No-frills airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air have been hit with fines by the Italian anti-trust watchdog over their strict cabin baggage policies.
Ryanair and Wizz Air have been fined €3 million and €1 million respectively.
The fines relate to both carriers’ cabin baggage policy, which changed in November to only allow one small personal bag to be taken onto the aircraft for free.
Larger cabin bags have to be either checked in or booked under a separate “priority” ticket, both for a fee.
Last autumn, the Italian anti-trust regulator AGCM opened an investigation into these new hand baggage policies, arguing that baggage was an “essential” part of the booking and must be allowed on free of charge.
The regulator said that the airlines’ added baggage fees were “not transparent”, as the upfront ticket price excluded extra charges for baggage.
In a statement, Ryanair said: “We will immediately appeal this decision. There is no basis for a competition authority to issue a decision that relates to air safety, customer convenience or punctuality. Our baggage policy is transparent and beneficial to consumers.”
Wizz Air said: “Wizz Air’s baggage policy fully complies with the law, we will therefore be requesting a judicial review of the Italian Competition Authority’s ruling immediately. Our transparent baggage policy guarantees every passenger can take one piece of hand luggage on board for free, whilst also providing over 50 different paid for options ensuring that passengers only need to pay for the additional services they require.
“As this is an ongoing legal issue, Wizz Air will not be making any further comment on this ruling.”
Just after the airlines’ new policies came into effect last November, one passenger decided to get around the baggage fees in ingenious style – by packing everything into the pockets of his coat.
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