I visited Spain this month for the first time. I boarded a Ryanair flight for the first time from Sevilla to Barcelona. Upon checking in, the lady at the desk told me that since I did not check-in online before my flight, then I would be charged an 'airport check-in fee' of 45 euros (49.5 euros including tax). She showed me on my online booking the mention of the necessity to check-in online at least 2 hrs before the flight. This was the first time this happens to me in all my years of flying, and upon research, few other airlines even have this fee, let alone such a high fee. I had also seen that the check-in fee was cut down by Ryanair in recent years, closer to 15 GBP. I paid the 49.5 euro fee and boarded the flight.
1- I found it shocking that a fee close to the ticket price itself would be charged for the few minutes of the check-in process. I would have understood if it was around 5-10 euros, but this fee felt like a violation to me and was a case of price gouging.
2- I also witnessed two travellers from Hong Kong go through exactly the same experience on the same flight right after I paid the fee, and we agreed that it was unacceptable.
3- First-time travellers would be lucky to know about this fee before boarding despite the mention to check-in online on the flight confirmation email, since fees with this name generally are not part of the consciousness of the global travel community.
Ryanair responded simply by saying the fee was part of its terms and conditions.
After that, I responded saying that I did not have any of this information before I went to the airport. I said that I still found this exorbitant fee unjust and that I was sure I wouldn't be the last of the first-time customers to experience this.
They responded by repeating it was part of their terms and conditions, and that an email was sent to us before the flight to check-in online to avoid penalty fees (it was sent, but I didn't open; such pre-flight emails are always sent to us).
I found this response to be dismissive, apathetic and unfulfilling. I do not expect any further action on this regard as the issue is resolved; however I am not happy with the resolution itself and have opted to post my experience here.