Ryanair Hand Baggage Fees Branded ‘Excessive’ In Spain

Ryanair has had its hand baggage fees described as “excessive” and “abusive” by a Spanish court after a passenger was fined for bringing a 10kg bag on board. The passenger had not bought a priority ticket and attempted to board with two cabin bags.

Ryanair aircraft in flight
Ryanair has had its baggage policy called “excessive” in Spain. Photo: Ryanair

The incident

The passenger, traveling on a Ryanair flight from Madrid to Brussels, received a €20 ($22) fine for trying to bring her bag into the cabin. The budget airline, which is known for its ever-changing and restrictive baggage policy, currently only permits small hand luggage bags that can be stowed under the seat in front.

The airline introduced the new policy last year so passengers will be charged for traveling with anything more than one small handbag or laptop bag. Before the policy change, passengers could travel with a handbag or laptop bag plus a small suitcase.

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Inside a ryanair plane
The court has ruled that the 10kg bag would have fit in the cabin. Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr

The policy clearly states that extra baggage or larger luggage can be bought as part of an upgraded ticket or, if not bought in advance, will invoke a fine. The woman in question had paid €35.69 for a standard ticket and had not paid for any extra baggage or for a large item. She then tried to board the flight with a small handbag and the 10kg bag which would supposedly not have fit into the cabin.

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The ruling

However, the commercial court in Spain has ruled that the baggage would easily have fit in the cabin and that the woman should be refunded, with interest. The judge did not believe that the situation caused enough stress to the passenger to warrant the €10 ($11) compensation which the passenger demanded.

The judge ruled that the policy was now null and void and ordered Dublin-based Ryanair to “remove it”. The ruling means that the policy will no longer be valid in Spain. The judge cited a 2014 case involving budget airline Vueling in which a court stated that baggage is “an indispensable element of the transport of passengers and, as such, cannot be subject to a price supplement,”. The exception to this is luggage which does not fit the dimensions.

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Ryanair plane with baggage carts
Ryanair has stated it will not be changing its policy. Photo: Angelo Romano via Flickr

Although Ryanair cannot appeal the decision due to the time elapsed, the airline has issued a statement saying it will not be changing its policy.

“This ruling will not affect Ryanair’s baggage policy, either in the past or in the future, as it is an isolated case that misinterpreted our commercial freedom to determine the size of our cabin baggage”

A common occurrence

This is not the first time Ryanair’s baggage policy has resulted in court intervention. In March of this year, Ryanair was fined €13 million in Italy for “deceiving” customers with fares that do not reflect the full price and require additional purchases. Although this fine was annulled last month, it does show a trend in which Ryanair’s cabin bag policy receives a lot of unwanted attention.

But if they receive so many hefty fines, is it worth it? Well, The Telegraph published a study by IdeaWorksCompany which states that Ryanair made more than £2.8 billion in 2018 from extra baggage and seat selection fees. This is more than any other airline, excluding the main US carriers, and certainly explains why the airline is reluctant to change its policy.

Do you think Ryanair was right in charging the passenger extra because she didn’t buy a priority ticket? Or do you think their policy is unnecessarily harsh? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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MR C J GADSBY

I think its upto the Airline, if the public don’t like the airlines policy fly with some other airlines.

Mark Thompson

So in Spain you can just ignore court orders if you believe they are misinterpretations? Cool. I am moving there.

Peter

The court in this instance is only authorized to rule on the specific case brought by the passenger in question. The court is not authorized to generalize such a ruling and order Ryanair to change its policy…for that, a separate (and different type of) suit would have to be filed.

Nicholas Mackenzie-Rowe

If you read the whole article, you’d see that the judge ordered Ryanair to “remove it”. That is the specific airline policy in this instance. Ryanair will ignore it because few people will take them to court about such a small fee. If everyone did, then they’d obey the law. Until it costs them in the pocket they won’t. Why obey the law when you are rich enough not to have to?

Peter

I did read the whole article. Just like Ryanair’s lawyers, I know that the judge’s additional “order” has no legal weight…it’s actually only an opinion. A broader order of this type has to come from a higher court.

jojo

the price to be in the plane is 35. the price to bring luggage on the plane is 10. what is it that this lady or the judge find so hard to understand about this policy. the ryanair website asks you several times about paying for bringing luggage.

Peter

I agree. But some people will file a suit over anything, and some judges are far from objective.

Adam Simmons

I don’t know why RYR comes in for such opprobium when Wizzair has an identical policy – https://wizzair.com/en-gb/information-and-services/travel-information/baggage

William

So a Spanish judge wants to dictate Ryan Air fees and charges for excess baggage. Ryan Air has rested the situation such that I on a Ordinationsentzug income could live in London and afford to fly to Work in Dublin, Stockholm etc. My luggage would be limited to a small shoulder bag holding an iPad or Microsoft Surface. For a 10 Euro more i can carry a full check in bag or a check in bag. It’s not really a “fine” it’s a late manual processing and handling fee for what she should have done on line on her cell… Read more »

William

Moron Spanish court doing stupid Spanish socialist things. The woman is dumb and a cheat. The court is idiotic. LCC are cheap because they use single class flights in high density. To do that they need to restricted baggage weights to get range and limit fuel burn costs and leave space in the overhead lockers. Pre-booking and paying for luggage, meals, seating keeps check in costs down. It’s very easy and cheap to upgrade either your cabin luggage amount or purchase Check in bags. Anyone that has done fuel burn range calculations understands how dramatically load reduces range. Spain’s economy… Read more »

Mike

Ryanair is clear that you have to pay for your 2nd piece of luggage, also limits on size are clear. But in true Ryanair style, one can debate on “how clear”… Anyway, how can Ryanair be judged to be at fault then if they put these rules in their traveller’s policy? Then the Ryanair traveller’s policy should be judged as “not according Spanish law” by the court or whatever. It is the passenger’s responsibility to check what luggage is allowed and what is not. Ryanair acted right. If you don’t like them/ their policy (like me), then don’t travel with… Read more »