Passengers on Europe’s biggest airline face another financial shock from next month: a fee of £100 for checking in two bags at the airport for a one-way flight.
Ryanair today announced a sharp increase in charges for checked luggage for bookings made from 1 October. The cost of checking in one case, weighing a maximum of 15kg, rises from £20 to £30. For passengers wishing to check in a second 15kg bag, the fee is £70. These charges are halved when booked in advance online – but even then, a family of four taking two bags each for a Mediterranean holiday will pay £400 in fees for the round trip.
Stephen McNamara, a Ryanair spokesman, said the increases were intended “to persuade passengers to travel with carry-on bags only”. At present about seven out of 10 Ryanair customers do not check in bags.
Ryanair intends to abandon the use of traditional check-in desks from next month. Instead, everyone will check in online and print out their own boarding passes. Travellers with hold baggage will go to a bag-drop desk; those with only carry-on luggage will pass through security and go straight to the departure gate. The airline said: “All passengers can avoid these optional checked-in baggage fees by travelling with carry-on baggage only.”
Frances Tuke of Abta, the travel association, said: “It’s another sign of desperation from our friends in the no-frills arena. They’re clearly very keen to make as much money as possible.”
Until three years ago, Ryanair and every other major airline gave each passenger a free checked-in bag allowance, usually 20kg. The first airline to break ranks was FlyBe, which in 2006 introduced a £2 charge for baggage – at the same time promising to reduce fares by £1. When rival carriers saw there was little passenger resistance, they followed suit. On easyJet, the fee is £8.
When Ryanair introduced charges, the airline said it was not intended as a revenue-raising exercise, but soon revealed it was making a profit of about €1 on each bag. The airline currently charges £10 for the first bag checked in online, and £20 for the second; the two together must not weigh more than 15kg. These fees are doubled if paid at the airport.
The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has long been obsessive about cutting costs. Ryanair cancelled almost all its flights from Manchester, moving many services to Leeds/Bradford in a row over airport charges. The Irish no-frills airline now carries more than 10 per cent of intra-European air traffic; last month it averaged 222,000 passengers a day. British Airways averages 62,000.
BA is reducing its free baggage allowance for many passengers. For decades, transatlantic economy passengers have been able to check in two bags, of 23kg each. But for bookings made from 7 October, only one will be allowed; the second bag will be charged at £40, or £32 if booked in advance online. (The exception is for travellers to Brazil; because of a bilateral air agreement, two bags will be allowed.)
THOSE RYANAIR CHARGES
* Online check-in (print own ticket at home): £5
* Airport check-in (“Airport Boarding Card Re-issue”): £40
* “Payment handling fee”, per |passenger, per one-way flight: £5
* Priority boarding fee, per flight: £3
* Infant fee (under-2s): £20 per flight
* 1st piece of hold baggage (max 15kg), checked in at airport: £30 per flight
* 2nd piece of hold baggage (max 15kg): £70 per flight
* Excess baggage fee, per kilo: £15
* Children’s travel/car seat: £10
* Sports equipment, musical instrument: £30 per item, per flight
* Flight change fee: £35 per flight
* Name change: £100 per passenger
* A charge of £1 for the use of |on-board toilets is being explored
* A plan to tax heavier passengers was dropped