Ryanair has hit back at claims that it deliberately separates families and groups travelling with the airline.
Passengers had expressed anger recently that those who booked non-allocated seats were split across the aircraft, even though adjacent seats seemed to be available.
However, the airline today said that this is not the case and middle seats were simply more widely available.
“The reason for more middle seats being allocated is that more and more passengers are taking our reserved seats and these passengers overwhelmingly prefer aisle and window seats, which is why people who choose random seats are more likely to be allocated middle seats.
"Some random seat passengers are confused by the appearance of empty seats beside them when they check-in up to four days prior to departure. The reason they can’t have these window or aisle seats is that these are more likely to be selected by reserved seat passengers many of whom only check-in 24 hours prior to departure."
It also denied that it was trying to "force people to pay for reserved seats".
“This is entirely a matter of customer choice. We are very happy to facilitate any customer who wants a free of charge random seat but we are also going to do our best to facilitate customers who are willing to pay for a reserved seat."