Published on : Wednesday, September 6, 2017
ACCORDING TO A NEW BAGGAGE RULE, Millions of Ryanair passengers will be forced to put their weekend bags and small suitcases in the hold from November 1 – unless they cough up £10 per return flight for priority boarding.
In what amounts to the biggest overhaul of its baggage policy in four years, the low-cost airline said only those who pay the fee will be allowed to take bags weighing 10kg, measuring up to 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, into the cabin. Everyone else will be able to keep a small handbag or laptop bag (35cm x 20cm x 20cm), but will have their bigger cases taken from them at the gate and placed in the hold (free of charge).
On busy flights Ryanair has for some time prevented the last 40 or 50 passengers from taking wheelie suitcases on board. Knowing this, customers will head to the gate as early as possible, and start queuing, to avoid being parted from their luggage – and enduring a wait at baggage reclaim. Others will travel with a backpack or holdall rather than a wheelie case. Now the only way to avoid having a carry-on bag taken away will be to pay the priority boarding fee of £5 per person per flight. It will mean passengers who regularly use standard weekend bags and small suitcases as hand luggage will have to reconsider their luggage options.
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, said the announcement was a response to passengers taking too much luggage on board and causing delays, something Ryanair has been particularly critical of.
Jacobs said that Ryanair was already “tagging” – that is, putting hand luggage into the hold – 50 bags per flight anyway, which was impacting flight punctuality, and that the change in policy will ensure consistency in how baggage was treated by the airline’s staff at airports across Europe and help keep turn-around times down.
Despite admitting that some passengers would oppose the changes, Ryanair claimed the move was part of its “Always Getting Better” programme, and in an attempt to encourage more people to check in their luggage, it has also cut checked bag fees from £35 per person per flight to £25 and increase checked baggage allowance from 15kg to 20kg. Jacobs said this would cost the airline an estimated €50m a year in baggage fees, but added it hoped revenue from priority boarding charges would make up the difference.
Jacobs said airline staff would “use their discretion” to decide if a passenger’s bag is small enough to be permitted on board; Ryanair’s rules state that they should measure no more than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm. “It will need to fit under the seat in front,” he added.
Bags brought to the gate that are found to weigh more than 10kg, or that measure in excess of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, will be subject to a £50/€50 oversized cabin bag fee and placed in the hold.
Back in January Ryanair suggested that it was deliberating upon stricter rules because passengers were attempting to pack “half the contents of their home” into them. The low-cost airline began allowing customers to bring along an additional smaller cabin bag free of charge in October 2013 as part of an overhaul of fees and charges aimed at improving its image.