Is this a fee coming to an airport near you soon? Effective next Wednesday, Ryanair passengers who fail to print out a boarding pass at home and present it at check in will be charged a £40 (or 40 Euro) "boarding card reissue fee." The company is replacing its £10 airport check in fee with a £5 online check in fee. By October 1, the airline will eliminate check in desks at its various airports. We have a sneaky supsicion that in the not too distant future, US airlines will charge passengers a fee if they do not check in for their flights either at home or by using an automated airport kiosk. Just a hunch. After all, United and US Airways just announced $5 fees for not checking bags in on line before leaving home.
Clearly, checking in with a real live person costs airlines money. If you do it all yourself, including paying for your bags and dropping them off in the luggage chute without human intervention, the airlines can eliminate staff and speed the check in process. Why wouldn't they do this?