Ryanair Lisbon airport
A Ryanair plane taxis at Lisbon airport Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Ryanair has rubbished reports about the change to its charging policy, adding that passengers have never been asked to pay to download boarding passes.

The Irish carrier has issued a statement after several reports suggested that passengers have been asked to pay a fee between £7 and £21 to download their boarding pass or face long queues at the airport to get a physical one.

Even though several travellers have reportedly complained on social media about having to pay a "scandalous" new fee to access their boarding passes online, Ryanair has denied all the allegations.

"This is false. There is no charge for a Ryanair digital boarding pass — ever. All Ryanair passengers can pay for a reserved seat if they wish or if passengers wish to avoid this seat fee, they can select a randomly allocated seat entirely free of charge," a Ryanair spokesperson said.

The low-cost airline has a seating policy that involves customers either buying reserved seats or getting free seats. For the latter option, the seats will randomly "be assigned to you free of charge when you check in, between 24 hours and 2 hours prior to departure," according to a webpage about its seat policy.

Many passengers last week took to social media to complain about this issue. They claimed if they chose the option of randomly allocated seats, they were told they would have to collect their paper boarding pass at the airport, as per reports in the English media. Meaning, the passengers had to book a paid seat, which typically cost between £7 and £21, before they were allowed to download their boarding pass.

"When and why did you start this carry on? I now have to QUEUE to collect my boarding pass at the airport?" one passenger wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Another user wrote: "I just can't believe your new policy of not allowing passengers to create a boarding pass (mobile or print-out) unless they buy a seat, forcing them to join a check-in queue (30m or longer) to do so for no other reason for you to make a few quid. Scandalous."

A traveller said that staff at the airport check-in desk told them the new policy was only for the last 20 passengers checking in for the flight, and the charge had been introduced in the past few days, according to BBC.

Earlier this year in October, a Ryanair flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a "minor technical issue" emerged on board. While exact details of the incident were not revealed, some reports claimed that an emergency was declared after "a door was left open".