Recent articles in the Irish Independent suggest that people are making complaints about Ryanair’s seating policy. The summer season is in full swing and people are complaining about being split up when travelling.

Passengers who do not select a seat on Ryanair are automatically allocated a seat. The issue is that people on the same booking are being seated in different parts of the aircraft and not beside each other.

The Evidence

According to this article, people can see free seats together but their party is still being split up rather than allocated seats together.

In my experience, the seat map does not necessarily reflect the reality of the situation. A lot changes between booking and online check-in and even more between the start of online check-in and the flight.

The Defense

Ryanair make a logical defense. They state that most people choose aisle and window seats which means that the middle seats are the ones that are usually free. Everyone knows this is completely true. I have sat in the middle 11 times in 417 flights to date and not once did I actively choose this.


The airline also points to an average load factor of 95% on its flights. This backs up the claim that mostly middle seats would be available for those who do not pay.

Seating Costs

Seating on Ryanair is not exactly expensive. The majority of the seating is priced at €2 which is peanuts. If you want to save yourself the €2 then you get what you’re given.

Other seats such as exit rows and seats at the front which include priority boarding cost more. Even so, I think €2 is very reasonable to select a seat. It is certainly far below the €15 that Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) charge per seat within Europe.

Overall Thoughts

This is a storm in a teacup as far as I am concerned. If someone is too cheap to pay the €2 or forgets to check-in online early then there is no reason why there should be any complaint. Everyone in Europe is well aware of Ryanair and the way they operate so none of this should come as a surprise.

What do you think about this? If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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All images via Ryanair.