Spanish judge claims forcing air passengers to print boarding passes is illegal

Ryanair are appealling for the right to charge €40 to passengers with no boarding pass. Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, may be regretting a recent decision to move some of his operations from France to Spain as a Spanish court has ruled he can not force customers to print their own boarding passes.

A judge in Barcelona ruled that under international air travel conventions, Ryanair can not demand passengers print their boarding passes before turning up at the airport or charge them €40 (£34) if they do not, stating: “The customary practice over the years has been that the obligation to provide the boarding pass has always fallen on the airline.”

Ryanair’s response was that it would appeal against the decision, which threatens its ethos of scrapping check-in desks and replacing them with online boarding cards and airport bag drops.

The case was brought to court by a Spanish lawyer whose online company takes legal action against airlines on behalf of passengers. The lawyer turned up at Girona Airport in north-east Spain last May without a boarding pass for his flight to Sardinia, and had to pay €40.

“I like Ryanair in some ways, but it seems to believe it can make up all the rules,” the lawyer commented. “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.”

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