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How does seating allocation work with Ryanair if travelling in a group of 6, checking in online and not opting for reserved seats?

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It has indeed changed one year ago. From https://www.ryanair.com/en/terms-and-conditions/regulations-reservedseating/:

ALLOCATED SEATING - ALL FLIGHTS FROM 8 APRIL 2014 ONWARDS

[...]

Customers who do not wish to select and purchase their preferred allocated seat, can check-in online between 7 days and 2 hours before each booked flight and will be allocated a seat free of charge.

I have always booked alone, but I imagine that if you have booked your plane together (selecting more than one passenger in the booking form and paying together) you will be given close-by seats.

If you are multiple people flying together but you have booked separately, you are out of luck. If I were you I would try (for science) checking in online all at the same time, to see if the seats are allocated consecutively or if you can infer a pattern. Please report your findings to us then!

EDIT: more useful links:

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    Quite possibly this answer, especially the info in the last link, is no longer up-to-date. A recent report (in German) suggests seating has become random even when you booked & check in together. – mts Jun 13 '17 at 21:21
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Edit: newer answers indicate that Ryanair have changed procedures. Please note that this info may be out of date

Ryanair seating typically works in that at some point, people are invited to board, a queue forms (it may have already done so) and everyone piles on the plane, taking seats as they find them. If it is important to sit as a group, then your best bet is to pay extra for priority boarding. Otherwise, just sit where you can. Unless among the last to board, finding pairs of seats is not normally a problem.

Note this is all based on my experience of having frequently travelled with Ryanair for a few years, but most recently over a year ago. I bathmat from Ryanair PR and your comment about optional reserved seating that their procedures may have changed.

  • worth noting as well, if your group has young children you will be allowed to go first. Typically they then bus you to the plane on the tarmac and everybody else will pile on behind you, before the opposite doors open at the plane, meaning the groups with children are often last on board as the scrum have piled on to get seats. – The Wandering Dev Manager Apr 25 '15 at 7:19
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    It's not 'just sit where you can'. If you don't choose your own seat (and pay extra), you will get a seat assigned to your boarding pass. – Lewis Apr 25 '15 at 7:33
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    @Lewis then it has indeed changed since I last travelled with Ryanair – CMaster Apr 25 '15 at 7:36
  • This was the case previously with Ryan Air but they now allocate free seat allocation upon check in up to 2 hours before the the flight. – davidb Apr 27 '15 at 13:09

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