Spanish Judge Nixes 'Unfair' Airline Fee

Posted Jan 18th 2011 02:01 PMUpdated Jan 18th 2011 02:59 PM

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A Spanish judge knocked down a fee charged by Ryanair, an Irish airline that prides itself for charging fees for everything beyond the basic seat.

Ryanair required passengers to print their own boarding passes at home or work; those who didn't were charged €40 (about $53.50) to have a boarding pass printed at the airport.

But Judge Barbara Maria Cordoba of the Barcelona commercial court says airlines, not passengers, are obliged to issue boarding cards.

"I declare unfair and therefore void the contractual clause in which Ryanair obliges the passenger to be the one who brings the printed boarding pass to travel or face a penalty," she says in her ruling.

The Irish Times says it could be a "landmark ruling with implications on the airline's charging policies across Europe."

Ryanair charges rock-bottom fares – currently it offers a sale fare of about $11.18 from Bristol, U.K., to Beziers in southern France – but it is a pioneer in the field of airline fees.

It was among the first to charge for checked bags, priority boarding, call center reservations and coffee, soft drinks and snacks.

Those policies have been copied by low-cost carriers in Europe and, more recently, by mainstream airlines in the U.S.

It also charges all passengers an "administration fee" of about €5 ($8) unless they pay with a MasterCard pre-paid debit card.

Ryanair says it plans to appeal the ruling. The airline maintains the printing of boarding passes by passengers is a clearly understood part of its contract with customers.

The carrier also threatens to dispense with the penalty fee and shut down its ability to printing boarding passes at the airport if it loses on appeal.

"Passengers who arrive at the airport without the agreed pre-printed boarding card will not be able to pass through security or board their aircraft," says the airline.

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basketpam

It's about time some country do something about the way airlines around the world are nickle and diming passengers to death. Pretty soon they're going to be charging for the LUXURY of being able to use a seat or even the toilet. I would just love to smack up side the head the first person to think of this stupid practice of all of these extra fees. Traveling by air USED to be an enjoyable and exciting experience. Now it's one of the MOST stressful and miserable experiences a person can have. I don't understand why airlines don't just charge the price they need and leave it at that. All they're doing by lowering the ticket prices and then gouging the customers in other ways is building VERY bad customer feelings. What's the difference, you either pay for the trip up front or on the flight. I personally would rather know up front and pay for up front any costs I'm going to have rather than be hit with all these other things in flight or at check-in. It's the same with the OUTRAGEOUS taxes added on to the cost of an airline ticket. Sometimes it's so bad it's almost like bieng shell-shocked. In the US one of the worst 3 decisions ever made by the Congress of the United States was deregulating the airlines. The other two were the deregulation of the phone company and lately the electric companies. Next time someone in Congress suggest such an action, they should be taken to the door and physically tossed down the steps and never let back in.

January 19 2011 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to basketpam's comment
Teresa Duffy

I agree with you but Ryanair was a good airline until greedy O'Leary took it over. Now he wants to take over Aer Lingus "god for bid" he would destroy that airline also. The fair should be up front and no extra charges At least aer lingus is a decent airline to travel with. As you said traveling should be an unstressful experience but not with ryanair. Everyone should campaign on websites to encourage people to stop flying with them. This will tell you how mean O'Leary is, the time of the tusamui BA and BMI flew passengers free to the UK. Ryanair charged them to change their flights to Dublin, now was this mean? O'Leary trained with Southwest in the US but Southwest is not as bad with fees.

November 02 2012 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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