Ryanair passengers will soon no longer be able to take small suitcases with them for free.
In a move described by one industry expert as ‘dangerous if it [Ryanair] wants to remain a key player among budget airlines’ all passengers from November will need to pay for any bag that won’t fit under the seat in front.
The current bag policy stipulates that unless a passenger has paid a nominal fee for ‘priority boarding’, if they turn up to the gate with a bag bigger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm it is placed in the hold at no extra charge.
Ryanair is ending its policy of storing passengers’ big bags in the hold for free when they bring them to the gate. It only brought in the policy at the beginning of the year
This graphic shows how Ryanair’s new charges will be applied
A diagram from Ryanair showing how the small bag size allowance for passengers will increase
But from November Ryanair has said that passengers wanting to bring a big bag with them will have to pay between £8 and £10 for a piece of luggage up to 10kg or £25 for a bag over that weight.
The fee has to be paid either at the booking stage or at check in – and the bag has to be checked in.
If a passenger turns up to the gate with a bag too large to be classed as hand luggage they will be charged a £25 gate bag fee.
However, Ryanair’s priority boarding rules stay the same. If a passenger opts to pay for this, which costs between £6 and £8, they can still take two bags with them on board with no extra charge.
All passengers will still be allowed to take one ‘small personal bag’ on board, but this must be small enough to be placed under the seat in front.
Ryanair said it was increasing the size of the small carry-on bag that remains free to take on board from 14 to 20 litres.
Ryanair has already altered its luggage policy twice this year and says the latest changes were necessary because too many passengers were arriving at the gates with big bags and placing them in the hold has been causing delays.
Twitter user ‘Ken h’, reacting to the new charges, said: ‘Instead of speeding up boarding on #Ryanair flights, the announcement of £6 carry on, or £10 small bag in the hold charges should encourage customers to move to other passenger airlines.’
SamuEL Penster, meanwhile, responded with heavy sarcasm: ‘Ryanair: Oh you’d like to breathe while on our planes would you? Oxygen £6.99.’
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘From November 2018 we are introducing a new lower-cost 10kg checked bag and changing our carry-on bag policy to eliminate boarding/flight delays. Priority Boarding customers will continue to enjoy two free carry-on bags.
‘All other (non-priority) customers will be allowed one free (small) carry-on bag, and those who wish to check in a second bigger 10kg bag can do from €/£8 at the time of booking.
From November Ryanair has said that passengers wanting to bring a second big bag with them will have to pay between £8 and £10 for a piece of luggage up to 10kg or £25 for a bag over that weight
WHAT IS RYANAIR’S BAGGAGE POLICY?
Even seasoned fliers find Ryanair’s baggage policy confusing, so here’s what you need to know.
The point of confusion with the policy centres around the carrier’s assertion that every customer is granted a ‘two free carry-on bag allowance’.
This needs clarification, because what the airline actually means is that all customers can bring two free carry-on bags with them to the airport and up to the gate, but that the larger of the two bags will be transferred at the gate to the hold.
Unless a ‘priority boarding’ fee is paid.
Priority Boarding can be purchased at time of flight booking for £5 or £6 on selected routes. It can be added for £6 or £7 on selected routes up to 30 minutes before scheduled departure time on the Ryanair App.
However, from November 1, the baggage policy is set to change again.
Passengers without priority boarding wanting to bring a second big bag with them will have to pay between £8 and £10 to check in a bag up to 10kg or £25 for a bag over that weight.
However, if a passenger opts to pay for priority boarding, which costs between £6 and £8, they can still take two bags with them on board with no extra charge.
All passengers will still be allowed to take one ‘small personal bag’ on board, to be placed under the seat in front.
‘This new policy will speed up the boarding and cut flight delays. Sixty per cent of customers will be unaffected by these changes and we expect that the other 40 per cent will either choose to buy priority boarding or a 10kg check bag or will choose to travel with only one (free) small bag as 30 per cent already do so today.’
Ryanair originally thought that transferring big bags to the hold at the gate would speed thing up because it would eliminate passengers struggling to fit wheelie bags into overhead lockers.
But in May, the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, admitted that letting passengers check cabin bags at the gate was causing chaos and a ‘handling issue’ on flights.
Airline CEO Michael O’Leary, left, previously said that letting passengers check cabin bags that are too large at the gate is causing chaos and a ‘handling issue’ on flights
He admitted: ‘[The new baggage policy] is creating a handling issue, particularly at peak periods: bank holiday weekends, summer peak periods. There are many flights where we’re now having to put 100, 120 gate bags free of charge into the hold, so if that continues to build, it’s something we may have to look at again.
‘But there’s no doubt both the feedback from the cabin crew and from customers is that nobody is struggling to find space on board in the bins or under the seats when they board the aircraft, and that’s good.’
Then it was revealed Ryanair had quietly raised the cost of taking two pieces of carry-on luggage on selected flights – just months after bringing in the charge.
There was an increase of £1 to £6 on certain flights if the customer wanted to opt for priority boarding when making their booking online, so they could take two bags into the cabin.
Earlier this year, figures showed the carrier made £1.75billion in ‘ancillary revenues’ last year from the likes of baggage charges, priority boarding, reserved seats and car hire.
Low-cost rivals easyJet, Wizz and Norwegian Air Shuttle currently all allow a medium-sized piece of hand luggage for free on short-haul flights.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk, said: ‘Ryanair are playing a dangerous game if they want to remain a key player amongst the budget airlines. For a brand who have had such negative press this year it’s a bold move to make.
‘Added extras for flights are already hugely annoying for travellers, adding even more will simply make consumers go elsewhere. This is going to affect those who want to get away for short weekend breaks the most as they will now be forced to pay for luggage they previously wouldn’t have been charged for.
‘Ryanair is likely in trouble after all the flight compensation they’ve had to pay out over the last year. Although this change is marketed to be a time saver for flyers, it could just be a money making ploy to claw back some of their profits.’
However, Ryanair added: ‘Ryanair don’t expect to make more money from this policy change, which is all about reducing flight delays. Any increase in Priority Boarding and 10kg check bags will be offset by customers switching down from the current 20kg checked bag (€/£25) to the cheaper €/£8 10kg checked bag and many others will travel with just a small (free) bag.’
A Norwegian spokesperson said: ‘Norwegian offers all passengers a generous free hand baggage allowance of at least one 10kg carry-on bag and small personal item as our customers prefer to have their personal belongings at their fingertips.’
RYANAIR’S FEES IN FULL
Extra legroom seats (row 1, 2 and 16-17) – €15.00 / £15.00
Front seats (rows 2 – 5) – €13.01 / £13.01
Standard Seats (rows 6-15 and 18-33) – €4.00 / £4.00
Boarding card re-issue fee – €20 / £20
Priority boarding from (per person/per one way flight) – from €5.00 / £5.00 (An increased charge is applicable for priority boarding on selected routes.)
Airport check-in fee – €55 / £55
Infant fee – €25 / £25 (per infant/per one way flight – must be under two years for both outbound and return flight)
Infant/child equipment (car, booster, travel cot) – €15 / £15 online and €25 / £25 at the airport
Bike – €60 / £60 online and €75 / £75 at the airport
Large sports item – €55 / £55 online and €65 / £65 at the airport
Sports equipment – €35 / £35 online and €40 / £40 at the airport
Ski equipment – €45 / £45 online and €50 / £50 at the airport
Golf clubs – €35 / £35 online and €40 / £40 at the airport
Musical instrument – €55 / £55 online and €65 / £65 at the airport
Flight change fees – from €35 – €65 online and €50 – €95 at the airport
Name change fee per passenger – €115 / £115 online and €160 / £160 at the airport
Government tax refund administration fee per passenger – €20 / £17
Booking fee at the airport – €20 / £20
Therapeutic oxygen reservation fee – €55 / £55
Missed departure fee – €100 / £100
Hold fare fee – €3.00/£3.00