Newest Review: ... and colour scheme is a bit nauseating but I suppose the marketing team at Ryanair have a warped sense of what is tasteful. I flew f... more
Ryanair's new 'Check n Go' Service - Is it worth a go?
Member Name: koshkha
Date: 12/09/06, updated on 17/01/10 (18670 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to do, no check-in queues and first to board
Disadvantages: Hard to meet current baggage restrictions, penalties if you fail to comply
This review was written in 2006 and much of the info is now TOTALLY out of date. In the three years since they introduced Check'n'go, the blue and yellow airline has given a lot of time to devoting ever more devious ways to torture their customers and create massive stress amongst most of them. Check'n'go started as a novelty but now the only kind of check in you CAN do is on-line AND the rotters make you pay for it. So PLEASE if you have landed on this review from a search engine (and over 11000 people did already) treat this as a matter of historical record because it's not currently active. Oh, and please, if you are a member, remember that it WAS true when I wrote it and don't be nasty and give it a lousy rating just because it's no longer true.
I don't think there is much I or anyone else could say about the philosophy and service of Ryanair that hasn't been said many times before. The internet is clogged with Ryanair comment and opinion and it would be hard to add much of any significance to the general love-hate relationship that most of us have with this controversial airline.
So if you are looking for a comprehensive Ryanair review, look elsewhere. All I am aiming to do is focus on one aspect of Ryanair service - this is the 'Check n Go' online check-in. I'd like to tell you how to do it and what you need to consider when deciding whether it will work for you.
This weekend my husband and I were booked on a flight from London Stansted to Eindhoven in Holland. Our flight was at the characteristically unfriendly hour of 7 am on a Saturday morning. I have never been a 'morning person' so I was looking for anything that would make the experience slightly less awful than normal. I've often used easyJet's online check-in so I was pleased to see that Ryanair had introduced something similar.
How does it work?
** A few days before you travel
Go to the Ryanair website and look for the button marked 'Online Check-In'- it's at the top right hand side or on the left hand side, about an inch down. It's a good idea to check out the rules well in advance to make sure that you will be able to live with their very strict terms and conditions. As with all things in Ryanair world if you make any mistakes you and your wallet will be made to suffer! It's a good idea to print off a copy of what you can and can't take and make sure you can fit with the current rules.
** Between four and 48 hours before your flight is due to leave, go to the website again and click on the 'online check-in' button. You will need to have:
1. the booking reference number for your flight
2. your passport and the passports of all those travelling with you for whom you want to do online check-in.
Read the terms and conditions and, if you are sure you can meet them, click on the 'Agree' button. You will be presented with four standard security questions for which you need to tick boxes to confirm -
1. that you have a valid ID
2. that you are aware of the hand luggage restrictions
3. nobody could have interfered with your luggage
4. you are not carrying anything for someone else.
You will then be asked for your booking reference and your flight routing. On the next screen you will enter your passport number(s) and expiry date(s). After this, the system will generate an Adobe acrobat file which you print to get your boarding pass(es). That's all there is to it. If you don't have adobe acrobat on your computer you can download it for free. If you botch the printing, you can try again any time up to 4 hours before the flight.
In theory if you are on a short trip you might be able to print your return passes at the same time if the flight is within 48 hours. Bear in mind that if you do this and subsequently increase the amount of luggage you are carrying for the return flight, you could be up a certain creek without a wotsit - which in Ryanair terms means, you'll pay through the nose.
It sounds so easy, why WOULDN'T I use the service?
Under the current heightened regulations on what you can and can't take on a plane, lots of the things you'd need for even the shortest of trips are now banned - and bag size is reduced to no more than the size of a slim laptop case - 45 cm by 35 cm by 16 cm. On flights out of the UK the airports have zero-tolerance on the bag sizes. You will not be able to get away with anything that exceeds the allowance and you don't get an extra allowance for a handbag or document bag. So even though Ryanair allow you a theoretical 10 kg hand luggage allowance, you'll have to be carrying gold bars to get close to that weight in such a small bag.
Some of the things you can't take which might influence your decision on whether to use this service include toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lipstick and perfume. I'm a very low maintenance woman but even I found that tough. It's fine if (as we were) you are going to visit friends who are happy to supply all of those things, or if you are willing to buy small sizes in the airport shop (which you won't be able to bring back with you). If you wear contact lenses, you can only get away with a couple of days worth of disposables or your regular contacts in their small case - no cleaning fluids can be taken.
Of course all the normal prohibited items still apply - penknives, scissors, fireworks (shame, about those), knitting needles, baseball bats and so are all barred, as they have been for many years.
What are the advantages?
If you have ever used easyJet's online check-in you will be in for a nice surprise with Ryanair. With the orange airline you are automatically put into the 'last to board' set of passengers if you check in online. Their attitude is that THEY are doing YOU a favour by letting you check in. With Ryanair, the attitude is that YOU are doing THEM a favour and so you get to board first. If you are lucky, you even get priority ahead of those annoying families with children (ever noticed how one 13 year old seems to take a dozen relatives with him?).
So not only do you not have to turn up so early, not have to stand in line to check in, not have to wait for your bags on arrival, you also get to pick the best seats!
Advantages in brief:
1. Bypass the check in lines at the airport and go straight to security. This means you can leave home later or use a car park further from the terminal and still be ready to go through security in plenty of time.
2. Advanced boarding - takes the stress out of the scrum for boarding
It's Ryanair so there must be disadvantages
1. Very tight restrictions on what you can take under the current airport regulations - not Ryanair's fault but something you have to live with
2. If you lose your boarding pass and have to get a new one issued at the airport, you will be charged an extra 20 Euros for the privilege
3. If you get to security and they say your luggage is too big, too heavy or contains a banned item, you have to go back, line up, pay 20 Euros for a new boarding pass plus an extra fee of £5 or 7 Euros per bag for checking your luggage.
There are exclusions
Not all passengers are entitled to use the service. It's not available to the following groups:
1. Unaccompanied minors - children between 14 and 18 who are travelling alone
2. Passengers with infants
3. Passengers with wheelchairs, prams etc
4. Blind or visually impaired passengers
5. Passengers who have requested special assistance
How about the flights back to the UK?
I am fairly baffled about how any overseas airport is supposed to ensure that none of the banned items get on a UK-bound plane. There was no sign of any special attention being paid to our bags at Eindhoven. There was little in the way of control on hand luggage size either - with plenty of people carrying more than one bag, most of them well over the official size limit. So chances are you might get away with a bit more leniency on the way home to the UK. However, if you stick to the letter of the law, nobody can ever pull you up or challenge you.
As someone who was flying on the 10th August - the day when the security levels went sky-high and nobody was allowed anything more than a wallet and a passport (you could take your glasses but not a case for them) I'm probably more aware than most people about the new regulations. So be sure that whether you are using the Check n Go service or not, do go to the website and check the latest info on hand luggage restrictions. It's YOUR responsibility to know - not Ryanair's to force you to read the info.
Summary: If you can manage with just a small bag, give it a go.
More reviews in the field of Airline
- THANK YOU WRITERS
- I would rather walk
- The flight is nice but the will lie at any cost to please you
- Don't Fly LUFTHANSA.
- Flying with Alitalia
- My Qantas Journey
- BA - excellent service on slightly older planes
- 4 very unhappy customers
- They do what they say they do, and don't claim to be anything else.