Last October, Ukraine International Airlines started charging passengers to print boarding passes at the airport. At the time, economy passengers on domestic and medium-haul international flights who got their boarding passes from the check-in counter were charged a fee of 10EUR per person.
At the time UIA’s Corporate Press Secretary described this as follows:
“We at UIA adopted passenger handling optimization and automation program. Digitalization of the UIA handling procedures empowers us to cut expenditures for check-in counters’ maintenance and services of handling staff at our base and off-base airports. The latter opens doors for cutting tickets fares. We hope our clients will soon get used to checking-in online, appreciate our service speed and convenience, and, therefore, spend less time on pre-flight formalities”.
Charging for a boarding pass at check-in is something we’ve seen from some ultra low cost carriers, though it’s interesting to see that from a full service airline (not that UIA is the world’s most premium airline, but they do offer free food and drinks, as well as free checked bags, in economy).
The airline is now taking this policy even further in two ways:
- As of June 15, 2018, Ukraine International Airlines is increasing their boarding pass fee from 10EUR to 15EUR
- As of August 1, 2018, Ukraine International Airlines will charge passengers a fee to print a boarding pass on all flights, including longhaul ones
That means that if you fly UIA to/from New York (a flight I took last month) in economy, you’d have to pay 15EUR to print your boarding pass.
This is an interesting tactic for the airline to take. While UIA has some of the most attractive transatlantic fares (in both economy and business class), that doesn’t make them an ultra low cost carrier. For that matter, I can’t think of any airline that charges to print boarding passes on longhaul flights (though there might be some I’m just not thinking of).
It’s one thing if UIA had great technology, but when I flew them out of JFK last month, I wasn’t able to check-in online, so that wasn’t even an option for me.
I’ll be curious to see how successful they are with charging this on longhaul flights, as I imagine they’ll get quite a bit of pushback.
(Tip of the hat to Hans Mast)