU passengers who have used online check-in, claiming that the blank left on the boarding pass when they are unable to choose a country from the pull-down menu results in a falsification of the ticket. This the airline verifies when you go to board the plane (or enter the boarding area).

As for why you and your wife can’t remember these checks, I have 2 theories: 1) because you are EU citizens you don’t travel with a passport and therefore this is a semantics issue or 2) because these checks have become such an integral part of the system, you have failed to register them as such.

24 Rob in Madrid 03.22.08 at 11:20 pm

To be fair I’ve only flown Ryanair a few times then I’ve always checked a bag. Usually I fly Madrid to East Midlands and then it’s to visit family and shop so I always check a bag (bring back loads of English tea). I have had problems because at the time I didn’t have my residency permit for Spain sorted out. (My Wife is EU but I’m Canadian). First time was at UK immigration and second time was at Ryanair checkin.

25 Del in luton 03.28.08 at 12:43 pm

What a great post poet!

Just to harp back to online check in, with regards to the return flight as the lady asked earlier, do you know how it will be possible to check in online if I have no net access whilst away? I have printed off boarding cards for the outward journey, spent almost 3 hours trying to phone ryanair (not much help), my return flight is 7 days after my outward flight so I can’t do it at home, will I have to pay to check in at the airport on the way back, there are 6 of us! Any advice greatly appreciated, thanks.

26 poetloverrebelspy 03.28.08 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for your comment, Del.

As I mentioned to the poster above, the only way to avoid the airport check-in fee is to check in online, from 2 days to 4 hours before your flight. I am certain that any destination you are headed to will have an internet cafe where you can get online for the 15 minutes you’ll need to check in your group’s reservation and print the needed boarding passes. Even a net cafe or hotel business center charging something outrageous like 10 euros/hour will still save you money over the 24 euros you would pay to check in at the airport. If you’re at a loss for finding computer access, a good place to start is the city’s local library. Generally shops catering to foreigners selling cheap international calls will also have computers with internet access available. If you still haven’t found anything, ask the city’s tourist information office to point you in the right direction.

27 Kevin 03.28.08 at 1:13 pm

hi, i am a college student travelling from rome to barcelona this summer. i want to purchase tickets through ryanair, and have found this post helpful but…

on the ryanair website when selecting online check in it says: “Please confirm you will present a valid EEA/EU passport or valid EU/EEA Government issued National Identity Card at the airport? (Driving Licence not accepted)” and gives the option of yes or no. i am wondering if i would select yes to this if i want to book online check in and then just show up at the airport. any help would be appreciated thanks!

28 poetloverrebelspy 03.28.08 at 1:28 pm


This is the only lie you must tell in this process — you must check “yes” in order to avoid being charged up front. If you are uncomfortable doing so, then I recommend you pay for airport check-in and request a refund, as I outline in the post.

If you do choose to book it, as a non-EU passport holder, DON’T USE IT!

29 Del in luton 03.28.08 at 5:21 pm

Thanks poet, looks like i will have to hunt out a net cafe then!! It seems totally absurd of ryanair not to let you print your return boarding pass at the same time as your outward bound one if you travel for more then 5 days, just more hassle, I will have to bribe and drag my kids away from the pool or pay up.
Incidently, I read earlier (on another site) where ryanair changed someone elses flight times by more then 2 hours, we booked last october for this trip, then last month they changed the time by 10 hours so we will effectively loose a day away, and they weren’t the so called 1p flights either, I had to accept the flight changes as we have booked accomodation, they said I could cancel the flights if I was unhappy, but I would only get a refund voucher – They said there is no other flight that day, so totally nothing I could do, even though the villa’s owner is very unhappy about having to let us into the property at 11pm!

I have to say I have never had these issues with Monarch or even the orange one, last year we flew Carcassonne to Stanstead and Ryanair didn’t even have sick bags, I had to use my handbag and a tissue as the pilot would not take the seatbelt sign off due to turbulence!

Monarch have a policy of getting those with kids on first and don’t charge you, they even lay on newspapers and earphones for the in flight tv which my children love and the cost of flights works out very similar to Ryanair.

Anyway thanks again at least I know now what I am instore for!

30 Kevin 03.28.08 at 7:37 pm

hi again…what are the size restrictions for carry-on bags for ryanair? are they about the same as other airlines? would a large backpack like this http://www.rei.com/product/733704?vcat=REI_SSHP_TRAVEL_TOC be acceptable? what kind of bag do you use poet lover? thanks!

31 Bob 03.28.08 at 8:16 pm

hey, i saw in your article about packing light that some airlines allow you to have a purse or laptop bag in addition to your carry-on. do you know ryanair allows you to have the purse/laptop bag in addition to your carry-on?

Bob from West Virginia

32 poetloverrebelspy 03.28.08 at 8:37 pm

Kevin, all RyanAir regulations can be found in their FAQ known as “Travel Questions” at the top left-hand corner of their homepage. You’ll find their carry-on regs here.

A quick conversion of the bag you linked to shows it’s 55×35x22 cm, which is actually too large in the latter dimension. Now, I’ve never had RyanAir physically measure a bag, but they do have those metal carry-on guide thingies and in theory they could deny you boarding over it.

My newest suitcase is from High Sierra, a brand I am happy to recommend. I like wheels for city travel, but enjoy the flexibility of the backpack straps as needed (for running through train stations, for example). I use the expando to zip in my laptop so I have fewer pieces to keep an eye on when getting around town. Purchase High Sierra luggage inexpensively at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Sierra Trading Post.

I usually also tote a laptop in its own bag, a purse and perhaps a tote bag (usually food) as well. You can read about what I have in my many bags in this post.

You may also benefit from the post Bob refers to, “Pack Less, Carry On, Save Money.”

Bob, the short answer is: in theory, NO; in practice, YES. Officially, each passenger is allowed one piece of hand luggage. I regularly carry the aforementioned bags outside of my suitcase. As I mention in the packing post, often it comes down to looking in control of your possessions at all times — when checking in, when boarding, when loading your bags into the overhead. To be safe, you should leave room to pack those items into your suitcase if needed (as in UK airports, for example). I keep a careful eye at check-in and at boarding to see if/how the staff behaves towards other customers and react/repack accordingly.

33 Robert Zmienko 03.28.08 at 10:15 pm

Having spent 3 hours this afternoon trying to contact Ryanair on international & premium rate numbers due to a fault with their website when I tried to change my flight I recomend to everyone stay clear of Ryanair if at all possible. Unfortunately they use their financial muscle to bully out of the market any competition who try and compete on many of their routes so like me you may not have any choice. If you do choose to fly with them due to lower fares then prey you have no problems that involve having to actually speak to a real person because you will be S…t out of luck.

34 Kevin 03.29.08 at 12:03 am

sorry to be bugging you so much, i just want to make sure i dont mess up and get denied boarding. i have two last (i hope) questions:

1) i booked my flight for ryanair to barcelona using online check in and they’ve given me a confirmation number. so as i understand it, i can use this to check up on review my flight, i just cant actually use it to check in for the flight, right?
2) i noticed that the bag you say you use is also too large in the depth dimension, but i’m assuming you are yet to have a problem with this and the concerns are in theory?

thanks so much for your help, this has been a ton of help considering i’m from the states and cannot reach ryanair through their customer support numbers like robert said

35 Kevin 03.29.08 at 12:07 am

and would i reconfirm my flight times online 24-72 hours before the flight or does that count as checking in online?

36 poetloverrebelspy 03.29.08 at 12:39 am

1) Kevin, I have never reconfirmed a flight, so I can’t tell you what happens when you push the online check-in button. RyanAir sends you emails notifying you of any changes to your flight times.

2) That measurement for the bag must be fully extended (which is no longer carry-onable). Zipped shut it comes in at 20 cm. I cannot in good conscience recommend that you travel with anything bigger/heavier than they outline because you could very well be denied your flight if they chose to be strict. You break any rules at your own risk.

Even from the States, you can reach RyanAir at the “world access” number I linked to. Remember that their hours of operation are GMT.

BTW, I just noticed on the Check’n'Go page that online check-in has now been extended to 5 days before the flight. Baby steps, I guess . . .

37 Romina 04.02.08 at 12:45 pm

Hello, thanks poetloverrebelspy, for all the information!!!
I’m going to Porto from London Stansted, with my argentinian passport. After all comments, I’ve decided to check in at the airport.
As my passport isn’t EU neither EEA, would I find any inconveniencies to board?
My hand baggage isnt’t fit the dimensions accepted for Ryanair (its 56 x 30 x 27), but I’ve used it as cabin baggage with British Airways without problem. If they wouldn’t accept it, do you think I’ll be allowed to board paying for it as non-cabin baggage? Or should I change my booking before for ‘carrying one item’? Thanks you!

38 poetloverrebelspy 04.03.08 at 9:46 pm

This might explain why you’ve been waiting for a long time on hold . . .

Romina, you shouldn’t have any problems as a non-EU passenger — RyanAir only discriminates in their online check-in policy; everyone receives the same level of service regardless of nationality.

As for your luggage — trying to carry on too large a bag is a reason for them to deny you boarding. If you consider the costs of rebooking flights/hotels/transfers/whatever, it’s likely in your best interest to cough up the luggage fee. Doing so will make you have to pay the airport check-in fee as well. If you’re flying round-trip, it may make sense (and come out cheaper) to invest that money in a smaller suitcase rather than to pay RyanAir to carry it for you. Just a thought.

39 maggie 04.03.08 at 10:55 pm

Travelling from shannon to london on thursday and returning on sunday. Can I check in both outward and return journey online? Website mention 2 day limie and also 5 days.
can any one confirm definately?

40 poetloverrebelspy 04.04.08 at 12:22 am

Maggie, as long as you have an EU passport, you can check in online for both of your flights. As I noted above, they recently extended the check-in to 5 days prior to your flight.

You should receive emails from RyanAir at the address you have registered with them notifying you that online check-in is available. And if the website lets you do it, then by all means — check in away!

41 Marianne 04.09.08 at 7:52 am

I am a Canadian citizen that booked a flight, from Paris to Dublin, as part of my European vacation this June. I booked online, got distracted and didn’t print, or write down, my booking code. I assumed Ryan Air would send an email confirmation, but have discovered they don’t. I can not reach anyone by email and all the numbers I have are not in service. Please lead me in the right direction to get my booking confirmation.
Thank you in advance for your help.

42 Jenny 04.09.08 at 9:06 am

Ive just gone to complete online check in and two of my daughters are listed as ‘mr’
Does anyone know if RYanair will consider changing ‘Mr’ to ‘Miss’ as a name change and charge us a large fee? Im really worried about it!

43 Jo 04.11.08 at 12:30 pm

Hi, just got a couple of questions – do you think its possible to apply for the refund before you take your flight – or does it have to be after you’ve flown? Also, has anyone actually received the refund? Thanks!

44 poetloverrebelspy 04.12.08 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for your comments.

Marianne, RyanAir does send an email confirmation. If you have not received it, I would consider that a sign that your booking did not go through. Have you been calling them at the “rest of the world” number (+353 1 249 7791)? They staff that line from 0900-1800 GMT, M-F only.

Jenny, I asked RyanAir staff at Stansted on Thursday about changing Mr to Miss — they didn’t think it would count as a name change. But don’t take their word for it! I would get an answer from their support line, using the number above.

Jo, you can’t apply for the refund before your flight. What if you didn’t show up or had to use airport check-in because you checked a bag? They won’t have all the details till you’ve flown.

45 Dennis 04.13.08 at 6:41 am

How do update your contact address online?
I accidentally put Uruguay instead of USA
and didn’t catch it until after the booking was completed
I can’t find anywhere on their website to update contact information.


46 Bruce 04.13.08 at 11:29 am

“Ive just gone to complete online check in and two of my daughters are listed as ‘mr’”

I had this problem too. Went to checkin online and step-daughter was listed as Mr. Solution is to ring up cust servs (On a Sunday, this is a premium rate £1 a minute number), they will change it for you.
I think this is done purposely, as the female I spoke to told me that it had been changed before I asked her to change it.

47 poetloverrebelspy 04.13.08 at 2:50 pm

Dennis, you can’t update that information online. If there are any changes to the schedule or other updates you should know about, they will contact you via email.

Since they never use it, I’m not even sure why they collect your physical address (except perhaps for credit card verification). If you are honestly concerned, call the phone number listed above to make the change.

48 Lu 04.14.08 at 4:26 am

I am an Australian citizen, so from reading the above I tick that I am an EU resident, and check online with 0 bags. then when i get to the day of the flight instead I go to the counter and check in. Cool, this has previously been confusing me for days. My question is I have a UK Debit Maestro card, it doesn’t seem to work for checking in? Even though there is a Maestro picture beside the payment type? Do you know why I can’t book with this card? I choose Visa Delta as the type and that was wrong.

49 poetloverrebelspy 04.14.08 at 9:50 am

You’ve got it, Lu. They may still try to charge you at the airport, however; if they do, follow the refund request info above.

From the RyanAir website: “Ryanair accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards and the following debit cards Switch, Visa Connect, Visa Debit Electron & Visa Delta for payment of your flights.
“Within Germany ONLY, we accept EURO ELV Direct Debit payments.”

It looks like Maestro (Mastercard debit) is not a supported form of payment. Anyone else booked with a UK Maestro?

50 Jenny 04.17.08 at 9:53 pm

We booked with a UK maestro, although as with everything Ryanair there was a fee!

The name thing was fine eventually. The full name as printed on the email reciept was on each boarding card we printed and no mention of miss, Mr etc

Our experience with Ryanair was excellent, we didnt have bags weighed nor measured( although they were within weight and measurement) and on the way out we’d noticed most people had a small bag with them in addition to hand baggage so coming back we did the same ( containing snacks and a book etc) and nobody questioned it.

Our flight was 30 mins aherad of schedule landing on the outbound flight ( to Gerona from Bristol) and 15 mins ahead on the return!
Id have no hestiation using them again, Id just caution people to know what it is exactly you are booking and paying for and why. If you wont use lots of baggage or could launder your stuff when away pack light and dont pay!! we met so many peeved people who had paid loads for baggage and they were the ones queing and queing!

51 dheeru 04.17.08 at 11:42 pm

Could I do airport check in in Ryanair once I have chosen online check in but not actually check in thro web?

I have booked a ticket from Paris to Milan. I chose online check in/web check in as I dont have any checkin baggage. But I am unable to check in online as my passport is not of any European nation( i am indian). i have a schengen visa. Please tell me if i could do airport check in now? Ryan air site mentions that for online check in, latest u should do it within 4 hours of departure.

52 poetloverrebelspy 04.18.08 at 9:53 pm

Jenny, thanks so much for updating us. I’m in Girona as we speak! Hope you had a great vacation and glad to hear of satisfied RyanAir customers :)

Dheeru, you should only ever check in at the airport, no matter what you have selected online. They may or may not make you try to pay the fee there; you can follow the instructions above to get a refund if they do.

53 naderiano 04.19.08 at 10:50 am

hi there! thanks for the great site! I’m actually leaving from Gothenburg city airport till Girona (where you are poet!!) I had learned a lot from this page.

One question I have here… Interesting… I am a non european citizen, having a resident permit to sweden so I hold a valid EU Identity card from Sweden…. but my nationality is not swedish, so I can put the card number for the online check in but I can’t choose the nationality, and it needs it to continue… should I choose swedish nationality and put my card number or simply go there?!! I don’t wanna be charged for nothing..

P.S. previous trips I was charged 3 euros in frankfurt hahn for not checking in online… but not in gothenburg city airport…

54 naderiano 04.19.08 at 4:40 pm

ok, i’m leaving :-s i didn’t online check-in I will return with what happed :D

55 poetloverrebelspy 04.20.08 at 12:00 pm

Hi naderiano. I am currently on the road, so I cannot check email readily. You did the right thing by not checking in online. If you put Swedish in where you are not Swedish, that is considered fraudulent and you could be denied boarding. If this is still unclear to anyone at this point, NON-EU NATIONALS MUST ALWAYS CHECK IN AT THE AIRPORT.

As long as you were traveling with only carry-on baggage, you are entitled to a refund of any monies they have collected for airport check-in. Refer to the section above on where/what to send to RyanAir.

Another (personal) update: in Girona yesterday, they not only weighed my carry-on bag at the check-in counter, they also tried to get me to pay the 4€ fee . . . I told her I had called the airline’s hotline and they told me I would be fine, as they have to refund the money anyway — so she let it go. Since you know the rules and procedures, feel free to press the point before giving your money away; it might just get you off scot-free!

56 naderiano 04.22.08 at 10:26 pm

hi poet!!!!! thanks for the reply, i just back from girona to goteborg, this was the result:

in gothenburg they asked me to pay 40SEK, i said i am not eu, then she said, ok so you have to pay then we will pay it back to you!!!, i said ok. I went to the information to pay the money but she called the girl in the information and said that i dont have to pay, cause thats only for EU members to pay.

in girona they didn’t mention anything… (clever people :D )

well that was it, hope i helped with my experience….

57 A.S. 04.24.08 at 4:00 pm

I know the dimensions for a hand lugguage is 55×35x22cms.

Can you help me, wht is the height, length and the depth here?

Also in reality are there any trolley bags that fit in these dimensions.

Many Thanks,

58 Rob in Madrid 04.27.08 at 8:21 pm

As a general rule of thumb if your not an EU passport holder than simply do an airport checkin. Voila problem solved.

I’m also a non EU and have a NIE (Spanish residency card) and am flying to the UK from Madrid in two weeks. I’m at the airport tomorrow so I will ask if my NIE is acceptable form of ID. I’m thinking it is.

Regarding carry on I have a simple trick that I’ve used for years. When checking in simply give someone your extra stuff, books DVDs what ever till you’ve checked in. Once you’ve got your boarding pass stuff it all in. Outside of the UK security doesn’t really care how many bags you have or what they weight. I’ve seen people bring though bags so big I wonder how they will ever fit them in the overhead compartment.

Secondly once your at the gate ask if you can check your bag.

59 Rob in Madrid 04.28.08 at 4:34 pm

I stopped in at the Airport today to enquire if my Spanish Residency card (I’m Canadian) is not an acceptable ID.

I think it’s unlikely, this being Spain that anyone will check my ID upon presenting my boarding pass, but rather than take a chance I simply booked another flight and paid the 16 euro fee, which I will apply to have refunded. I debated also simly changing it at the airport but it’s a 6.30am flight and it will mean two trips in line, first to check in and again to collect and alot of hassle.

Still the total cost of the (two) flight will be less than the cost of parking for the weekend.

Can’t complain too much other than the early start!

60 poetloverrebelspy 04.28.08 at 5:12 pm

A.S., I’m not sure where the “here” is you’re referring to. You will have to check the current RyanAir dimensions at the site linked to in comment #35. In that comment and the ones following it, there is a discussion of brands of hand luggage that meet these requirements.

Rob, I’m not exactly sure why you bought a brand-new ticket, nor what 16-euro fee you’re referring to. If you had booked online check-in but not yet checked in online, you could simply have gone to the airport and checked in. Your earlier comment shows you are familiar with this?!

Also, what did they say about your residency card? Does your NIE have a photo and meet the requirements RyanAir lays out on this page?

Finally, as I replied to your earlier comment (#26), the ID issue is not a security one — it is a RyanAir one. It doesn’t matter which country you’re in, it matters which airline you’re flying. RyanAir agents will check your ID against your ticket at the gate, and it is at this point that they have denied non-EU passengers boarding based on the type of ID shown.

61 Irishtaxidriver 04.30.08 at 12:19 pm

Ryanair keep moving the goal posts, friends of mine are travelling with their four kids aged between six and ten, they booked web checkin no bags, I was under the impression that children couldn’t use this option, but it would seem that they now can. Can anyone confirm this? I’ve tried phoning them, but it would be easier to speak to Gerge Bush or Gordan Brown, plus ryanair have no email address.

62 jz 04.30.08 at 1:23 pm

Words cannot express my appreciation poet!

I have a Hong Kong passport and have never traveled with Ryanair, and I have been planning to book tickets of Ryanair from Bremen to Budapest for weeks but that “only passengers with EU/EEA passports can check-in online” thing was confusing the hell outta me so I dare not book anything yet.

After carefully reading the post and all the comments above, I think I’m almost ready. So here’s what I think I’m gonna do in order to try to avoid the check-in fee:

1) Select [0 Bags & Online Check-in]
2) Tick [Yes] in [Please confirm you will present a valid EEA/EU passport]
3) Fill out all the details and finish the booking
4) Completely ignore the booking code they send me
5) On the day of departure, show up at the counter and ask for check-in
6) Fingers crossed

I hope this is the “right” (so much irony) procedure. Although I do have a few more Qs:

a) Do I simply go to the counter and say “I would like to check-in for the flight” (and then present them my passport/identification)? Or do I have to show them anything to prove that I am eligible to check-in at the counter?

b) I’m thinking, that in case they ask me to pay to check-in, I can argue that they’re gonna refund me the money so what’s the point of charging it now in hopes that the staff at the counter will surrender :-p Have you ever tried this? Do you think it might work?

So much questions! Sorry!

63 poetloverrebelspy 04.30.08 at 2:07 pm

Thanks for your comments.

Irishtaxidriver, I am glad I am not the one flying with four young children! There is no reason that, accompanied by a parent, they cannot check-in online. Only related exceptions currently are for groups of 9 or more, passengers with infants and teenaged minors flying alone. Read more in the FAQ here.

jz, your rundown is correct, except that you should in fact note the booking code given, as sometimes they will request this with your passport when you check in at the airport counter. You will also need this code if you change anything about your reservation (like adding a suitcase).

You will check in at the counter just as you do for any other flight. There is no special procedure or “proof” necessary. It is possible to argue about the fee at the counter — please refer to comment #59.

64 Irishtaxidriver 04.30.08 at 2:32 pm

Thanks poetloverrebelspy I’m glad I’m not going with them! They ‘re only going from BHD TO LPL for a few hours, it’s more for the flights than anything else, I’ve warned them to allow plenty of tme on the way back, as getting the next plane will be very expensive!

65 TKder 05.02.08 at 4:56 pm


My friends and I are planning to get from Bremen to Oslo on Ryanair and we are quite bothered about the “only passengers with EU/EEA passports can check-in online” thing.

You see, we are all holding Singapore and Indonesia Passports, but as we will be in Norway for 5mths, we do have a Norwegian Residence Pass. Is this residence pass a valid national identity card that Ryanair requires?

66 poetloverrebelspy 05.02.08 at 5:31 pm

Thanks for your comment, TKder.

SS, the reader whose experience resulted in this post, had an UK residence permit. I hold one for Germany. These are NOT the same as an identity card. Within the EU, national ID cards replace passports for travel. If your permit is like mine, it does not stand on its own, but is instead included in your (foreign) passport.

The best way to “get around” paying the fee outright is described above; if they still make you pay, you have a clear description of how and where to request your money back there as well.

67 travelingfiend 05.05.08 at 8:39 am

After booking a flight on Ryan Air, the confirmation has a section called API:


Compulsory Advance Passenger Information (API)

Ryanair are required to collect the passport or EEA issued National Identity Card details of all passengers departing from the UK, IRELAND, MOROCCO AND SWITZERLAND to Spain or the Canary Islands/Balearic Islands. FAILURE TO PROVIDE THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT THE DEPARTURE AIRPORT WILL RESULT IN YOU BEING DENIED BOARDING WITHOUT REFUND.

If I fill in this information (which appears I will have to), will they automatically charge me for Airport Check-In (I selected online) if I’m not an EU resident.

68 poetloverrebelspy 05.05.08 at 9:48 am

Thanks for your question, travelingfiend.

They will not, for two reasons: 1) they request the information after you have already completed your booking and 2) that information is kept separately from your reservation details, as it is security information demanded by the Spanish authorities and not the airline.

I can say anecdotally that on my trip to Spain last month, I faced no problems because of this extra data requirement after booking online check-in with a non-EU passport. Others are welcome to chime in with their experiences.

Enjoy your trip to Spain!

69 Jenny 05.06.08 at 5:08 pm

Irishtaxidriver… we travelled with three kids, we used web check in no porblems.
It says unacompanied teens cannot use web check in. unacompnaied children are not allowed at all.
Kids travelling with parents can check in online no problem.

70 Dennis 05.06.08 at 8:25 pm

Ryanair has another sneaky trick up its sleaves to rip you off.
I recentlly purchased a ticket in Euros with my American credit Card. They did a dynamic currency conversion into dollars without my authorization. I have a Capitalone credit card that has no foreign currency transaction fees. Ryanair ripped me off to the tune off $20 with their 5% conversion fee.

71 ednaxe 05.07.08 at 3:52 am

When booking tickets for a Ryanair flight (STN-DUB), if I select the “0 bags and online check-in” option (with the intent of later checking in at the airport, as my passport is US), another question appears, which says “Please confirm you will present a valid EEA/EU passport or valid EU/EEA Government issued National Identity Card at the airport? (Driving Licence not accepted)”. While I would like to avoid the charge and not have to go through the bother of trying to get a refund by post, providing a false answer to the above question seems like asking for trouble. Those of you who have successfully used the “book online check-in and then check-in at the airport” option, how did you answer the above question?

Incidentally, has anybody actually gotten a refund by post? How long does it take? Do they send you a cheque?

72 poetloverrebelspy 05.07.08 at 10:01 am

ednaxe, as I told Kevin above (comments #30/31), if you feel uncomfortable lying, then you are better off paying for the check-in up-front and requesting a refund as outlined in the post.

Further, the post also explains exactly how the money is refunded — it is credited back to the card you used to book the ticket.

73 saya 05.11.08 at 1:33 pm

Hi Poetloverrebelspy,

I am a Non-Eu, accidently bought 6 adults and 1 child ticket online from Cork-London Std, with online check-in (FOC). As I am a student in Ireland, I didn’t intend to lie, it is just that I didn’t aware about not having aa valid EEA/EU passport. I will be travelling with my family (they will be here for a vacation).

What should I do? My flight will be at 8.10 in the morning. Should I go there as early as 6am and pay for airport check in and inform them that I made a mistake of check-in online while booking?

Please advice. I appreciate it so much.

74 saya 05.11.08 at 1:34 pm

Oh I forgot. I bought a returning ticket from Liverpool to Cork. Will there be hassles as well for not check-in online?

75 poetloverrebelspy 05.11.08 at 11:20 pm

Saya, I refer you to this section of the original post:

“Go for web check-in when you purchase your tickets BUT DO NOT USE IT TO CHECK IN FOR YOUR FLIGHT. Arrive with a bit of extra time and check in at the counter. Make them extract the money from you there, if they must. . . . This option is legitimate, will not cost you more (than perhaps a bit of hassle at the airport, but it’s the principle) and may in fact save you the fee altogether.”

If this is still not clear, please read comments #8 and #14.

76 Purchase 05.13.08 at 1:59 am

Does anyone recommend getting the travelers insurance? What does it entail? It would be so much cheaper not to get it. Is it really necessary?

77 adeline 05.13.08 at 12:25 pm

i’ve paid the £8 airport check-in fee (yess it’s not £4 for each journey!!! outrageous) and now applying for my refunds.

does anybody know how long it will take to actually get this refund? will i ever get it at all? thanks.

78 poetloverrebelspy 05.13.08 at 12:58 pm

Purchase, you can read all about the coverage of the RyanAir travel insurance for UK/IE residents here.

More importantly, ANYONE WHO PURCHASED UK/IE TRAVEL INSURANCE BUT DIDN’T INTEND TO CAN GET THEIR MONEY REFUNDED within 14 days of purchase (prior to the commencement of travel). The reimbursement details are for all intents and purposes the same as above, but you can read for yourself here. Residents of other countries purchasing insurance through the foreign-language RyanAir pages (i.e. DE, FR, ES) are NOT eligible for this refund.

Adeline, this appears to be how they refund everything, so be sure to check the statement of the card you used to book and let us know how long until your refund appears.

79 Jessica 05.13.08 at 3:25 pm

Hi what if we already check in on- line and printed out boarding passes? when we get to the airport should we just check in again or do we need to call and inform them of our mistake????

80 poetloverrebelspy 05.13.08 at 3:43 pm

Jessica, the RyanAir website gives no clear answer. On the one hand, you can make no further changes to your booking, but on the other hand, if your luggage is overweight, they can make you check in again and charge you the check-in fee.

Show up at the airport with plenty of time to check in and proceed to the check-in desks. The ticket agent will see you’ve already checked in; simply explain the situation and they should print you another boarding pass. I would guess that they may very well make you pay for check-in in this situation — and if they let you on the flight, I wouldn’t request a refund!

81 sharonb 05.14.08 at 11:50 pm

Has anyone say with a us passport who has purchased a ticket and opted for online check in to avoid the fee subsequentlky rung ryan air before they travelled to change their status to airport check in

if so – what happened

and who did they speak to?

am i right in thinking most people just turn up and say made a mistake!!

82 Symon 05.14.08 at 11:55 pm

Hi poetloverrebelspy,

It seems that I made two errors and your opinion would be of great help.

1. I opted for online check-in but I am not EU/EEE national

2. I mixed up my family and first name

My flight is on May 27

83 poetloverrebelspy 05.15.08 at 1:42 am

sharonb, after that first call, I have simply checked in at the airport without problem. I mention the only exception in comment #59. Another reader adds his experience in #60.

Symon, if you read the post and the comments, you will see that it is possible to check in at the airport, even if you have booked online check-in. As for your name error, I am not sure whether RyanAir will count the correction as a name change (£80 fee). You will have to call the airline directly to answer that question. If they want you to pay, I’d look into booking another ticket — it’s probably cheaper!

84 Paola 05.15.08 at 12:25 pm

I think you did a really good job, thank you very much for all this information! My boyfriend (Moroccan with a Belgian residence card – or whatever it’s called) and I (Italian living in Belgium) have booked a flight to Rome with this stupid online check-in. I think I’m going to do as you explained, by I just wondered why you said that you NEVER have to actually check in online. What would happen if you did and decided to check in normally afterwards? Wouldn’t it work? You see, I’m just afraid they’ll tell us that our booking isn’t valid if we didn’t confirm it – even if we tell them that online check-in wasn’t available for one of us…
I hope I was clear enough!
Thanks again!

85 poetloverrebelspy 05.15.08 at 1:32 pm

Hi Paola. In the original post, you’ll see that RyanAir is denying boarding to non-EU passport-holding passengers who have checked in online, claiming they have falsified their tickets. That is why a non-EU passport holder should NEVER use the online check-in.

Please read comment #14 for an explanation of why anyone can book online check-in but still use airport check-in. As long as you complete your check-in at the airport before the counter closes (40 minutes prior to your flight), you will not have any problems.

They will likely make you pay for airport check-in. As long as you are not checking luggage, your boyfriend will be eligible for a refund; you will not. The original post describes the process for claiming the refund.

86 hagen 05.16.08 at 11:36 am

Thanks for all the information! It was especially useful since not only Ryanair’s policy is brainless, but the translation on their German website is actually wrong!

In German it clearly says (wrong translation translated back) that anyone checking in online has to present “a valid passport or a National Identity card issued by the government of an EU/EEA country…”. The grammar is unambiguous on that you could present either

a) a valid passport or
b) an identity card issued by a EU country

not requiring the valid passport to have been issued by a EU country. Only after checking their English website I understood what they wanted to say. I guess you could sue them over it or something, but most people probably have better things to do in their freetime.

87 alex 05.19.08 at 12:19 am

Hello i am flying with ryan air from madrid to rome
i have an american passport and checked the have eeu or eu card because it didnt allow me to proceed and i also checked online check in with no check baggage. I am now worried that i will not be allowed to get on board because i do not have a eee or eu identity card. Can u please offer me suggestions

88 poetloverrebelspy 05.19.08 at 12:24 am

Alex, please read the post and the comments carefully. As long as you do not actually check in online, you will be fine.

89 Stefy73 05.21.08 at 3:53 pm

Hallo to everybody
I have chosen a Chek-in on-line for a flight from Milan to Barcelona (in a 2 days! we will leave on 23rd May!)
We are 8 friends, (one reservation for all!!!!!) and I have two questions about children and teens:
1. On eboy is 17 years old . He has got an Italian ID card with a number. He travels with us without parents: does he need some specific document to provide our responsibility or no problem with him?
2. One of us is a child, 11 years old, traveling with his father. She has a birth certificate (without a number only a validation stamp provided by the chief constable): her parents are under separation and she travels with the father: somebody told me to insert her father’s ID number…is that correct?
Remember: if only one of us fail check’n GO… we will have to pay a lot at the airport! Please..help us with doubts and tell me what is the correct way to follow….

90 Aisyah 05.23.08 at 1:21 pm

Dear Poetloverrebelspy,

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful post and your great blog. I am a Malaysian and of course, does not qualify for the online check in. But I did like what you suggested, and they let me board Ryanair without having to pay the check in fees. We just had a fantastic trip to Vaxjo from Dusseldorf (Weeze) for our family group of 7. So yeah, we saved quite a tidy sum by not paying for checked luggage and following your exact advice on the check in issue. I am going again on Ryanair tomorrow to London and hopefully we will be (again) allowed to check in at the airport, minus the check in fees.

Thanks heaps!

91 poetloverrebelspy 05.23.08 at 4:22 pm

Stefy, RyanAir’s policy on unaccompanied minors only makes clarifications for Spanish, French, Portuguese and Latvian teens between 16-18. It appears that a signed and notarized statement from the parents would not hurt.

RyanAir’s policy on photo ID for children makes an exception for Italians. It states, “Italian children up to the age of 15 years who are in possession of a valid Certificato Di Nascita which has been endorsed as “VALIDO PER L’ESPATRIO” valid for travel and signed by “IL QUESTORE” subject to acceptance for entry to your destination.” It does not clarify what “number” one should then enter when checking in online, however.

Good luck, and let us know what you learned from experience.

Aisyah, thank you for letting us know about your trip. Always glad to save fellow travelers money with no-budget travel advice! Have a safe trip to London!

92 adriana 05.25.08 at 9:27 pm

We are a family of 4, of Colombian nationality, living in Spain with a NIE (Identification number for foreigners). We checked in online and printed our passboards but we were denied boarding the plane because the NIE was not a valid document. We rushed to the counter but the lady said it had already closed.. Unfortunately I hadn’t read this website before…. We also had printed the boarding passes for our return journey…Is there a chance to get some of our money back??

93 poetloverrebelspy 05.25.08 at 9:47 pm

Adriana, I’m sorry to hear about your family’s ruined vacation.

What is perhaps still possible is the use of your return flights, assuming you were somehow able to make it to your destination. See the discussion of this in comments #84 and #86.

I am guessing, however, that you have simply canceled your trip after being denied boarding. Having already checked in for the return flights, you can make no further changes to your itinerary — i.e. changing travel dates or passenger names for a fee. This information is clearly spelled out on their website. You are not entitled to any refund.

Please share with everyone what airport you were traveling from, as there was speculation above about NIE cards as valid ID in Spain.

94 Marina 05.25.08 at 10:00 pm

Hey people thanxxxxxx for all advice. I am a NON-eu national but I have an EU residence card as a foreign student in EU. Does this count or i should rather not check in online ?

95 poetloverrebelspy 05.26.08 at 7:57 am

Marina, unless your “residence card” has a photo and meets the requirements RyanAir lays out on this page, you should not check in online.

96 adriana 05.27.08 at 12:01 am

We were denied boarding at the airport of Valencia, Spain because we checked in online. I think they should be really clear and say ONLY EUROPEANS Citizens from the following countries….. are able to check in online. I did read were the terms&conditions say no residence cards are valid but the thing is I have always considered my NIE as an ID card, or as they ask in their website a valid national ID card issued by Spain, and nowhere in the card says Residence Card. But in the counter at the airport there are signs all over saying that NIEs are not accepted but we went directly to the boarding gate.

97 Nima 05.27.08 at 5:28 pm

Hi Poet,
May be it is late for you to answer, but may be I still have time. I’m an Indian student in Germany and have Student Visa. I already booked a flight from Düsseldorf to Rome, from Rome to Venice and from Venice to Düsseldorf. I booked my ticked as Online-check in. But now I found that it is impossible for me!!
I tried to call Ryanair but callwaiting is so long, and till now I think I spent more than 15 Euros and now answer!!

What do you suggest, How can I change the type of my booking from online to airport?

Do you think I may face a problem at airport if I go there and pay them the extra fees there?

98 poetloverrebelspy 05.27.08 at 6:01 pm

Nima, please read the post and the comments carefully. It is possible for you to simply show up at the airport and check in there. If they try to charge you for airport check-in, the post describes how you can claim a refund.

99 Nima 05.27.08 at 6:26 pm

Thank you very much, for your response,
I will go to airport and will check in there, the check in price is not so important for me, I afraid they cancel my flight ( as you mentioned in your post) or ask for large penalty!!

I have sent them a fax to the
Customer Services Dept
Ryanair Head Office
Dublin Airport
Co Dublin – Fax +353 1 8121230

and asked them to change the type of my flights to check in at air port. I hope I have no problem at the airport.

100 Aisyah 05.28.08 at 9:58 pm

Dear Poetloverrebelspy,

Hi. Just returned from my London trip. Again, Ryanair did not even try to charge me for checking in at the airport. As I did previously for my Vaxjo trip from Dusseldorf, I ticked online check in on the website, but then did not check in online, and then checking in at the counter. No check in fees. Yippee.

What I wanted to share with you was that this time, I wasn’t with my family. The trip to London was for me and a friend, who was German and certainly someone from EU. As her booking was made together with mine, she too didn’t have to pay the check in fees, though she had to come together with me to the counter. The Ryanair staff in Dusseldorf Weeze simply checked us in together and never even asked for payment.

So.. Malaysians and other non EU can also travel without check in fees, even when paired together with those from EU!

thanks again

101 Alex 05.29.08 at 11:50 pm

Hi everybody,

A few of us have booked to go to Dublin next week with Ryanair. We selected online check in, but have just found out that some of us are not eligible for it due to being under 18. This makes everyone on the booking ineligible.

So, my question is, what is the best course of action to take?

I am hoping to just check in online anyway and if it doesn’t ask for DOB then there won’t be a problem. Will they check DOB at the gate?

Failing that, we will turn up at the airport and see if they check us in without noticing (but there are quite a few of us, so they may notice).

Any advice would be appreciated.

102 poetloverrebelspy 05.30.08 at 7:35 am

Alex, please read comments #22/23.

It’s pretty foolish to risk your entire trip over the 3 quid each for check-in. Consider it solidarity with your underage friends. Then remember to book separately next time!

Enjoy your trip to Dublin!

103 Alex 05.30.08 at 9:48 am

Ok, thanks poetloverrebelspy.

Do we pay at the airport, or do we have to call them in advance to pay?


104 poetloverrebelspy 05.30.08 at 10:04 am

Alex, you can pay at the airport. Save yourselves time and pay the fee at the ticket counter first before heading to the check-in counter. If it’s a large group, show up earlier than usual to allow for long lines.

105 cloudlake 05.30.08 at 7:01 pm

The Ryanair website says (as quoted at the start): “Where a passenger is unable to avail of Online Check-in by reason only of not being the holder of either a valid passport of a National Identity Card, issued by the government of an EU/EEA country, any airport check-in fee paid will be refunded on application.”

My mother and I (both British) are going to Ireland and she doesn’t have a passport (she hasn’t had one for about twenty years). So if she pays the airport check-in fee she can get a refund according to their wording quoted above – but how do we prove she doesn’t have a passport?

Also, my passport needs renewing and it is most convenient for me to post off my old passport to get it renewed whilst we’re in Ireland (the joys of going to the only country where I don’t need it!). So I can then travel with my UK photo driving licence and again pay the airport check-in fee, but can I then get a refund?

For my mother I think she should unquestionably get a refund – for me I’m not sure. Am I still technically a passport “holder”? I don’t know.

But what is to stop me or millions of other UK or Ireland citizens on domestic or UK-ROI flights claiming to “not have a passport” and then getting a refund of our airport check-in fee? Millions of us never carry our passports when we’re in Britain… why would we if we have a photo driving licence which fits in a wallet? If I fly to Edinburgh for the weekend I don’t want to carry my passport? Have Ryanair figured this out and have some way of checking? Has anyone tried?

106 poetloverrebelspy 05.30.08 at 9:30 pm

Greetings cloudlake.

I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the sense of the above passage about passports. Here I think a little more information will help. Both of you can avail of online check-in; there is a special regulation for UK-IE travel, to wit:

“A valid driving licence with photo is acceptable photo ID for travel on domestic flights within the UK and domestic flights within the Republic of Ireland. . . .
“For British and Irish citizens who are travelling on flights to/from the United Kingdom to/from the Republic of Ireland (Common Travel Area), a valid driving licence with photo is acceptable photo ID. Passengers who are citizens of other countries travelling on these routes must present a valid passport (with visa if applicable) or a National Identity Card issued by the government of a European Economic Area (EEA) country.”

As long as both of you have driver’s licenses, you’ll be fine. You can use the online check-in, entering your license numbers in that field. No need to even apply for a refund. If your mother has no form of photo ID, that is another dilemma altogether.

Enjoy your trip!

107 cloudlake 05.31.08 at 2:10 pm

Thanks for your reply, but I fear you are putting too much faith in Ryanair using common sense! As you point out a driving licence is valid photo ID for UK/ROI flights. However, under their FAQs “Who can Check-In online?” it says:

“To qualify for Online Check-in each passenger must present either a valid passport or National Identity Card (Drivinglicences not accepted)”

There’s nothing about UK/ROI routes being an exception. So I put it to the test. I’ve just gone online and selected a flight from East Midlands to Inverness. After I’ve selected the flight I type in the passenger name and select “0 bags + online check-in” and then it comes up with the following and I have to say “yes” or “no”:

“Please confirm you will present a valid EEA/EU passport or valid EU/EEA Government issued National Identity Card at the airport? (Driving Licence not accepted)”

So here also it is very explicit – “Driving Licence not accepted”. So although common sense would dictate we can… Ryanair says we can’t. That’s the theme I’ve read all the way through these posts!!! Any ideas then on how they check if you have a passport when we apply for a refund? I just get the feeling millions of us could be doing this!

108 Kyle 05.31.08 at 6:34 pm

Excellent Post! Greatly appreciated.


109 poetloverrebelspy 05.31.08 at 11:43 pm

cloudlake, that “Please confirm” step is identical, no matter where you’re flying (that is to say, the website isn’t paying attention to the fact that you’re flying within the common travel area, nor does it ask you what citizenship you hold). Lying at that stage is the only way any of us non-EU citizens can prevent paying the airport check-in fee up-front. It is always possible to change from online to airport check-in. If you are not comfortable checking yes, then by all means pay for airport check-in and request a refund. The post describes how you can do so.

The reason they write so clearly “no driver’s licenses” is because they aren’t accepted anywhere BUT IE and UK; our law tradition is based on the right of someone *not* to identify themselves, so there is no national identity card they can rightfully expect you to carry in these two countries. However, all other European countries have ID requirements, so they require those citizens to present their ID cards — even on the domestic UK/IE or inter-UK-IE flight routes where driver’s licenses are accepted for UK and IE citizens.

On the page describing who is ineligible for online check-in, it defers (“See documentation” ) to the page I referred you to above to clarify what is and is not an acceptable form of photo ID. While I can see why you and others in your situation might be confused, it would confuse far more people if they wrote “driver’s licenses not accepted, except for domestic UK and IE flights and flights between the two countries, but then only for UK and IE citizens” than to just write “driver’s licenses not accepted,” even if that’s not true in your case.

If you choose not to check in online and request a refund, I wouldn’t argue it was because you don’t have passports and try to prove somehow that you don’t have passports; the point RyanAir is trying to make is that the passports people do have are not issued by EU/EEA countries (that is, for us Americans, Indians, Nigerians and Australians trying to fly). I would argue instead that it stated clearly in multiple places that driver’s licenses were not accepted for online check-in, even though they are clearly acceptable for IE-UK flights, so you were trying to follow the rules as you understood them.

I hope this helps clarify my earlier answer. Please let us know how it goes, whatever you decide!

110 Mang 06.02.08 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for sharing with us this information. I have an American passport and Spanish NIE. b/c I read this thread in time, I decided to check-in at the airport after choosing “online check-in” when I bought the ticket. I was flying from Girona (Barcelona) to Bergamo (Milan), then back from Pisa to Girona. I was charged 4 euros at Girona and 6 euros at Pisa (2 euros extra for checking-in at the airport; when asked why, the guy working at the counter smilingly replied: you are in Italy~)

So I did exactly as you described and faxed everything to Ryanair at Dublin. A few days later I received two emails claiming that I would receive a refund of 4 euros for each confirmation #. However, until today I only received 4 euros refund in my credit card. I tried to reply to the emails back obviously no one responded. I tried to call but it either drops or get redirected to a machine answer.

btw, has anyone successfully contacted RyanAir by phone? if so, what are the right combination of button pressing that would get you to a human being? Consider the cheapest rate is 23c per minute it’s quite annoying to be waiting for so long for an automated response followed by a no-answer.

Of course I will never book RyanAir again, but the problem is I had booked another flight before knowing all this so now I want to contact RyanAir to change to airport check-in but can’t figure out how… Thanks again for your help!

111 poetloverrebelspy 06.03.08 at 1:05 am

Mang, do you have any doubt the Italian simply pocketed the 2 extra euros? :)

It is possible to change to airport check-in online using your confirmation code and either the credit card number or email address used for booking. Go to this page, select the menu “Add Sports Equipment/Baggage.” Without selecting anything from the lists, you will automatically be charged for airport check-in. In my test, it shows the price as 11.90 euros rather than 10 euros (5 euros each way, the fee now listed on the website) for a round-trip flight.

As for your inability to contact them, I would skip the phone altogether and fax your complete request (including a copy of their email reply) to them again, noting which confirmation code was refunded and which was not. I did call them to verify the information in this post (as noted) and was on hold for approximately 10 minutes before I received an operator. That was, however, before they eliminated 40 telesales positions, so I would imagine it has become even more difficult to reach a real person!

Mang, if I may be so bold, are you Asian-American? Anecdotally, I believe Asians are more likely to be made to pay the fees at the airport — can anyone else substantiate this supposition from experience?

112 Mang 06.03.08 at 5:17 pm

I even took a photo of the Ryanair surcharges at the Pisa airport just in case they won’t recognize it… oh well.

So I looked more into the issue and apparently Ryanair did return 4 euros for each of my two bookings; however, they returned one of them to a credit card with name GROAPTCC instead of my credit card. My only guess would be that this was the credit card used by the Girona Airport officials (GRO) to pay Ryanair headquarter after collecting all the money during the day… I will fax them again to see what happens.

I will decided to include in the fax the request to change my web check-in to airport check-in without additional charge. I’ll update if they do anything.

Finally, yes, I am Asian American, but I don’t think that’s the reason. The girl at the check-in desk in Girona, Spain looked completely lost when I showed her the paragraph from the website. She gave it to her co-worker to interpret for her, who in the end told me I should really just go pay the 4 euro fee because she doesn’t understand it either =)

113 ballspot 06.04.08 at 5:50 pm

Huge Mistake. I am a U.S. citizen with a Spanish residency card that I thought was and “Identity Card” issued by Spain. I was traveling form Madird to Paris when I realized I had forgotten my passport. I remembered reading that an EU issued Identity card was sufficient for travel (afterall, there is no boarder between Spain and France anywa). I arrived at the airport and was refused boarding. They would not hear any arguments. So, they argued, the document with my picture, name and address issued by the Spanish government IS NOT a “National Identity Card.” They told me it would coast 75 euros to change the reservation and come back next day with the passport. The ticket cost around 50 euros! It felt like a big shake down.

114 Tax Advisor 06.05.08 at 10:16 pm

I also need a real solution for this discrimination against non-EEA passport holders. Since I don’t carry luggage when I fly with Ryanair, I don’t want to wait in the line. So the easiset solution seems to be doing online check-in and not using it for flight. Instead show that paper with your passport to the ticket sales ladies and get a real boarding pass by paying the notorius €5, there is never a long queue in the sales desks.

Easyjet looks like Business Class after these useless policies of Ryanair.

By the way some friends in the previous messages said that some costs differed in Italy. That’s not because of being in Italy only, try any domestic flight (within the same country) you will be charged for VAT also. VAT is generally about 20% so €5 charge would become €6 in a domestic flight. International flights are VAT exempt, that’s why it’s different.

115 Alex 06.05.08 at 11:39 pm

Just a follow up on my previous comment.

We flew yesterday from Liverpool with Ryanair. Having selected online check in, but not using it, we turned up at the airport confident that we would be checked in free of charge. Sadly, it was not to be: the first thing out of the mouth of the Ryanair employee was that we would have to pay the £4. We noticed there was a steady stream of people being sent to the Ryanair office to pay, for everything from airport check in to overweight bags.

Returning (from Dublin) was exactly the same.

116 Kerry 06.06.08 at 11:38 am

Hi i have recently booked flights from liverpool to alicante through ryanair’s website.I had a confirmation email afterwards and my travel insurance details came through.Do i get actual tickets,or does the confirmation email act as my ticket for when i get there?Also as far as a gather,the check in price and luggage price was included in the total price of the ticket and it says so on the confirmation sheet.Am i likely to still get charged for this when i arrive?

117 poetloverrebelspy 06.06.08 at 11:39 am

Thanks for the info on VAT, Tax Advisor — that explains why the luggage fee for my Berlin-FFHahn flights was coming up as 11.90 euros instead of 10 and why they sent me additional emails on (what I now recognize as) domestic flights. However, it doesn’t explain Mang’s fee, since Mang was flying from Italy to Spain.

Tax Advisor and Alex, will you please update again after requesting a refund of your fees?

118 Kerry 06.06.08 at 11:39 am

do they weigh hand luggage?

119 poetloverrebelspy 06.06.08 at 11:48 am

Kerry, please refer to the RyanAir FAQ: Where are my tickets? As for charges, if they appear on your receipt, you won’t be charged again (assuming your one piece of checked luggage is under 15 kg).

They do not always weigh hand luggage, but often they will. Check out the post “Pack Less, Carry On, Save Money” for a few tips on lightly bending the rules.

120 atel 06.06.08 at 8:03 pm

Unfortunately I booked a ticket with ryan air.I selected online check in.and then realised that I dont have a eu passport,to do the online check in.So I amgoing to airport and let me see ,what happens,I am ready to pay for the air port check in.But I fear that whether they dont allow me to do air port check in.I am ready to pay 4 pounds.crossing fingers

121 poetloverrebelspy 06.06.08 at 8:33 pm

atel, take deep breaths, read the post again and especially comment #14. You will be fine. Enjoy your trip!

122 Alex 06.06.08 at 9:13 pm


I possibly should have elaborated a bit more in my post: everybody had to pay the £4, except for one member of our party who had actually checked in online (despite being only 17). He was worried about getting knocked back at the gate, so he went to the Ryanair booking office and said he’d lost his online boarding pass, and could he have another one. The woman there kindly reprinted it free of charge, despite him having his 4 quid ready to hand over!

So as it worked out, the people who followed the general consensus on this site had to pay, but they guy who DID check in online got his boarding pass free!

On the return from Dublin, the woman told us we didn’t have to pay: she mentioned something about it being free for that day only, or something like that (possibly a special offer?) and she reckoned that we shouldn’t have had to pay at Liverpool.

Anyway, we’re not going to request refunds because I think £4 is still good value for return flights to Dublin, and it’s really a lot of hassle for just £4.

Thanks anyway for your help,

123 Sarah-Jane 06.06.08 at 11:37 pm

Thank you in advance!!Hoping you can help me.. my husband (EU holder) my 4 yr old son & I travelling on New Zealand passports are heading to Germany next month. (still in NZ) We are hoping to travel on RA from Frankfurt Hahn – Skavsta(sweden) on the 17/07 returning 21/7. When I go to book on line ..it works out at Euro 133.00!! These tickets are the 0.00 specials!this is with one checked in bag….no insurance..no priority boarding. As we are on foreign passports I can’t tick yes to holding a EU passport. So extra costs…how can I go about saving the most money without all these extra costs..I am paying with Visa. Also how long would you reccomend us getting to airport..we have never travelled on these cheap airlines before…Naiive!!
Kia ora

124 Moira 06.07.08 at 3:54 pm


This blog is really helpful.

After reading all the posts, I have a question. I made a booking yesterday and realise now that I have booked the wrong departure and arrival dates by one day. I’ve been to the site and it appears that this is easy to change. However, when I start the process, I’m charged double, at which point I abandon the change. I’ve tried to get someone on the phone but it’s impossible.

Any suggestions? This is the first time for me with Ryanair.

125 poetloverrebelspy 06.07.08 at 7:15 pm

Moira, you will incur a 35-euro change fee for each leg of the trip, plus you will pay any difference between fares. If a new ticket is less than 70 euros, you are probably best off simply purchasing another ticket.

Sarah-Jane, using the details you gave me, I get 83.94 euros, excluding suitcase (which should add 15 euros each way, for a total of 113.94 euros). I selected the earliest flight on the 17th and the late flight on the 21st.

In order to be certain to avoid airport check-in fees for your husband, you and your son should book together with the suitcase; your husband should book separately with online check-in.

When you book yourself and your son, you will have to check “1 bag and airport check-in,” incurring the 30-euro fee. You can check no for your son, and avoid paying this fee up-front. If you are uncomfortable lying at this step (see the discussion on this comments #14, #30/31), then go ahead and pick “0 bags and airport check-in” which will add another 10 euros to the total, bringing you to 123.94 euros.

That is roughly 20 euros per flight for each of you. Does this really seem like a lot of money? I think it’s still a bargain.

Don’t forget to take into account that Frankfurt Hahn is a good 90 minutes from Frankfurt proper, and you will need to take a bus that’s something like 14 euros rt per person. Skavsta is also around 90 minutes from Stockholm and that bus is 27 euros rt per person (children free!). Google each airport and you will find the transportation options spelled out for you on their websites.

If you are simply trying to get from southwest Germany to Sweden, you might want to try fooling around with airport combinations at Which Budget before deciding to fly RyanAir. That said, a quick check of those dates on Air Berlin (Frankfurt proper-Stockholm Arlanda) came up with fares over 260 euros per person!

You can also try waiting a bit and see if July tickets go on a better sale . . . but the risk of prices rising further is one you’ll have to weigh yourself.

Hope this helps.

126 Steve 06.08.08 at 1:35 am

Is there any limit to the amount of time you can wait after a flight when requesting a refund? I have some older flights that I paid this for, and I’d like to get the refund.

Also, I have an upcoming flight I booked but I will not be using, has anyone tried asking for the refund prior to the flight or after it (even though I didn’t show up)?

127 poetloverrebelspy 06.08.08 at 8:38 am

Steve, please read comments #47/48 and better yet this page from RyanAir’s FAQ. The short on unused ticket refunds: gov’t taxes ONLY, minus an (unclear) administrative fee. That page lists the deadline for requests as 30 days following the outward flight date.

128 Steve 06.08.08 at 11:58 pm

Sorry, I meant to be more clear. How long after you take a flight can you apply for the check-in refund? I have taken flights in the past that I’ve paid for and would like to request the check-in refund.

129 poetloverrebelspy 06.09.08 at 12:11 am

Steve, there is no clear answer — the closest I found is the regulation I list in #133 that states you have 30 days from the date of the outward flight in question. You can always try anyway and let us know what happens . . .

130 Agnes 06.09.08 at 7:40 pm

Hi everyone,

I was currently travelling with ryan air on a Canadian passport in Europe. I purchased my tickets online with the online check in option to see if I could get away with not paying the check-in fee. Unfortunately both in London and Poznan (a small Polish city) they forced me to pay the check-in fee and wouldn’t give me my bording pass otherwise. I told them that I called ryanair and that they said it would be alright to not pay since my money would be refunded anyways, but that didn’t work either.

So just so all of you know, they seem to be taking this check-in thing more into cosideration and more seriously then before.

You guys can still continue trying i guess because it didn’t really cause any problems to have to pay the fee at the airport, but yeah, I wasn’t expecting them to be this strict with the fee especially in a small city in Poland.

131 Li 06.10.08 at 5:08 am

Oh, I am so worried now. I am a British National (Overseas) passport holder…I chose online check-in and I have checked-in online already!!! In the check-in section, I put down United Kingdom as my nationality (it seems logical and right to a certain extent). But my passport is not a EU/EEA passport. I’ve checked-in already. What should I do??

132 poetloverrebelspy 06.10.08 at 7:52 am

Wow Li, this is a new one. I went and read the entry on UK vs. British National passports at Wikipedia:

“For the purposes of the European Communities treaties, the nationals of the United Kingdom comprise all British citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens by virtue of a connection with Gibraltar and British subjects with right of abode in the UK (mainly, but not exclusively, those connected with the Republic of Ireland before 1949). These UK nationals have the status of European citizen in common with nationals of other member states of the European Union.

“British nationals who are not European citizens are issued what is known as “lookalike passports”. These are similar to normal British passports, except that they do not have the words “European Union” on the cover, and do not contain any EU-specific information inside, e.g., the words “Passport – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and the information on the photograph page are given only in English and French, rather than all the official languages of the European Union. However, the contents of new biometric passport are given in other official languages of the European Union rather than English and French only.”

Given that, I have a hard time believing that they are going to even notice a difference!

However, your concerns are likely valid and if you are flying from/to the UK, they may very well notice. I recommend you go directly to the ticket sales (fees payment) counter with your printed boarding pass when you arrive at the airport and ask them whether or not it is valid. If it is not, they will print you a new one (though they may charge you a fee — how to request a refund is described above). Do let us know what happens! And enjoy your trip!

133 Li 06.10.08 at 9:43 pm

Hey thanks for your response. To be honest, I think the ryanair has never considered situation like mine when they planned this policy…anyway, will let you all know what happens!!!

134 Robin 06.11.08 at 8:37 pm

Here’s one for you all – I am a UK national with a UK passport and my partner is an Australian national with an Australian passport. We are flying from London to Belfast in a few days and both have UK driving licences which are apparently fine for online check-in for domestic UK flights, only when you come to do online check in there is only the option to insert EU passport or ID card information. What should we do??

Knew we shouldn’t have flown Ryanair!

135 poetloverrebelspy 06.11.08 at 8:58 pm

Robin, please read comments #111-115.

Even your Aussie hubby should be fine, since he has an acceptable form of gov’t-issued ID.

Enjoy your trip to Belfast!

136 Robin 06.12.08 at 9:15 am

Poetloverrebelspy – thanks for that – its all pretty confusing but I think the way forward for us is to check in online and then change the necessary details once at the airport.

Oh, and I’m a man – its my aussie wife! ;-)

137 Aisling 06.12.08 at 10:10 pm

Hi just looking for some information which I can’t find on the Ryanair website. When you check in on-line is the boarding pass emailed to you or does it just appear on the screen and you print it ?. Reason I ask is I have booked a flight for my friend and gave my email address. However I’ll be away and if the boarding pass is emailed to me I won’t be able to give it to him.

138 poetloverrebelspy 06.13.08 at 12:13 pm

Aisling, please refer to comment #125. You will receive an email confirmation of the ticket you book. However, the booking confirmation page (following the successful transaction on the website) will give you the reference code, which is really all one needs in addition to their passport to check in at the airport.

If this person is trying to check in online, they will need to know (but not have access to) the email address you used to book the ticket for them.

Hope this helps.

139 Leo 06.13.08 at 8:03 pm


I am facing a problem. I have non-EU passport and I got my boarding pass printed. After realising this mistake I searched on net and come accross this forum. I have my flight to Stockhom tomorrow 13-06-08 and coming back on next day 14.06.08. I dont now what should I do….The flights are overbooked for tomorrow…..any help or slution.
Your quick reply appreciated.

140 poetloverrebelspy 06.14.08 at 12:38 am

Leo, please read through the comments above. Take your boarding pass to the airport and have them print you a new one. You will be fine.

RyanAir flights are never overbooked, so that is not something you need to worry about either.

Enjoy your short trip!

141 Leo 06.14.08 at 8:48 am

Thanks poet….for your quick reply. I would ask them to re-print the boarding pass.

142 billy 06.14.08 at 12:22 pm

hi! this thread has been an interesting read. i hope its not dead because i am leaving on monday. i am an american flying from stockholm to ireland via ryanair. i like others used the book online option not realsing americans arent really supposed to. this is what im wondering…..when i clicked on the link in the email that was sent me, i went directly to the “manage my bookings” section. from there i went to the “enter advanced passanger info” section and entered both my info, and my swedish friends info. i was actually able to enter “u.s.” from the pulldown menu there. so THEN i went to the online check in section and when it came time to enter my details, it said i didnt have to because i already had…..so i was thinking hmmm. did i stumble upon some loophole here?? now to be safe i still havent clicked on the confirm button where it takes you to the screen where you can print out your tickets.

i was reading that you said you should never do that. but im also wondering. if you dont do that, then just show up….what should you bring? just your confirmation number along with i.d.? i mean then your almost certainly going to get charged the airport check in fee at the desk, so that would make all this mess pretty pointless right? or am i missing something here? i think if your gonna have to pay at the airport, you might as well pay online and avoid all the fuss. but i am wondering if i found a way to get the proper info onto your boarding pass since i was indeed able to enter the united states of america in the drop down menu from the advanced passanger info section?? i havent dared tried printing out the boarding pass as that would require me to confirm online, and you said thats a bad idea….any advice would be greatly appreciated since i am leaving very soon. thanks!!

143 billy 06.14.08 at 12:41 pm

oh just one more quick note….you said you can change to airport check in online, but when i tried that, it says you cant because it will replace your online check in. ha ha its like duh-yeah thats what i want to do, but they actually dont even give you the option to do that!

144 Karol 06.15.08 at 3:01 pm

i have book check in only and after when i made payments it direct me to the screen where i should print my ticket, But i dont have printer at that time so i just close the mozzila. i got email from ryanair with code and sone info about my fly. How can i print my bording pass? plz help

145 Efe 06.16.08 at 4:04 am

Please tell if you got your refunds quickly?
I dont want to risk with online check in and then airport check in.

i will simply pay online for airport check in, and then after our travel i will apply for a refund.

i dont want to lie and then mess with people and risk the flight for a couple of euros especially if i have the opportunity to get back that extra money i paid.

so please tell me if they refund you after you send the fax.

146 poetloverrebelspy 06.16.08 at 3:44 pm

Billy, I am traveling myself, so I missed replying in time as I assume you are already on your way. I wish you a good trip!

As for the “loophole” you´ve discovered — the APIS is information entered for Spanish authorities on flights to Spain from certain countries; it has nothing to do with RyanAir´s check-in policies. I would not risk my flight on that!

As for booking online vs. airport check-in, I describe both methods so that people can do whichever they feel most comfortable with. From experience (20+ flights in the last 9 months across the EU with a non-EU passport), I have only had *one* airport even mention the fact that I hadn´t paid the fee, and following a brief discussion, she let it go. I have all the faith in the world that RyanAir will refund your money if you choose to go that route; I personally prefer to keep my own money.

As for “replacing” your online check-in, that is correct — at that step, you CONFIRM.

Karol, if you are checking in at the airport (with luggage), all you need is your passport and that confirmation code. If you are checking in online up to 5 days before your flight, go to this page to access your booking.

147 American ROM-BCN? 06.18.08 at 4:53 am

I can’t figure out whether,as a family of 4 US citizens, we can all travel on Ryanair ROM-BARCELONA? Is there something odd about going from Italy to Spain? Can we go from Switzerland to Spain? Help?

148 poetloverrebelspy 06.18.08 at 10:11 pm

My fellow Americans, you can certainly fly any routes you so desire. This thread is about the fact that you as non-EU passport holders cannot use RyanAir’s online check-in.

If you are simply wondering what your low-cost options are from here to there, give Which Budget a gander.

149 ryanairheads 06.19.08 at 12:33 am

I have sent 5 refund requests for air-port check-in fees because I am unable to avail of Online Check-in by reason only of not being a holder of either a valid passport or National Identity Card, issued by the government of an EU/EEA country. I included confirmation numbers and a copy of my passport with each request.

Ryanair replied to the first 2 requests stating I did not provide a copy of my passport. They have ignored my last 3 reqeusts. As yet I have not received any refund.

150 marie t 06.22.08 at 2:01 am

I have just booked flights to uk for 2 adults and 2 children. The children dont have their own passports but our listed on ours. I have booked their tickets using their first and last names only but the passports also state their middle names. Will this be ok does anyone know or will it constitue a name change? any advice will be much appreciated.

151 first-timer 06.22.08 at 3:27 am


I’m going to fly with Ryanair for the 1st time this coming Friday. I’m a non-EU resident and won’t be checking in any baggage. So, after reading all the information on ryanair.com and in your posts, I will be forced to do airport check-in in any case. I’ve done online payment for airport check-in and will request a refund after I’ve flown. However, one thing I’m concerned about airport check-in is that I’ll be flying in from Chicago to Heathrow, and from Heathrow take a coach to Stansted to board Ryanair. I touch down at Heathrow at 10:40pm and the next available coach to Stansted is 11:40pm. If I don’t catch this coach, the next one will be 3:25am and it will reach Stanstend only at 4:50am. My Ryanair flight is 6:10am. That would leave me 30 mins to queue up at the check-in counters before they close (since they strictly close 40 mins before departure). My questions are:
1) From your experience, how long does it take to queue up in the wee hours of the morning? I saw some online posts that say they close even if you’re still in the queue!
2) From the Ryanair.com Q&A site, it says that one has to be at the boarding gate 30 mins before departure. Is this time limit strictly enforced, since they also say that the gate closes only 10 mins before departure? How long does it take to board anyway?
3) Has anyone here been through Heathrow security checkpoints before from inbound international flights late at night? If you have, can you comment on how long it usually takes to go through the security checkpoints. And has anyone here have to also take the airport subway to the Central Bus Station at Heathrow? I’m trying to see whether it would be possible to catch that 11:40pm coach to Stansted, instead of having to worry that I won’t be able to make it through Ryanair airport check-in in time to board the Ryanair flight.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this goes a bit off tangent…


152 first post 06.23.08 at 10:05 am

Just flew from Luton to Reus, accidently ticked the online check in even though one of us has a NZ passport the other EU, had not trouble at Luton, however at Reus we had to use the check in counter we were charged 10 euros, had to wait in the long queues, even though we didnt have any luggage to check in.

153 poetloverrebelspy 06.23.08 at 2:27 pm

Marie t, you can read all the details about RyanAir’s ID policy for minors here. Middle names are unnecessary, so don’t worry about changing a thing.

First-timer, a friend who is currently visiting also recently flew into Heathrow. Her experience, landing around 11:30 a.m., was 100 minutes from landing through passport control (where there were no lines at the counters) to the bus. She also didn’t have any luggage and reports it took longer to walk to the Central Bus Station (CBS) from Terminal 3 than to get through controls and out of the airport. She and I recommend looking at the airport layout online and making sure you know how to get to the CBS in order to shave off some of that time. She reminds you that you can purchase your ticket directly from the driver, so do not waste time in line at a counter somewhere!

That said, if you miss the 2340 bus, the 0325 bus will get you there with 70 minutes before your flight, which should be more than enough time. I have never flown out of/into Stansted that early to give you anecdotal experience about how busy it will be at that time of day. They have 8 security lanes, but I would reckon with at least 20 minutes to get through there before the 15-minute walk to the gate. Usually with RyanAir, the same agent who checked you in at the counter will serve as your gate agent, so they will also have a 10-15-minute walk through the airport. Normally they have to wait for the plane to land and for the other passengers to have deplaned before they can begin boarding, but at that time of the morning, the plane may already be standing at the airport, meaning they can board you earlier.

As for the strict enforcement of 30 minutes, I wouldn’t worry *too* much, but I wouldn’t dillydally through security or duty-free either had I checked in just before the 40-minute counter closure.

In order to cut your time at Heathrow, request and fill out the mandatory arrival card on the airplane. In order to cut your time at security checkpoints at Stansted, remember that you are only allowed ONE bag (not a laptop and hand luggage, not a purse and hand luggage, but one single bag), and have everything already moved over. Here is a post on tips for streamlining the security process; here a post on carrying-on generally; here a post on Stansted security specifically; and if you need space to repack, this post describes where you’ll find a decent place to do so at Stansted.

Safe flights and pleasant journeys! Do write back and let us know about your experiences.

154 Peter Archibald 06.24.08 at 5:36 pm

I want to share my experience of Ryanair baggage handling. Apologies if this is not the most appropriate thread but it is at least a warning about Ryanair!

In May, I took a party of 15 (12 Scouts and 3 Adults) to Slovenia for a week-long expedition. Klagenfurt, in Austria, was the nearest airport so we went Ryanair with one checked item of luggage each. 14 rucksacks arrived in Austria with us but one was missing. We got a Property Irregularity Report from the airport, confirmed the forwarding address in Slovenia, and set off on our expedition. The airport rang TWO DAYS LATER to say that Ryanair had found the bag and would deliver it to Klagenfurt the following day. However, they refused to authorise the onward delivery of the bag to us because we were “more than 25 km away from the airport”!

I sent a clearly worded fax to Ryanair Baggage Handling Department in Dublin, explaining that one child had no clothes or equipment for a mountain expedition and requesting that they honour their responsibility to deliver the bag to us without further delay. Klagenfurt airport also sent them at least three emails, my insurers tried to contact them, the child’s parents actually managed to speak to someone. Ryanair’s gave NO RESPONSE to anyone!

We eventually gave up on the cowardly, irresponsible management at Ryanair and bought a few essentials to enable the Scout to get through the rest of the week. We collected the bag at Klagenfurt on our way home.

On my return, I wrote to Ryanair again. This time I asked for a response within 7 days, in accordance with their customer charter, and demanded repayment of our expenses caused by their mishandling of the delayed bag. After 6 days I got an email from them, entitled “do not reply to this email”, and saying that they were sorry to have lost the bag and didn’t know where it was. Every single fact in the letter was wrong. This appears to be Ryanair’s attempt to meet their customer charter obligation without actually investigating anything – or even reading my letters!

I have had my expenses paid by my travel insurer. Another insurance company has commented that it is so difficult to get Ryanair to respond to claims that a consortium of insurers is planning to bring a “class action” against them, to compel them to start handling legitimate complaints responsibly.

So BE WARNED. If you entrust your expedition clothing and equipment to Ryanair, you may not see it again until the end of your expedition and they will not even acknowledge your complaints, let alone deliver your kit to you, despite the promises in their Customer Charter to do both these things. Traveller beware!

155 Mang 06.27.08 at 7:03 pm

This goes a bit back to post #116/118. After refunding the money to the wrong source, I faxed Ryanair again and this time received no reply whatsoever. I think I’ll just give up on my 6 euros refund… it’s not really worth the hassle. However, do you know anyway to send a complaint (or does that even matter since they receive millions of them every year?) Finger crossed for my final Ryanair flight from Fez to BCN. Thanks again poetloverrebelspy~

156 kate 06.27.08 at 11:24 pm

hi! i’ve booked a ticket for my friend from oslo to birmingham with ryanair but for some reason they sent me a letter saying i have request for a refund and they will return the money into my bank. I didnt want 2 refund the ticket and i have no idea what is going, what should i do?? can someone help me???

157 David Warner 06.30.08 at 10:48 am

Online checkin failure with Spanish Permisso Residencia

I had not seen your excellent site until yesterday when an African friend of mine from Ghana, with a Spanish Permiso de Residencia was denied boarding at Luton Airport here in Britain, having used online check-in. He was stranded at Luton Airport with no cash to pay for a ticket for the next day, or for a place spend the night.
Having truly ruined his day, the RyanAir officials allowed him to use their phone so I could make a credit card transfer to pay for a National Express bus ticket for him and another Rynair ticket to Spain for today.
Altogether this episode added £100 to the cost of an otherwise quite inexpensive trip – thereby ruining my day too!
I can’t understand why RyanAir have such a rule for non-EU nationals. Alex’s Spanish ID has a photo, address and national insurance number. Looking at the ID side by side with the passport there is a complete match. How can they justify jeopardising someone’s job and effectively costing them another £100 for the sake of an internal and arbitrary rule about a £4 charge? And if the ID documents match exactly, what is the point of this nonsense? To me this appears to be discrimination, which is supposed to be illegal in Britain and the EU.
As your other correspondents have said, other airliners are much more flexible. I have Nigerian friend who has flown to US several times, and also to Nigeria, all on British Airways. No problem with online check-in for BA just because you’re black (or even Nigerian).

158 Neil 06.30.08 at 1:08 pm

Hi, Booked a flight with Ryanair but the name on my friends passport is slightly different to the name I put down on her ticket. Does anybody know how strict ryanair are on this policy? Seems a crime that I would have to pay €100 for a name change on a flight that only cost €92 per person. The names are Jackie and jacqueline.

159 poetloverrebelspy 07.02.08 at 11:49 am

Kate, I’m afraid the entire situation isn’t clear from your comment. Did they send you a physical letter and not an email? Has the money indeed been refunded? Was perhaps the flight route eliminated? If I were you, I would attempt to access the details of my flight using their online tools. You can find that page here.

Mang, thanks for keeping us updated. I am working on a post on where to send complaints when the airline doesn’t respond. I’ll post a link here when it’s up.

Neil, unfortunate as it is, you should always book a ticket with the name on the passport. You can contact RyanAir and see what they advise (it’s probably easiest to head to the airport if you live nearby), but I would guess that those are two different names that will require a change. It looks like you are better off just purchasing a new ticket on this one!

160 Conrad 07.02.08 at 11:26 pm

hi there,
just found this excellent blog, thankyou! I wanted to ask if anybody knows the procedure for reclaiming government taxes from an unused flight – i have found no details about how to do this on the ryanair website. I booked a return flight from France-UK for mid july but my circumstances have changed and I wont be needing it, i paid about 75 euros. The website mentions a “reasonable admin fee” but this could be anything! does anyone have any more info on this?? sorry to change the subject.

161 poetloverrebelspy 07.03.08 at 9:36 am

Conrad, please read comment #133.

162 Vladislav 07.03.08 at 6:30 pm

How long does it usually take for Ryanair to make a refund or answer by email?
A week ago I flew from Riga and from Malaga, in both airports they didn’t ask me to pay airport check-in fee when they saw our’s non-EU passports.
However in Bremen airport they did ask us to pay…

163 Matthew Vokes 07.07.08 at 3:17 pm

Can youplease help me.
I have flights booked for both myself and a friend to travel to France for a period of 7 days.
We are both due to check in online. What I would like to know is how do we check in for the return flight? Or do we get both boarding cards upfront when we check in from home?

164 poetloverrebelspy 07.07.08 at 3:41 pm

Matthew, please refer to comments #28/29.

165 Vishnu 07.07.08 at 5:47 pm

Hi everybody,

This blog comes as a great eye opener. I am thinking of booking tickets with Ryan Air for a weekend trip with my mom from Bratislava to Milan and back. I was confused about the whole EEA/EU passport thing.

One more time,.. do you think its absoltely safe to go for the online check-in, and then not use the printed boarding pass, and check-in at the airport? What is the worst that could happen if they find out that you had already done an online check in? What do you tell them in that case? So they would then charge the 10 euros per head for the airport check-in, is that all that would happen or would they declare that the tickets are now fraudulent (for whatever reason I can’t comprehend)?

We also intend to take only one backpack each, regular sized backpack, the kind that you take to college.. does that come within the specified limits for carry ons?

I intend to fly from Bratislava to Milan on the 18th of July (Friday) and the return flight from Milan to Bratislava is on the 21st (Monday) at 4 30pm. I don’t see a Ryan Air flight to Florence or even Rome.. Rome is my final destination. Is there any cheap flight to Rome from Milan (or directly from Vienna or Bratislava?).

Thanks for your time!


Btw, I have an Indian passport and a schengen visa.

Ah yes, I forgot to ask you about the travel insurance. We already have a travel+health insurance as we had to present that to get our schengen visas. Do we need to buy Ryan Air’s insurance?

From the many posts I’ve read, one thing has confused me. WHat is the difference between choosing the online check in, and NOT ACtually USING it?

166 first-timer 07.08.08 at 8:28 am

poetlover, thanks so much for all the tips! They have been really helpful. I just got back from my trip to Europe.

Arriving at Heathrow around 10:30pm, it took me about 35 mins to get from the arrival gate to the CBS. There was a queue of a few ppl at passport control, but it didn’t take me long there. Yes, the walk from there to CBS took much of the time. Really relieved that I was able to catch the 11:40pm coach to Stansted (the driver allowed me to get on this earlier bus even though I booked an online ticket for a later bus), so had plenty of time at Stansted to check in at the Ryanair counter there and go through the security checkpoint. It took quite some time at the check-in queue, due to ppl checking in bags. However, the queue at the security checkpoint wasn’t very long. Managed to get to the departure gate in about 1 hr from the time I checked in.

So, overall, it was much better than I had thought. However, it seems that on both the to and fro transits, they didn’t weigh my carry-on luggage (which was very close to 10kg). Not sure why, but not that I mind it, hehe.

Thanks again for the tips. They really helped me breeze through security checkpoints!

167 Alexander 07.11.08 at 1:26 pm

I am a US citizen and just flew Ryanair from the UK to Sicily. I selected the no-bags, on-line check-in option, but then discovered I could not print a bording pass without a EU passport.

They DID charge me £4 at the Birmingham airport. Even worse, when I check-in for the flight home, they made me go to the special counter where I paid €5 for counter-check in PLUS €3 for some kind of ‘fee’ or ‘tax’ by the Italian operating company. That extra €3 for the privilege of paying a fee really sent me over the edge.

168 Shane 07.13.08 at 9:13 pm

I am a US citizen and I followed your advice for selecting online check-in at purchase time but then doing airport check-in. For two flights now (PSA-AHO & CAG-GRO) I have been asked to pay the airport check-in fee which I believe was €8 total like #173 mentioned. The big annoyance here is that you have to go to a separate ticketing desk to pay the fee then come back to the check-in desk to get your boarding pass. So a total of three lines to stand in! I would advice U.S. citizens to just pay the €5 fee online and then try to get a refund afterwards using the info here.

169 Vladislav 07.14.08 at 1:34 pm

Yesterday I received a refund from Ryanair! It took Ryanair one week to make a refund of charged airport check-in fees.

170 Hatetoflyitbutitssocheap 07.15.08 at 5:21 pm

Hi – I just spoke to Ryan Air and apparently they will not allow you to book online and then call them to change it to airport check in for free (ie you will have to pay the £6 ea flight)…. and was advised that the policy is not to refund. However this was a call centre operator.

So I guess the only option is to request the refund?


171 Dennis 07.17.08 at 6:57 am

Flew from Paris To Shannon and had to pay the check-in fee for non EuU nationals. Ryanair would only accept fee payment by credit card only. Is that legal? isn’t the Euro legal tender in
France. How do they get away with all this shit.


172 Li 07.19.08 at 2:27 am

Hi, last time posted my concern about using my British Overseas passport for online check-in with Ryanair….what happened was just as poetloverrebelspy said, they hardly recignise the difference between my passport and the Bristish passport. In fact I went to their customer desk and honestly told them I am not a EU citizen, but I am holding a british national passport, the staff read my passport and said it’s ok to use the boarding pass I printed out from online check-in. But I am not sure if that staff really understood what I meant and spotted the difference, as she just read my passport briefly then said OK.

173 super 07.21.08 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the lengthy discussion/blog here!

Has anyone (Non UK/EEA passport holders) checked in online and printed their boarding pass and just get on with it. My question is that, if you already have a boarding pass, you show them at the gate to the airport security people – not the ryan air people, so there shouldn’t be any problems?

Can someone enlighten me?

174 poetloverrebelspy 07.21.08 at 9:12 pm

Super, the message of the post is that you will be denied boarding at the gate when RyanAir takes your online check-in boarding pass and you do not have an EU passport. Please read through the post again.

175 Jonnie 07.22.08 at 1:39 pm

I’ve flown with RyanAir ten or fifteen times (not too bad for someone who lives in Australia) and I’d like to partially defend them from some of the complaints here.

Yes, they try and charge you for everything they can, and yes, if your flight is delayed or cancelled they won’t help you, but the are a super discount airline. I’ve learnt to accept this and work within their system.

Their flights are normally less than a quarter of the price of the the mainstream carriers and I’ve had far worse experiences on two “full service” Aer Lingus flights. Not to mention that they also charged me for baggage as well.

176 super 07.22.08 at 11:25 pm

Thanks poetloverrebelspy,

I’m flying with RyanAir next week but have paid the extra £8 but will post the claim letter. I need to book another flight soon, so I would probably try to check in at the desk.

I am wondering if many people successfully got their money back, only saw 1/2 in the above posts!

177 super 07.23.08 at 3:07 pm

I have just searched for a few flights that I had flew with them. I have 3 flights now that I can claim. Can I put all three claims on ONE letter, i.e. to save postage?


178 Cali Boy in UK 07.26.08 at 1:32 am

Hi–it looks like almost every possible combination has been addressed. But here’s another permutation that I don’t think has been asked. My wife’s British, but I’m American; we booked together and ordered “online check in” with only carry on bags.

Do you think it’d be possible to check in online and then have me go to the airline counter to check in again (and get my passport/info sorted out, so I won’t be denied boarding at the gate)? That way, only I would have to pay the 4 pound fee as opposed to my wife getting nailed by it as well. Or is it possible for only her to check in online despite us both being sharing the same confirmation number?

Or would it be a situation that once you’ve checked in online that your information is completely locked into the system, so you couldn’t check in again at the airport?

BTW–we’ll definitely be booking separately the next time around, so she can check in online and avoid our current aforementioned situation completely. And even if my wife has to pay the extra 4 pounds this time, it’s a cheap lesson to make us savvier for our next go around.

On another note, for some cases, especially if you don’t have a landline, a much cheaper way to call the ripoff service hotlines in the UK is to use Skype Out.

So PLRS’s idea of using Ryanair’s Rest of the World service number, which looks to be a landline in Ireland judging from the country code, is pretty inexpensive, coming in at 1.2p/minute calling from Lincoln (East Midlands). So even if they make you wait a while, it won’t break the bank.

We’ve just flown with bmi baby and EasyJet this past week, and so far so good. We’re just wondering how hellacious our third experience with a low-cost carrier is going to be.

And even though the service and everything sounds like it’s the worst of the worst, it’s the cheapest of the cheap, especially for last minute trips! We’ll see how long I’ll be singing this tune.

179 poetloverrebelspy 07.26.08 at 9:11 am

Super, you are welcome to include them all in one letter; however, other commentators have noted that they have had difficulty receiving refunds on multiple flights. If you want to save postage, it may make more sense to include three separate claims (forcing them to open three separate incidents) in one mailed envelope. As noted above, there is a 30-day limit from the outbound flight which applies to other refunds that may also apply to this as well. It cannot hurt to claim them, but be aware if they were from some time ago, they may not be refunded.

Cali Boy, this two-body problem has certainly appeared here before (try comments #20/21, for starters). Anecdotally, others here have accidentally checked in online and then changed their boarding pass at the airport without difficulty. However, how this policy is implemented seems to be at the discretion of each ground crew and, at times, certain members of that ground crew. As I see it, there are five possible scenarios for your situation:

> Check in online, change boarding pass at airport
+ RyanAir takes an easy line, allows this without difficulty, saves 8 quid
+ RyanAir takes a hard line, forces you (both?) to pay, costs 4-8 quid
+ RyanAir takes the hardest line, claims you falsified your boarding pass, does not allow you to travel, costs A LOT to fix

> Check in at airport
+ RyanAir takes an easy line, allows this with no comment, saves 8 quid
+ RyanAir takes a hard line, forces you (both?) to pay, costs 4-8 quid

So while the risk of scenario #3 may be slim to nil, the fact that you cannot be denied boarding if you simply check in at the airport leads me to believe that this is the safest route. Feel free to correct my thinking here.

Let us know what you decide and please report back to us after you fly (including airport details, if you’d be so kind).

180 Lu 07.28.08 at 10:45 am

Hello, I’m an Australian passport holder, but I have GARDA NIB card for Ireland. I am flying to the UK from Dublin, but for online check in it asks for your nationality and it doesn’t give the option of Australian, I can input everything else in that screen, number of identity card etc but not that. What is the best way for me to get round this? I rang the hotline but they hung up on me. I only have hand luggage and would prefer to check in online as its quicker.

181 poetloverrebelspy 07.28.08 at 8:16 pm

Hi Lu.

Please read the post carefully. If you do not have an EU passport, you must check in at the airport. If you check in online and pass through security, they will deny you boarding at the gate.

Yes, this is a stupid, discriminatory policy. Yes, it may be slower and inconvenient. But it is far *more* inconvenient to miss your flight, ruin your plans, and pay RyanAir a wad of cash to fly you on the next day, no?

I don’t make the rules, I just report on them :) Do yourself a favor and stand in line at the airport.

182 gregrocker 07.30.08 at 3:32 am

I have been tracking this thread for some months, trying to decide if I want to wait out Vueling’s suicidal decision to double their fares BCN>MAD, or play Ryan Air’s little carnival shell game where they may/may not give you back your money they unethically lifted in the first place. Spin the routlette wheel! Fax your thumbprint while standing on your head. Take the bus for an hour to get a 1 pence ticket or is it 10 pounds, and how much in frustration and bewilderment as you watch the carnival operator?

I have decided I will not play their game. They are asking us to participate in a transparent scam by a cheapo airlines to bilk millions out of people who won’t or don’t have the time to follow up on their scam. And all to be treated like cattle in chutes?


183 super 07.31.08 at 1:12 am

Is there a 30-day limit for claiming back the airport check-in fee? I wanted to claim one that is 1 year old! :D

184 poetloverrebelspy 07.31.08 at 1:19 am

Super, it doesn’t say that officially anywhere, however it is the rule for refunds on other claims . . . Long story short, you are welcome to ask, but don’t expect to receive!

185 Dean M 08.04.08 at 4:40 pm

Really good thread.
Poet – do you think you could advise on a slightly off-thread Ryan Air problem?
Myself and a friend (both EU) were separately booking flights from EMA to Milan. There were a lot of problems with web-site so at point of confirmation we both got error messages.
My friend rang me said he was going out so could I try later booking 2 flights which I did – however, you guessed it, when he got back he had a confirmation for one of his earler “failed attempts”.
We therefore have 3 tickets booked for a flight in October. 2 in his name, one in mine.
Ryan Air have a no refund policy and even though another friend is probably going to book as well the cost of changing the name is more than the cost of flight.
We have requested Ryan Air cancel the unwanted flight due to technical issues with their web-site (obviously no answer) and I’m not hopeful.
Is there any security issue with Ryan Air taking bookings from passengers with identical names/postal addresses?
Is there anything you could suggest to persude Ryan Air to cancel unwanted flight and refund?
I pretty much can guess the answer but worth posting the question …..

186 poetloverrebelspy 08.04.08 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for your question, Dean M.

Another reader — robinmadrid — had his money refunded by RyanAir without even requesting it when he intentionally booked a second ticket to replace the first he had purchased. Here’s a link to his comment. I will alert him to your inquiry so that he may respond directly in this thread.

I don’t think it can hurt to send a refund inquiry to the fax number or address above, stating that due to technical difficulties and multiple errors while booking, you apparently were billed for two (identical) tickets instead of one. The worst they can do is say no or simply not respond, but the chance of them saying yes if you don’t ask is far slimmer.

187 Rob in Madrid 08.05.08 at 8:17 am

Dean, in my case I booked a flight with Ryanair and did web check-in not realizing that I needed an EU passport, so since the flight was only 19 euros I simply booked another with airport check-in. A couple of weeks before the flight Ryanair called me and said I had double booked a flight and they cancelled the second flight for me.

Note of warning, make sure they cancel the correct flight, in my case I ended up no going so it didn’t matter.

I should add that they did the call in English, which is really really rare in in Spain.

188 Rob in Madrid 08.05.08 at 8:30 am

The whole problem with Ryanair and such like is the rules are not enforced evenly across the board. As I mentioned in another post, I watched 3 EasyJet RyanAir flights board recently, in one case 2 people were denied board because the bags were “slightly” over sized, in the other case not a single bag was checked.

Unless your prepared to be denied boarding don’t take a chance, check your bag, pay for airport check-in and have a great flight and as Jonnie said your flight probably cost a quarter of what you would have paid with a regular airline.

189 Sajjad 08.08.08 at 3:31 am

Hi Poet,

I am so frustrated that this didn’t work for me. May be it is all about LUCK ! I am a non-EU passport holder. I had a flight from Girona to Frankfurt Hahn yesterday. I booked it with an online check in which I didn’t use. I intended to change online check in to airport check in free of charge at the airport. I was so confident (was thinking haha I already read this thread so I exactly know what to do and every thing will be in order).
But when I was at the counter and explained the situatuin the guy told me I have to pay 5 Euros and gave me the fax number and the address to complain if I wish. when I looked back and saw more than 30 angry passengers standing behind me in queue who needed to pay (mostly for extra kilos) I decided it would not be a good idea to argue and that the agent won’t change his mind.
So I really can’t understand why some agents change it for free and some do not…it doesn’t cost them anything !
And it is really crazy that in order to get my 5 Euro back I have to write a letter and stick a 1 Euro stamp on it and wait for the answer….

190 Savings Not Shoes 08.08.08 at 3:01 pm

Thank you so much for your post! I immediately sent a fax to Ryan air last week and today got the following email:
To: Savings Not Shoes
Sent: Friday, August 8, 2008 12:51:46 PM
Subject: Your Correspondence with Ryanair

Dear Savings Not Shoes,

Following your recent refund request for booking confirmation number XXXXX.

We confirm that your refund request has been processed to the form of payment used to pay for your booking. Your issuing bank will then take 5-7 working days to process this refund amount back to your account.

The amount refunded to your credit/debit card is GBP6.00

To review your booking please click on the link below


Yours sincerely

Ryanair Customer Services

191 Savings Not Shoes 08.09.08 at 5:15 am

I hadn’t ready all of the posts before I posted, I had simply read NoBudgetTravel’s post, sent a fax, then posted when I got a response.

Anyhow, my details in case anyone is wondering about their refund are as follows:

American passport holder
Paid for aiport checking + 0 bags for a May 30-May31 flight from London Stansted-Torp return.

In early August, faxed a copy of the first page of passport and handwritten letter detailing NoBudgetTravel’s suggested note above, including details of the flight, etc.

Less than 2 weeks later, an email arrives. I’m still awaiting the transfer back into my account. Have booked a RyanAir ticket for December and have done it online (so no fee) but will arrive early and just claim back if they must charge me the £5.

192 KKJ 08.11.08 at 2:09 am

Thanks poet for the tips and patience to keep this thread up!

This thread is exactly what I needed as I am non-EU and expected to get the refund upon check-in (check-in staff palmed me off, asking me to “get the address from the reservation desk”… fuggers).

Post 155 was somewhat discouraging but I will give it a go and see how it turns out.

And of course, will stick to Easyjet in the future!

193 Miraciel 08.12.08 at 3:14 pm

Completely agree with KKJ, many thanks to poet for advice and thoroughness!

I flew Paris Beauvais-Dublin return last weekend (opted for web check-in, 0 baggage, did airport check-in as I’m Korean).
I did ask about airport fee exemption at Beauvais, though as it’s France, and I’m female, I didn’t think the young woman at the counter would look kindly to me (the gals really never do, my experience of 2 yrs in Paris). I started saying “your website says in case of reason for being only non-EU…” she said “Hardly think so” and sent me off to the reservation counter to pay.

I booked the flight in May when the airport check-in fee was 4 euros, and just felt a bit cheated by the fact that they had raised the fee to 5 euros (and lowered the ticket price as well, from 14,99 to 0 euro…. well, that’s just my luck, but really you can’t sit glued to the Ryanair website all day).
Though I had to pay, the woman at the reservation desk told me I only had to pay 4 euros as that was the price when I did my booking, and when asked gave me the Ryanair address to write for a refund. Unlike the check-in girl, she seemed aware that the situation was irregular but left me to go through the tedious procedure of writing (they don’t have a fax number she said!!!) to the Ryanair Customer Service.

In Dublin at arrival, I asked at the Ryanair reservation counter, as reported earlier, the lady there said the Beauvais staff shouldn’t have made me pay, and that they never charge in Dublin. I asked about a refund then and there, but she said I’d have to write them at the address offered.

Three days later in Dublin, the check-in guy did print my ticket for free, though he was muttering about “I really should charge you 5 euros” etc. so I asked if they weren’t planning to change the system as it’s discriminatory (kind of mumbled as the queue was long) and he mumbled something back that they would have to have a choice slot for each and every country etc. (maybe some kind of electronic ID check system is necessary?) But he also asked me about my Schengen visa (when did check-in staff become immigrant officers?), which Koreans don’t need, so I supposed he wasn’t too well informed (and if not for poet, I’d probably have been thankful to him for not charging me!).
So it seems even at the same airport, the Ryanair staff differ in awareness of procedures. No wonder it’s worse in different European airports!

Last year I failed getting compensation for checked baggage damage through faxing them (enclosed all documents and even photos of the damage to the bag) so will stick to regular post this time and see how it goes.
Would anyone have a non-EU refund claim letter form??

194 catherine 08.12.08 at 9:34 pm

hi i’m due to fly to dublin next wk and was stressing bout the on line check in versus the airport check in. After numerous long and pointless calls to ryan air and visiting ryan air faq i was demented as i had not manged to recieve a straight answer! After i visited your website i found your comments to be helpful and informative and i can now look forward to our trip. Thank you very much!!!!

195 fields of gold 08.17.08 at 2:30 pm

Hi Poet,

I am travelling tomorrow to Rome from Luton, and have been trying persistently over the last 24 hours to do web check-in I opted for when I made my booking.

The online web check-in appears to be faulty as I can retrieve the booking and get to stage 2 where I enter my passport details, d.o.b., etc, but there is no blue “Continue” or “submit” button, and although I am not totally clueless computer-wise, have concluded there is no means to submit the data and det onto the next page. I have made a screen capture to prove my point and if it were not, as a previous posting put it, “easier to get an interview with George Bush”, would try to get support to resolve the issue.

As I have previously done web check-in from this computer, and have tried same operation from both IExplorer and Firefox, I am pretty certain it is a fault of the webpage and not of my browser or internet settings.

I am now faced with the choice of ringing a £1/minute internet support line or of going extra early to the airport and paying £4 online check-in per leg. Is Ryanair doing this deliberately?

Would appreciate hearing from anyone else who has had similar problems with online check-in and whether they have succeeded in evading further charges incurred through no fault of their own or getting a refund.

We used to have a choice of carrier to Rome, but the orange one didn’t stay in the game. Please, please let a competitor return to the fray. There are untold masses of frustrated passenger who are dying to dump Ryanair for once and for all …..

196 fields of gold 08.17.08 at 2:48 pm

Get this ….

I have just spent 5 minutes on the line to the GB Internet Support Call Centre.

The girl who answered concluded that what I was experiencing was a “system error” and her first advice was to keep trying and that if I didn’t succeed I would have to pay for airport checkin.

I will save you all the details, but among other things, she admitted lots of people were having the same problem, but none of us will be able to have our “support” calls refunded as “it doesn’t depend on the call centre but on Dublin, where they are UPGRADING the online checkin system”.

UPGRADING their revenues more like ….

197 DS 08.18.08 at 5:53 pm

Successful refund for Non-EU citizen Airport Check-in fee. Faxed letter and copy of US Passport to +353 1 812 1230 and no email within 72 hours. So I try fax to +353 1 812 1213 and I receive email with 36 hours stating refund is processed. I sent the request about 2 days before travel and I see Visa refund today.

This was my second RyanAir flight from Frank Hahn; this time to Stockholm (last time to Stansted in 2005). I was happy again, but I dint think it was any cheaper than a regular airline after the booking fee for credit card and if we had needed to check bags. I dint recommend or not RyanAir. For me both times was good location at both Airports. WizzAir. Air Berlin, and EasyJet seem to have better consumer policies if they serve your departure and destinations.

198 21 08.19.08 at 6:54 pm

posted copy of travel details and copy of receipt to dublin requesting refund of check in fee that was charged, have had no response and no refund and i have been waiting 6 weeks!

199 tomtum 09.01.08 at 2:17 pm

Does anyone know of the name card or credit card used online to book ryanair flights, where you are not charged the large fee. I know one exists i just dont know where i can get my hands on it. Thanks

200 super 09.02.08 at 10:17 pm

I sent a letter by post with a copy of my passport to them. Received an email after 2 weeks saying they are now processing; checked my bank account & have received the sum by Monday. I received refunds for this year’s flights and last December’s flight too.

Thanks very much to this blog owner and Mr/Ms Poet who answered my questions.

Thank you!

201 ken Bradley 09.04.08 at 1:13 pm

Ryanair – When checking in online for an inbound, return flight does it have to be within 5 days of the return flight date or can you check in for ougoing and incoming up to 5 days before the outgoing date? (difficult to explain!) e.g. if going out on 5th and back on 9th, can you check in for both on 1st?

202 poetloverrebelspy 09.04.08 at 9:47 pm

Tomtum, the card is called a Visa Electron.

Ken, you can check in for the two legs separately and sadly must wait until 5 days before the return flight to check in for that one. Them’s the rules for now!

203 ken Bradley 09.04.08 at 10:11 pm

Many thanks poet. You do a good job for a lot of people.

204 pr 09.06.08 at 7:02 pm

does anyone have an email address for ryan air i posted in a refund request with all the details and have not heard from them for 2 months! i would like to email them to ask about my claim. thanks

205 Aysha 09.06.08 at 8:02 pm


I have a few questions,

i have read all the posts but i am still a little confused.

My husband I are traveling from London (STN) to Rome (CIA) on Sept 15 to Sept 17. We are both Canadian and hold a Canadian passport.

I picked the on-line no bag check-in but after reading this post i am a little worried.

I really need help for the following questions:

1.From what i understand at this point now i should do nothing and go to the airport to check- in at the counter bringing my confirmation number and my passport. Is this right?

2. How early do i need to go to the airport to check-in since i picked on-line check-in?

3. Is there a possibility that they will deny my flight because i chose on-line check-in?

3. My last question is about the name. My ticket says AYSHA and my passport says AISHA would that be an issue?

Please help!

Thank you!

206 poetloverrebelspy 09.07.08 at 10:18 am

pr, RyanAir communicates by fax or letter only. They will send YOU an email, to which you cannot reply.

Aysha, 1) right, 2) must be checked in by 40 minutes before the flight (I generally show up 1.5-2 hours in advance), 3a) no, as long as you don’t actually check in online, 3b) name issues are a serious issue over which they could deny you boarding — I’d probably rebook the ticket to be safe.

207 KKJ 09.07.08 at 11:10 pm

Re: Post #198

Got my money back! :)

Finally got down to sending the request to Ryanair. I followed the instructions above, attaching details of my flight and copies of passports.

Faxed it in on a Tuesday. Received an email response and the refund by the end of the week.

Thanks Poet, you’re a legend!

208 Natalie Boyd 09.08.08 at 8:01 pm

Thanks this is helpful to know, as I am almost positive Ryanair will be in my future. My husband (Justin) and I leave on September 30th to backpack to various countries around the world for a year or so.

As we have been planning for our adventure we have been updating a blog. http://www.nomadbackpackers.com We would love to have other opinions, ideas, encouragement, advice, helpful tips, and more left as comments.


209 Kiwi 09.08.08 at 11:28 pm


I have read all through this highly informative blog, but I still have one question. Forgive me if this has already been answered, but the situation we are in is that my wife (who is Finnish and therefore an EU ID card holder) but I am from NZ and therefore not.

She selected online checkin for both of us (on the same booking) Now I am not quite sure what I should do next. I am comfortable now that I can go to the desk and check in and possibly have to pay the fee, but what about my wife. If we don’t complete the online checkin will she have to pay? If I do complete it, will I risk not getting on the plane?

Is it possible for us to complete the online checkin but for me not to use the boarding pass and check in again at the airport?

Thanks for clarification on this.

210 aysha 09.09.08 at 8:14 pm

Thank you for all the info.

I would love to rebook but my ticket cost me 180 pounds and they also dont have any information on there site to cancle.

do you know how i would do that?

211 poetloverrebelspy 09.10.08 at 2:18 am

Kiwi, please check comments #20/21 and #184/185.

Aysha, name change fee is currently at 80 quid. I found flights on the dates you mentioned for 68 quid return. It is therefore cheapest simply to purchase a new ticket with the correct spelling of your name.

212 Abbey 09.19.08 at 1:26 pm

very interesting blog, i have travelled on ryanair 4 times already, dublin-stanstead..
I have used the on-line check-in, i am non EU but have Irish residence, but i click Irish and use my passport details. I have used this successfully for my 4 trips so far, although for my 5th trip, the lady stopped me and said u need a valid EU id, and i showed her my residency stamp, she asked her colleague and said okay i will let you go for today.
Anyways, i am travelling end of sept again and i will use the advise on ere, i wont do print the check in online but do it at the airport.
The issue is not the money but the time, at least if i check in on-line i can get to the airport 45 or even 30 mins b4 the take off time as i usually just travel with my hand bag,
I will update u’s lot on how i get on this time.

213 P. 09.24.08 at 11:36 pm

I have been trying to apply for a refund 6 times the last few month, they simply ignore my fax. Ryanair has a new fax number on their website – its +353 1 5081702. did anyone manage to reach them there? This number seems to be invalid.


214 Jenna 09.25.08 at 9:02 am


I’m traveling liverpool to rome but only staying for 3days, if it says you have to check in online 5 days prior could i check in for the way there and for the way back before i go??

215 poetloverrebelspy 09.25.08 at 9:16 am

Yes Jenna, as long as you do not attempt to check in more than 5 days before your return flight, you will be able to check in for both before you depart. Have a safe trip!

216 S. 09.25.08 at 10:58 am

I am a US citizen who booked a roundtrip ticket from Duesseldorf to Stansted. I selected online checkin but will check in at the airport. Do I go ahead and put in the Compulsory Advance Passenger Information (CAPI) online (which will flag the fact that I’m not an EU citizen)? Here’s what the website says: “FAILURE TO PROVIDE THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT THE DEPARTURE AIRPORT WILL RESULT IN YOU BEING DENIED BOARDING WITHOUT REFUND.” What have others done? Thanks!

217 poetloverrebelspy 09.25.08 at 2:26 pm

S, since you’re not headed to Spain or the Balearic or Canary Islands, you do not need to supply this information. Enjoy your trip!

218 thomas 09.27.08 at 8:18 pm

Has anyone checked in on-line for and successfully flown on a domestic flight/flight within the Common Travel Area using a UK driving licence as ID (see comment #112)? I looked at Ryanair’s terms and conditions at http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/conditions.php?pos=MYFLIGHT and under the section “Documentation and Advance Passenger Information” it specifically states:

“A valid driving licence with photo is acceptable photo ID for travel on domestic flights. (Please note that driving licences are not accepted when passengers are using online check-in).”

219 Abbey 10.04.08 at 9:45 pm

I travelled and checked in at the airport, infact nothing was asked, they never even noticed, they just handed me my boarding card! great!

220 smileykylie 10.05.08 at 9:47 pm

This is a great blog and has answered many questions. i too accidentally checked online when I should not have. I do not want to have to pay at the airport though as it will eat into my time, I cannot figure out how to do it through ‘manage my bookings’. Is there anyway I can change my check in status or should I just ring them. Will they change it over the phone??

221 J 10.15.08 at 1:42 pm

“Where a passenger is unable to avail of Online Check-in by reason only of not being the holder of either a valid passport or a National Identity Card, issued by the government of an EU/EEA country, any Airport Check-In fee paid will be refunded upon application.”

This apparently doesn’t hold true anymore. I sent a letter–with all pertinent info–to RyanAir to be credited the check-in fee. This was their response (via email):

“Following your recent correspondence to us regarding booking confirmation number XXXXXX

In accordance with Ryanair’s General Conditions of Carriage all monies paid are non refundable, therefore we are not in a position to process a refund of the fee paid on booking confirmation number XXXXXX.

Please accept our apologies.

Yours sincerely,
Customer Services.”

222 poetloverrebelspy 10.15.08 at 2:07 pm

J, the fee in question is still refundable according to the website.

Here is the link. It has since been updated to include group bookings!

I encourage you to write them again. Refunds appear to be incredibly hit or miss.

223 hasmunch 10.16.08 at 11:43 am

Hi poet,

Myself and a friend have booked return flights form cork to liverpool.
Unfortunately we cannot make the first leg of that journey (form cork to liverpool).
Instead we are flying into liverpool on a seperate booking from dublin.
We still intend to use the return led of our original trip to get back to ireland (from liverpool to cork)
However we accidently checked in online for both legs of the cork – liverpool journey.
IS there a way we can deselect checkin for the cork to liverpool flight OR
if we do not turn up for the cork to liverpool flight will the return journey be cancelled?

224 poetloverrebelspy 10.16.08 at 12:26 pm

Hasmunch, most airlines will cancel the remaining legs of an itinerary if you do not travel on the first leg. There is nothing specific about this in the RyanAir Conditions of Carriage, however, so it may be worth a phone call to their hotline.

Unfortunately “No changes to the flight date/times/route can take place once a passenger has checked in online” (link). This precludes you from paying the change fee and “keeping” your ticket for a future date.

If you can postpone your return until Tuesday evening, you will “only” pay 40 quid for a new ticket (to either Cork or Dublin). You can get a Sunday or Monday return to Dublin from Leeds for the same price.

You may want to shop around airports and airlines to see if you can’t find a better deal.

Cheapest option at this point may well be the ferry: a quick search shows Irish Ferries or Stena Line have fares (including train or bus travel to the port) from Holyhead to Dublin or Fishguard to Rosslare starting at 23 quid.

Hope this helps! Safe travels!

225 Steve 10.17.08 at 9:55 pm

I and my son (age 6) are travelling to Dublin. As we have no crecit card facilitiy my brother booked the tickets for us. He selected online check-in.

I have now found after reading the entire mind blowing Ryan Air FAQ’s that I cannot check in online with a driving licence as phot id. Also my son does not need any ID.

So it looks like I have to check in at Birmingham and again in Dublin. Do we both have to pay or just me?

If it wasn’t for my son wanting his wings, then I’d cancel and go by ferry.

226 poetloverrebelspy 10.18.08 at 8:39 am

Steve, do I understand correctly that you have no other (accepted) form of ID, like a passport?

Also, just to verify, you and your son are both British (or Irish) citizens?

Given both of the above, I believe that, if they tried to charge you for check-in, you would both be eligible for refunds under the following clause:
“Where a passenger is unable to avail of online check-in by reason only of not being the holder of either a valid passport or a National Identity Card, issued by the government of an EU/EEA country, any airport check-in fee paid will be refunded upon application.”

If you don’t have a British passport and the UK doesn’t issue National Identity Cards (beyond driver’s licenses) and your son is too young to have any such thing, then both of you could have any monies refunded. As I’ve written, however, the application of fees at the airport AND the refunding of fees is unfortunately quite hit-or-miss.

My guess is that driver’s license check-ins are a matter of course in Birmingham and Dublin and they won’t try to charge you anything (as long as you carry on all your luggage).

Here’s hoping your son’s first flight is a good one. Let us know how it goes!

227 Tom 10.19.08 at 2:28 pm

Hi poet,

I´m 17 and I am going from Prague to Dublin on Tuesday.
I choosed online check-in at the time of booking. Is possible when I´ve already checked-in online to change it on airport check-in at the airport before flight?

228 poetloverrebelspy 10.20.08 at 10:09 am

Tom, please reread the post carefully, then look at comments #22/23 and #107/108/109/110/121/128.

229 Ruthy 10.24.08 at 10:34 am

I am travelling with my 2 daughters who are 16 and 13 to Girona. After making the booking I made a seperate booking for their friends who are also 16 and 13. On both bookings I opted for online check in, but upon reading your blog realise the friends are not eligible for on line check in. I will be carrying letters from their parents consenting the travel with me. We all hold EU passports.
Should we all check in at the airport? I am not sure what to do.

230 poetloverrebelspy 10.25.08 at 11:24 am

First, may I say there’s a special place in heaven reserved for people who take other people’s children on vacation?

Here the logistics of traveling with unaccompanied minors on RyanAir:

Ryanair does not carry unaccompanied minors (under 14 years). Escort and special facilities are NOT available. Ryanair will carry unaccompanied minors aged 14 or 15 years ONLY upon completion and signature of a form of indemnity at check-in of EACH departure airport, by a parent or guardian.

Children under the age of 14 years must always be accompanied on the same reservation by a passenger over 16 years.

Unaccompanied minors aged 14 -17 years travelling must present the required valid photo-id at check-in. The parent or guardian of the unaccompanied minors, are required to remain in the airport until the flight has departed.

Ruthy, you are correct that unaccompanied minors are not eligible for online check-in. You and your daughter, however, are. So you may check your reservation in online, then wait with the other girls in line at the airport. If you prefer, you can alter their booking online to pay the airport check-in fee in advance (be sure to use the same card you paid with in order to avoid another credit card fee charge).

While I certainly understand why you chose to make separate bookings, the only way to have avoided this fee was to have you all under one reservation, meaning they would no longer be considered “unaccompanied minors” by the airline. A lesson for others, I suppose.

Since you are traveling to Spain, don’t forget to enter the APIS information about everyone online if you haven’t already done so. And enjoy your trip! You may want to check out my post “Baring my Budget: Madrid and Barcelona” for some money-saving tips for Girona and Barcelona.

231 ELf 11.17.08 at 5:11 pm


Can Australian passport holder be entitled to the refund for having paid the online-check-in fee? Can Australian passport holders choose to check-in online and not pay for online check-in fees?

Also, anyone know how we can complain about the unreasonable credit/debit card fees per flight per person? It is very unreasonable as I work in the banking industry and know that credit card merchants (i.e. Ryanair) are not charged a flat fee per flgiht per person, they are charged a certain percentage per total transaction!

Easyjet is doing the right thing as they only charge you once per total transaction.

Many thanks!

232 poetloverrebelspy 11.18.08 at 12:55 am

ELf, if you meet all the other requirements for online check-in but had to check-in at the airport because of your country of origin, you are entitled to a refund. Your second question doesn’t make sense — but this jist is, yes, everything in this post applies to Aussies, too.

There isn’t anyone at RyanAir who will listen to your complaint. I wouldn’t say Easyjet “is doing the right thing” either — I don’t think it’s fair to charge incredibly high fees (one time OR per leg) that are unavoidable due to the nature of the transaction.

I have been searching for a national or European consumer ombudsman but haven’t found any such thing. I encourage other readers to chime in, if you know to which authority we should funnel our common complaints.

233 Jayne 11.18.08 at 1:59 am


As someone about to embark on the Ryan Air ‘online check in, carry on luggage challenge’ for the first time, I found this website extremely enlightening, many thanks.

My question is…I see that you frequently refer to older mails with a number, for example # 24…I cant find any numbers, am I missing something?

Happy travels, Jayne

234 poetloverrebelspy 11.18.08 at 2:40 am

Jayne, thanks for the tip. It appears the theme has, for whatever reason, deleted comment numbering . . .

I have contacted the theme’s designer and hope the problem will be resolved posthaste.

235 ELf 11.18.08 at 1:08 pm

thanks poet for your reply. oh yeah the question was meant to say can Aussies choose online check-in when the make the booking to avoid paying the airport check-in fees?

sorry I meant to say that Easyjet is more reasonable in their credit card charge at least as it’s only a small flat fee think it was less than £2. But if you book a return flight with Ryanair, it is £4 per flight per person so each person pay £8 per return flights and if you book for more than one person, they are making hugh profit from it.

I remember a few years back, they were more reasonable and you didn’t have to pay a fee if you book using your debit card but now only some stupid card that no body use is exempt for the credit card fees.

still searching for the right consumer ombudsman for this kind of complaint. But found this so far:





but not sure which one is suitable for this kind of unfair fees/charges……..

236 poetloverrebelspy 11.18.08 at 1:38 pm

ELf, unless things have changed, EasyJet charges 7.50 euros per booking?! That’s more than I used to pay for a round-trip flight on RyanAir (with their stupid fees, too). You rightly note that this fee structure gets absurd as the number of passengers increases.

To stick it to RyanAir here, you’ll want to make as many separate credit-card transactions as possible to increase their costs, since there is no additional fee (and in fact, a number of possible benefits) to you for doing so. Make them *earn* that absurd profit!

237 Cat 11.20.08 at 8:05 pm

I am an american and recently flew Ryanair to Ireland. When I bought the tickets I chose online check-in and also bought priority seating for my family of 5. Americans must check in at the counter so each way it cost us 5 euro per person to check in. So it cost us 50 euro round trip just to check up. I was quite annoyed and figured I would never fly Ryanair again. Luckily we were told we can write to request a refund for those fees. We will see what kind of hassle it is and if we actually receive the refund. I was told as of if tickets were bought after November 1, 2008 it went up to 10 euro per person to check in. We only had carry-ons.

238 Umarn 11.20.08 at 11:20 pm

Do all EU passengers with 0 checked bags and online check-in receive complimentary priority boarding? Does it appear printed on the e-ticket?

In the case of a US passenger with 0 checked bags who selected “EU passport holder” on the webform but checks in at the airport to get a ticket, do they get priority boarding?

If the 2 people “must” sit next to each other, to try to guarantee this, is it best to pay the priority boarding for the US passenger or both of them?


I got a Visa Electron just to bypass their card fees. Were I travelling alone, being an EU passport holder, during this sale I could book 1500 return flights all over europe for the amount it will cost me to get to and from the airport by bus just once.

Would it be possible to purchase 10 seats on one flight at £0.02 each under my name to guarantee the chance that we could sit together? Is that explicitly banned under their T&Cs or something

239 poetloverrebelspy 11.21.08 at 12:01 am

Umarn, priority boarding is now a service provided for additional fee only.

If you are buying 2-cent flights, it is unlikely that overcrowding will be a problem, as the sale flights are on days when overall passenger numbers are lower.

If you choose to purchase priority boarding, it should be enough to buy it just for one person, who can board and hold a seat next to them free for the second person.

Purchasing 10 tickets will not guarantee anything, and they may in fact cancel the repeat bookings as errors.

Enjoy your trip!

240 Adam Hildebrandt 12.17.08 at 10:18 am

I would like to complain against Ryanair discriminatory policy towards non-EU passport holders as well, whom they refuse online check-in without any logical reason. Their competitors, like Easyjet, Airberlin, etc. do not have such a discriminatory policy and the visa checking argument is nothing more than ridiculous! In decent airlines the airport staff does it at the gate without any problems! And the EU laws give equal rights to EU residents and spouses of the EU citizens, which makes Ryanair pure discriminators. I and my other numerous friends are starting a campaign against their discriminatory policy in EU authorities and various other anti-discriminatory organizations to add as many tonnes of stones to their sinking ship as possible! Please follow suit and complain anywhere you can!

241 Aussie 12.18.08 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for this infomative site.
I am an Australian.
Do you know how I can get a Visa Debit Electron Card as no banks in Australia offer it?
Also is there any possibility ast all (even 5% chance) that my ticket would be cancelled if I ticked check in online (to avoid to fee) but actually checked in at the airport?
Much apprecaited.

242 Marcus 01.05.09 at 1:33 am

Hello, great great blog entry here.
But the game just got more interesting. Ryanair is now using touchscreen terminals instead of people to check in at the airport, if you dont have to check in any luggage.
So can anyone tell me why it is 10 pounds to click on their computer in comparison to mine at home???
We (my columbian wife an me) just flew to germany to my parents(I am german) and noone from ryanair checked our passports before we boarded the flight. (security checked as usual) This pretty much means, apart from the print out from their computer or my printer at home, there is zero difference in the checking process(everyone can only check the passport and visa really).

No what is the 10 pounds used for?

Anyways, here is my question. We booked both already and have chosen online chec-in, where would my wife have to go to get her booking changed from online to airport and get the money refunded(at the same time).

By the way, has anyone tried to check in online and then instead of doing this, or in addition of this, check in over the airport terminals. Maybe there is a niche in the process here.

Also does anyone know a ongoing process to sue the company for discrimination, I would seriously like to help.
A shame we dont have a Nader in the UK(or do we?)

243 John Sourcer 01.05.09 at 9:02 pm

Just got done by Ryanair in the same fashion. Travelling on an SA passport to Dublin for 2 nights with my sister from England. Could check her in online but had to pay £10 on the way out and E10 on the way back. On top we were charged a £10 per person debiit card charge even though we only paid with 1 card.

244 Eurootto 01.06.09 at 1:48 pm

I, a US citizen, recently travelled from PISA to ALGHERO with only hand-carry luggage. I had done on-line check in with priority boarding. As the agent was preparing to start boarding he noticed my passport and sent me out to do airport checking, a cost of 12 euros. On the return trip I went to the check-in counter, gave the agent my on-line check in receipt and he gave me a boarding pass, a cost of 0 euros… Bottom line – it all depends on the agents at the airport. I am now waiting for the refund… let’s see.

I have contacted out-law.com to see what there take on this discrimination is…. I will post if I get anything back from them.

Keep up the fight!

245 James 01.08.09 at 3:50 pm

Just some extra information based on my recent experience flying from Stansted. I’m on a New Zealand passport and have twice in the past successfully used the technique here to avoid the airport check-in fee.

However flying from Stansted over Xmas, they seem to have installed automated check-in machines which you are forced to use. These machines unfortunately refuse to check you in, and since there are no manual check-in desks you can’t reason with a real person :( Hopefully they don’t roll these out everywhere!

246 caroline - Milan 01.12.09 at 1:37 pm

Hi – thanks for all the great advice which is much appreciated and has been often used to save money and time on Ryanair flights.

We have used online check-in from Milan Bergamo (our nearest airport) to travel to a variety of destinations. However today I have been trying to book flights from Milan to Rome and it appears that on-line check-in is no longer available on this route. ( We are not travelling with bags, infants or sports equipment which are the exclusions listed ). I have looked on http://www.ryanair.com/site/webcheckin/webcheckinroutes.html and it seems that online check-in is no longer available for any Italian airports.

Do you have any idea why this is – and if online check-in is not available is ther any way we can avoid the check-in charge at the airport. ??

247 tatiana 01.16.09 at 12:26 pm

James, were you finaly able to check in?

I am going to fly from Bremen to Stokholm next week and have no idea weather or not they installed this machines there also.
Can anyone suggest what to do if i bought tickets with the online check in option that I have not used, and there is only automatic check in in the airport? i am not against paing some fee, I just do not want to miss the plane.

248 Kate 01.23.09 at 6:03 pm


Now I am so confused as hell.

I just bought two tickets (one for me but with airport check in cause I’ve got luggage)
The other one is for my boyfriend but he is not carrying any luggage, not even a carrier bag, bare hands :)

I am planning to do a check – in online in his case but one question: Will ryanair charge him if he checks in at the airport.

We both go at the same time so for us it does not make any difference if he checks in at the airport.

We are both EU citizens.


249 Merle Thurbon 01.24.09 at 7:46 pm

Just flew from Stansted to Reus. Was unaware from my booking confirmation that the on line check in was free and that we had to pay £10 each to queue up for a piece of paper to enable us to use the touchscreens. On arrival in Spain, I logged on to my computer and tried to print out on line boarding pass, but Ryanair website told me one or my chosen airports did not support this – 3 times.

On arrival in Reus, the check in queue had a person sitting behind it, but then she told us to queue at another desk for a boarding pass for 20 Euros!

Checked my booking confirmation again on return and can’t see anywhere about paying to check in at the airport.

250 Choon Kit 02.09.09 at 12:11 am

I’ll be flying from Berlin to Stockholm on April.. I used to succeed in avoiding the airport check-in fee by using the above method. But now that I know about these check-in machines…
@James: How did you deal with the check-in kiosk at that time? Did you finally find a way to check in?
@tatiana: Did you see the self-service check-in machines at Bremen and Stockholm airport?
So far I have only heard about check-in kiosks in Stansted and Charleroi…I wonder whether they installed them in Berlin and Stockholm yet…

251 Philip S. 02.12.09 at 4:37 pm

I just booked a flight from London Heathrow to Oslo, and I am from the US and my girlfriend has a German Passport. Neither of us could check in online, and both have to do airport.

I guess I need to simply fax a letter explaining that I want a refund for both and they will credit me? Do I qualify for a refund as we have no checked baggage and only have backpacks?


252 Vladislav 02.12.09 at 4:46 pm

I used to travel a lot with Ryanair recently. As I’m non-EU passport holder I used the trick described above (thanks to the author)! Sometimes it worked sometimes not. After my trips I sent application for airport check-in fees refund to Ryanair and I always got money back on my Visa Electron bank account.

This time I got money back to my bank account from 4 flights, and 2 others were missing at my bank statement although I’ve got by email all 6 refund confirmation.
When I called Ryanair customer support service they told me that if I pay airport check-in fee in cash at the airport they return me money by posting a check to my home address.

Is that true or just a scam? I’ve been waiting for more than a week and haven’t got any check in my mailbox. Moreover I know that banks in Finland charge a reasonable fee from cashing the checks (5€ or more)

253 Valentine 02.13.09 at 6:34 pm

Hi Vladislav,

I got refunds many times either to my card paying for the tickets or the credit card paying for the checking fee (different one). Sometimes I paid cash at airport as well, but I always got refunds to my cards. Never heard of things like posting a check and I don’t think it is true.

254 D 02.16.09 at 10:07 am

If you are from outside of the EU definately select the “online check-in option”. Ryan air will force you to pay in their major hubs, like stansted, where you can attempt to get a refund; but they usually won’t charge you at smaller airports where the agents are generally outsourced from the airport.

255 vladimir 02.18.09 at 12:40 pm

can anyone help me ? i would like to ask if i ve buyed a ticket from berlin to stockholm with 0 luggaes and check in on line i will pay more ? wich fess ? i m scared about what i heard that you can not take a handle lugagge and you need to pay for check in service ? thx thx

256 Ryanair is confusing! 02.26.09 at 6:47 pm

I’m looking to fly with Dublin in a couple of weeks with my friends, and we are all 16.
I feel that charging £10 return to check in at the airport is so outrageous because as we are under 17 we cannot use the online check in facility. Does anyone know why under 18’s are classed as adults and pay adult fare but can’t use the online checkin if flying alone?
Many thanks

257 poetloverrebelspy 02.28.09 at 11:45 am

Caroline in Milan — your link is broken and I can only find that online check-in isn’t available from Romania or Morocco … In this case, you can always TRY to apply for the fee back, but as there is no explicit exception made, there is no guarantee that you are entitled to a refund.

Kate, if you’re on the same reservation, he is unable to check in online. You will both have to pay to check in at the airport. This is why I now recommend making all bookings (incl. all legs of one booking) separately, since there is no financial incentive NOT to do so.

Philip S., why couldn’t your girlfriend with the German passport check in online? Was it because you were both on one reservation (as Kate above)? You will be entitled to a refund, but she will not.

Vladimir, please reread the post carefully as well as the linked pages on the RyanAir website. If your questions are still not answered, please write again with more details about yourself — are you an EU passport holder or not, etc.

Ryanair is confusing!, there is no good reason why Ryanair excludes ANYONE from their online check-in process except that it allows them to make more money from certain segments of their flying population. Travel safe!

258 Ryanair is confusing! 02.28.09 at 3:38 pm

Thanks poetloverrebelspy
See thats why Ryanair are so annoying!
And this new possibility of paying £1 to
use the toilet is ridiculous also!
I hope they do it though, just so people
don’t buy drinks onboard.
It would be hilarious!
Anyway thanks.
I don’t think we’ll be travelling to Dublin anyway,
too much risks with flying Ryanair

259 jason 07.26.12 at 4:00 pm

Now I realize this post is 4 years old, but I would like to add some significant changes that have occurred in this year alone (2012)

Firstly If you now forget your boarding pass, Ryan Air will re-print for you at £60/60 Euros per boarding pass…up from £40 in December 2011.

If you have overweight bags, it’s now £20 per kilo.

Online check -in – 15 kg bag now costs £25, up from £5 last year.

If you decide to go to the airport and then pay for your luggage, it will now cost £100 per 15Kg bag.

Ryan Air have got ever more stricter on the weight and measuring policy and they have got ruder. In many cases if your hand luggage is a cm or two over height, or you are just 500grams over weight they are now refusing to carry you, there are exceptions at some european airports, where they will charge you £100 and put the carry on in the hold.

The Carry on Cabin bag dimensions are as follows H55cmxW40xD20cm, it is always good policy to find bags smaller than what ryan air print.

If a bag says 50CM in height, make sure you physically measure the bag, because those wheels will add at least another 6CM easily.

Make sure to always under pack rather than thinking your safe, and make sure you buy a measuring scale for suitcases…add in the weight of the bag, then fill to around 7.5Kg max..because you need to take into account the weight of the bag itself…further more, you are now only allowed to have 1 cabin bag, which means you can no longer take your cabin bag, a laptop in it’s own bag and an ancillary bag…Ryan Air stipulate that seperate bags must be INSIDE your cabin bag, and it must not be overweight.

In just 12 months, the airline have become excessive in charges, many of which cannot just be ignored. There are many stories recently, of them refusing to let passengers board the plane because their bags which where regulation size would not fit in the Ryan Air measuring device, because the measuring device was actually shorter than what Ryan Air stipulated.

This is why it’s extremely important to try and find as small a cabin bag as possible, if your just going away for 7 or so days, you won’t need to put much in such a sized bag anyway…but if your going for longer…make sure to pay the online price of £25 for your 15kg suitcase, if you don’t do this, they will now charge you £100 per checked suitcase..you have been warned.

UK citizens once again need to show their passports at all UK and European gates, since the abolition of the UK National Identity Card was scrapped…as Ryan Air put it, they will not accept photo id driving licenses for UK citizens…because their nationality cannot be identified..only the passport confirms nationality.

And finally, the amount of people booking online using Ryan air and putting the wrong names in, as increased exponentially…you will be charged a large fee for changing the name on the ticket…be aware if you make a mistake it will be very costly, and in many cases, it would just be better to repay for a new ticket, omitting the same mistake…it depends on how much your flight costs as to whether you do this, in most cases it’s cheaper to rebook in the right name.

Be aware of these changes that Ryan Air have made, and do not fall foul of the added charges..because they will seriously hurt you if you do…a simple £50 flight can easily turn into a £300 flight after they are finished with you..if you can find a similar flight elsewhere for a similar price, then my advice would be to take it…British Airways and BMI both come out cheaper, if you count in checked luggage…

Ryan Air make a big fuss about their FREE cabin baggage allowance..yet it’s free which which ever airline you use..so it’s a complete misnomer and a falsehood in that they are claiming something is unique to them, is also free with other airline….the cheapest flights can easily work out as the most expensive when compared to other airline.

260 jilly m 03.08.13 at 12:55 pm

i have been trying to book a flight to Gibraltar for 2 hours now but because it is almost 6 months in the future i have not had any luck on line, so decided to call them but unable to find a tel no to enquire if they have a service after the summer, so now after reading the letters about them i am going to book with some other airline as can’t stand the hassle and the time wasting

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