Spanish court tells Ryanair to stop charging passengers without boarding cards

15 January 2011


Little-known loved/loathed Irish airline Ryanair has its nose bloodied in a Spanish court after a swarthy judge decreed that it has no right to force customers to print out their own boarding cards. It was a decision that may have caused steam to fly out of the ears of Ryanair Sky Captain Michael ‘Michael O’ Leary’ O’Leary but we’re not sure to be honest.

The Barcelona-based judge announced to a packed, hushed court that Ryanair can neither demand that passengers turn up with their pre-printed boarding card, nor can they charge them €40 (£34) if they don’t. Apparently it’s all to do with international air travel conventions – conventions that Ryanair have evidently been flouting.

But the controversial airline are refusing to be beaten by the judge and will be appealing against the decision. Their spokesman Daniel de Carvalho, launched into a magnificent tirade following the decision, saying...

“The court is wrong. You need the boarding card to fly. If a passenger arrives without a boarding card, we find an ad hoc solution to their problem. The €40 is a penalty for doing that. We serve the boarding card in exactly the same way that the passenger makes the booking, by internet.

“If the problem is the €40 charge for this service, we'll simply stop offering the service. That, of course, will mean the passenger who arrives without a boarding card cannot fly.”

The man behind the court case is Dan Miró, a Spanish lawyer whose business it is to throw legal action darts at airlines through his company He said: “I like Ryanair in some ways, but it seems to believe it can make up all the rules. It has to observe the law too. The conventions on air travel are ratified not just by Spain but by Ireland and the United Kingdom as well.”

We’ll keep an eye on how Ryanair react to the decision. Our money says that they’ll soon declare themselves to be an independent state, with their own set of laws, enabling them to charge passengers who don’t speak the designated Ryanair language during flights – a language we’re nicknaming ‘Fucking Bullshit’.


TOPICS:   Travel


  • Alexis
    "The €40 is a penalty for doing that." A contractual penalty then Michael? Nicely admitted. Have you incurred a £34 loss from having to print out a new card for a customer? Somehow I doubt it.
  • Andy D.
    Yes. That.
  • steve
    Good show.
  • Chris
    I hate ryanair as much as the average reader on here but whats wrong here? Ryanair aren't demanding that you print your boarding card at home - if you choose to use their service then that's how you are supposed to do it. You are told this when you are purchasing the ticket. Nor do I see a problem with charging customers because they forgot their card (€40 is a bit much tho) but the laws the law..
  • kv
    think of it as a stupidity tax
  • Richard
    I can't understand why people are always slagging them off? I always find them cheaper than all the other airlines, everybody knows when booking that in the end they are going to see the total that they will have to pay. There's plenty of people using the airline, they have huge cash assets, so you can be sure they wont go bankrupt while your away. Anyway not bringing your boarding card is like not bringing your passport or holiday money, they make it clear about printing the card, they always send at least two reminder e-mails. I always do two copies of the boarding passes and put them in different places. Also, never heard of Ryanair staff going on strike.
  • TimB
    I'm not sure where I stand on this. On the one hand, a boarding pass is clearly not optional, and £40 is excessive. A £5 "Service fee" for printing it out for you would have been far easier to defent. Admitting that it's a penalty pretty much fucks up their case, since they're not allowed to impose a penalty. Including it in the base price, and heavily advertising a £40 discount for printing your own would have been a far better way of doing it, and would probably still be a valid approach even if they lose their appeal. But they won't do that. What they'll do is increase every fare, then make a huge fuss about how all their passengers are being forced to pay more because one silly bint couldn't be arsed to print a bit of paper out. In fairness, they'll have a point.
  • Me
    I hate Ryaniar and so this is music to my ears. They are a bunch of c**ts that take the piss - such as "no charge to pay by card" as long as you pay with a card no one can be bothered with all the hassle to get for just one purchase and then by the time they do you'll have changed it to some other equally obscure card. I kind of agree with above though, I would rather they were FORCED to advertise their prices WITH the stupid (unavoidable) extras in, such as online check in FFS. However in the absence of a highly funded overpaid quango to have the balls to act on this, I just have to make do with any judges that stick it to Ryanair.
  • Stu
    TheBIGissue here is you are forced into being unable to print it so you have to pay the charge! What I mean by this is you can only print the boarding card 2 weeks before you fly as that is when ryanair make it available. Which is fine if your flying out but if you have booked a single both ways which is often cheaper andarestaying away for OVER two weeks then you have to print your return card off in Spain. Guess what the place I am renting doesn't have a computer and printer! So now I have to wander around a tiny spanishtown hoping someone will what let me go into their home and access the ryanair website! They have no Internet cafe's! I can show them the boarding card on the website on my phone but they won't accept that. I actually don't mind ryanair as I get cheaper flights to Spain with them than anyone else. But this rule is a bit dodgy!
  • Businessman
    I flew on Ryanair once and for business reasons of cost-effectiveness made the decision to avoid flying with them in the future. Whoa who am I kidding, I just hate them for polluting my world with their borderline satanistic mission to make life unbearable for as many employees and passengers as possible under the pretence of it all being about a quick buck. Although I'm sure they love that too. The fact that I won't be flying with them again reduces my credibility in offering an opinion on boarding passes but as I hate printers too I feel I have to weigh in. I can't stand home printers they are messy and disgusting generating crap everywhere that you didn't really need to print out. Not to mention the ass-raping you have to take on the price of ink and toner. To Ryanair and printer manufacturers everywhere - fuck you very much.
  • me
    I always use my own blood to draw my boarding pass and it is very easy to find paper that had been used just in one side. So I am very environmental friendly and don't use printers.
  • Another A.
    Flying Grenoble-Edinburgh, a former winter route, I checked in with my e-ticket. It was promptly removed from me and I was presented with a new standard boarding card free of charge.
  • Jamie S.
    I'm thinking of setting up a mobile printing station and offering a free of charge printing service. Set myself outside the Ryanair area and see the react.
  • Bitterwallet B.
    [...] Friday afternoon, Ryanair found itself in trouble with the law – Spanish law, but the law nevertheless. A judge in Barcelona ruled that the budget airline [...]
  • Jenni C.
    Every time I check in with Ryanair, I hand them the "boarding card" I printed, and from that, they simply enter the reservation number into their computer and print baggage tags and a boarding pass. What if I spilled coffee on the paper I printed, and the ink smeared making it unreadable? I've never tried it, but I'd bet the procedure would be exactly the same with or without. Still, I'm sure they would still get their 34 quid. After all, business is slow, and to attract business they need to claim their fares are lower than anyone else, and so it's necessary for them to extract their profits from anywhere they can, and the easiest way is by legally shaking-down unsuspecting tourists. This and about 50 other profit-enhancing policies simply makes Ryanair what it is: The "bait and switch" airline.

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