Low-cost European airline easyJet PLC launched Internet check-in for its passengers flying out of Britain on Thursday, a move that echoes the service unveiled by rival Ryanair Holdings last month.

EasyJet said its remote check-in service is available on all routes from London's Gatwick and Stansted airports and Edinburgh in Scotland and is being rolled out across Europe.

Passengers with hand baggage only will be able to bypass queues at the check-in desk at the airports and will need to be at the gate just 15 minutes before departure.

Ryanair announced last month that beginning in mid-March all European Union passengers with just hand luggage will be able to check in online, allowing them to avoid lines at both check-in and the departure gate.

Ryanair's plan also involves penalties for passengers who choose to check luggage into the hold -- they will be charged 2.50 pounds (3.50 euros; $4.30) a bag.

Some full-service carriers already allow passengers to check in online, but this is the first time no-frills operators have ventured down the same route in the highly competitive European short-haul market.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times