One thing Ryanair got right - charging extra for needless hand luggage

We know what a trip on Ryanair means: cheap and not very cheerful. But why do people now take huge bags on the flight instead of checking them in?

Share

I have spent rather a lot of time on aeroplanes recently. I am ashamed to admit that my carbon footprint will be more like a Yeti's after all the travelling I've done in the past few weeks. I've gone short haul, long haul, budget and full service, Europe and America, and I've eaten more complimentary bags of nuts ("may contain nuts", according to the packet) than is good for me. I've not been on a flight that wasn't completely full (even from Inverness to Luton on a Thursday morning) and I have met some interesting people, including a stewardess who recognised me from my picture by-line and is an i devotee.

The one thing I haven't done is give Michael O'Leary any of my money. Not that I have anything against him, it's just that I try to avoid flying Ryanair if at all possible. I am not one of those people who books Ryanair, knowing full well that they charge extra for everything from a boarding pass to an item of luggage, and then is outraged when I'm charged for my boarding pass.  Flying is a contract into which we enter willingly, and we know what a trip on Ryanair means: cheap and not very cheerful. In fact, in my experience, they're not very cheap either, but that's another story.

Anyway, O'Leary, the chief executive of the airline and one of the more controversial/visionary/dastardly (delete to suit) men in the business, has been at it again, announcing a series of measures designed to squeeze more money out of his customers. The one which particularly attracted my attention was the plan to charge passengers for hand luggage (the lighter a plane's load, the less fuel it uses, and the more profitable the journey). It sounds like reasonable from a business perspective, but any man who launches a crusade against hand baggage is a hero in my book.

I remember a time when hand baggage was just that: a handbag, or a briefcase, or maybe a small holdall. Now, it's just luggage, nothing handy about it at all. People walk on to a plane with medium-sized suitcases, huge canvas bags, and a whole range of items should unquestionably be in the hold. It's not as if you have to wait very long for your bags these days, and they hardly ever get lost, either. It all feeds into the modern sense of self-importance: I'm so busy that I simply cannot afford those five minutes I may spend at the baggage carousel.

I am rather old-fashioned air passenger. I always check my bag in, but that means I have to sit there while everyone else on the plane struggles to squeeze their ridiculously-sized piece of luggage into the overhead lockers. Not only that, but spare a thought for the poor cabin staff, who now spend half of their time arguing with passengers or trying to force a Samsonite quart into a plastic pint.

Perhaps O'Leary should remove the overhead lockers from his fleet: that would really inspire the sort of behavioural change he seeks from his passengers. I'm not saying it would make me fly Ryanair, but I applaud his ballsiness in trying end what is, literally, an awful carry on.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron visiting a primary school last year  

The only choice in schools is between the one you want and the ones you don’t

Jane Merrick
Zoë Ball says having her two children was the best thing ever to happen to her  

Start a family – you’ll never have to go out again

John Mullin
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn