Ryanair has changed its online check-in procedure for passengers without reserved seats and from 13 June customers will only be able to 48 hours to two hours before departures.
Passengers who have decided to pay for an assigned seat will still be able to check-in up to two months ahead of the flight, but those miss this narrow window will have to pay £55 to check-in at the airport or £25 for infants.
The airline said the move will give customers who have paid for reserved seating more time to pick their seats. Those customers will be allowed to check-in up to 60 days before flying. Passengers can pay £4 to reserve a standard seat, £13 for priority boarding and £15 for priority seats with extra legroom.
Ryanair added: “This is double the 24 hour check-in period operated by Aer Lingus, British Airways, Lufthansa, Norwegian and Iberia. This will give reserve seat customers more time to select their preferred seats prior to departure.”
Seat allocation has become a pertinent isuse for air passengers who suspect airlines of deliberately splitting up family groups in order to try to get them to pay for seats together, and is being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.
As recently as 2016, Ryanair passengers could check-in for free up to a week before departure, but this was cut to four days and will now move to 48 hours.