Following a court ruling in Spain that Ryanair’s £40/€40 fee for issuing boarding cards is illegal, Ryanair has said it will fight the decision.
The no-frills carrier was taken to court by a Spanish lawyer who had first-hand experience of the fee, having been charged €40 last year.
A Spanish judge ruled yesterday that Ryanair’s policy of fining passengers who fail to print their boarding passes is illegal, and that the airline must print the document for free.
According to reports, judge Barbara Maria Cordoba Ardao said the fines were abusive because aviation law requires airlines to issue boarding passes.
In response, Ryanair has issued a statement saying the Spanish commercial court’s decision is “bizarre and unlawful” and threatening to stop printing boarding passes altogether in Spain.
Stephen McNamara, a Ryanair spokesman, said passengers agree to the airline’s conditions when they book their tickets.
“Ryanair cannot understand how the Barcelona Commercial Court can reinterpret a contractual agreement freely entered into between 73m passengers and Ryanair, after the event,” said McNamara.
He added: “Ryanair’s low fare, low cost services appeal to millions of passengers because they are simple, efficient and agreed by each passenger at the time of booking.
“Without these procedures, Ryanair would have to re-employ numerous handling agents at all airports to issue manual boarding cards for passengers who simply “forgot” to bring their pre-printed boarding passes or who failed to comply with their original agreement to check-in online.”
If the ruling is upheld on appeal, McNamara said Ryanair will “be forced” to stop offering a Boarding Pass Reissue facility at airports.
“Passengers who are not in possession of a valid Boarding Pass for their flight will not be able to pass through security, and will be unable to travel,” he said. “These passengers will then need to make a new booking for the next available flight at the current fare.”
According to Ryanair, more than 99% of its passengers arrive at the airport with their boarding cards.