Ryanair says – Fit your hand lugagge under the seat or pay

By | Category: travel, Travel rumblings

Ryanair plane ascendingRyanair is changing the rules again.

From November 1st the airline will operate a new hand luggage policy that it says will reduce delays in boarding. That it means more passengers might have to pay for the hand-luggage is incidental and glossed over by Ryanair. It will apply to all bookings made after September 1st for flights after November 1st.

At present, the airline’s rules say that all non-priority customers could bring 1 (small) carry-on bag and 1 bigger (wheelie) bag free of charge. The bigger bag would be tagged and put into the hold. The airline says that this resulted in the tagging of up to 120 free gate bags which caused delays to 25min turnarounds. That is a fair argument. Why the airline hadn’t foreseen this problem before is surprising given hat this has led to even more pressure on cabin space.

From November, non-priority passengers will only be allowed to take “can only bring 1 free (small) carry-on bag” as hand baggage. And what is the definition of small?  It must be no larger than 40 x 20 x 25cm. If it doesn’t fit into the bag sizer then passengers will pay €25 to have it placed in the hold.

But here is the rub. That small bag must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. It doesn’t necessarily have to go there but if it does then you will have very little room for your feet and stretching your legs out might be difficult. Trying to do the exercises that airlines recommend you do to keep the circulation going will be challenging if a bag of this size is under the seat in front of you.

The measurements are about the size of my laptop case and I frequently have to put that under the seat if the overhead lockers are full so I know how uncomfortable it can be.

Ryanair says that this is not about making money.

It also says that Priority Boarding is capped at 95 customers per flight out of 189 “guests.” (It seems we aren’t “passengers” any more but “guests” almost as though we have been invited into some exclusive area. Some exclusivity!)

According to the airline only 30% of passengers pay for priority boarding (say 57 passengers out of the 95 that are “allowed.” At an additional €6 per passenger to get over this hand luggage problem and to get a wheelie case in the cabin as part of your priority entitlement wouldn’t you seriously consider priority boarding? I am sure that this has played a role in the airline’s thinking although the airline will deny it. If they sold the remaining 38 seats at €6 that would be €228 per flight. With over 600,000 flights per year that could be another €136.8 million into the airline’s coffers (most of it as profit) so it is no wonder the airline wants to do anything it can to get us to pay more money.

That we might be less comfortable is probably of little concern to them.

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