That didn’t take long! Ryanair instituted a new fee system last November for carryon bags that would require people pay extra to take a normal sized carryon bag onboard. Under the new system, your ticket would only allow you to carryon a backpack/similar that would fit under the seat.
Ryanair Fined Millions for New Carryon Baggage Policy
Link: AGCM Ruling
“Unfair” and Deceptive Baggage Policy
Now just a couple of months later, a European country’s authority has filed fees against Ryanair and Wizzair for this policy. Italy’s Competition Agency has concluded an investigation that finds this new practice to be deceptive and an “unfair commercial practice” for consumers.
The basis for the penalty filing is this (taken from the Agency’s website and translated by Google):
”From the investigation it emerged that corresponds to the consumption habits of almost all passengers traveling with a large hand luggage in tow.
In addition, hand baggage is an essential element of the air transport service and its transport must be permitted without incurring any additional costs. In fact, also on the basis of the European legislation on air transport, the foreseeable and unavoidable supplements must be included in the price of the basic service presented since the first contact and, therefore, can not be separated from this with the request for further sums.”
“Hand Baggage is an Essential Element…”
I like that part about how hand baggage is an essential element of the air transport service. 🙂 The truth is that it is reasonable to assume that most people purchase a plane ticket, even with the ultra low cost carriers, and plan to take a small duffel or roller on board – at least. With the new Ryanair and Wizzair policies, items larger than a small backpack, purse, briefcase, etc would need to be paid for at the gate.
That is a somewhat unreasonable expectation to make – that people would travel with just a small bag like that. Sure, you are told and warned (and maybe even scared) along the booking process with the notice that you will need to pay extra at the gate if you do not buy the up sell for a larger bag now.
One thing that could go for Ryanair with this ruling is the fact that they actually include priority boarding as part of paying for the second, larger carryon bag. So, I wonder if they simply restructure that wording in some way to make it acceptable to the Italian authority?
No Wiggle Room on Baggage Sizes
I have seen firsthand how Ryanair handles this, too, at the gate. On the flights I was on, there was really no mercy given on the size. Even if you could have smashed a larger bag to fit under the seat, you were not allowed to bring such a bag that exceeded the dimensions unless you paid up.
With this new ruling, both Ryanair and Wizzair have 60 days to show what measures they will make to be in compliance. The easy thing to do would be to simply charge a bit more to absorb that extra bag fee cost but both airlines also know that this would not attract as many people to buy as the current prices do.
It is nice to see how European agencies routinely look out for the consumers!