Ryanair has become a victim of its own “niceness” as bosses claim toddlers are “wheeling” luggage onto flights in order to beat the baggage allowance, writes Joyce Fegan.
As it stands, Ryanair customers can carry on one bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight, as well as a smaller one such as a handbag or briefcase.
However, the airline’s chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, has said Ryanair is “very generous” with its cabin baggage allowance and claimed that people are taking “advantage”.
“I’ve seen two-year-olds wheeling a bag up to the plane as people try to take advantage,” said Mr Sorahan.
He was speaking in London at the press conference for the company’s first-quarter financial results for 2017.
“We’re very generous with our cabin baggage allowance; a 10kg case and a second small carry-on. If everyone does that there’s no issue,” said Mr Sorahan.
“It’s the people coming with the kitchen sink that could change the policy.”
The Guardian reported that Mr Sorahan was asked by a journalist if passengers were “taking the piss”.
“Some are,” he replied. “The vast majority of people play by the rules but some don’t. Unfortunately, some bring massive backpacks and things that don’t fit under the seat.
“We’ve been a little bit lax or nice — we are victims of our own niceness.”
The second bag policy dates back to 2013, when Ryanair went about rehabilitating its image, with chief executive Michael O’Leary stating that the airline would stop trying to “unnecessarily piss people off”.
The latest comments come after Mr O’Leary took to the airwaves last week to clear up customers’ confusion over the airline’s seating policy.
He spoke to both Sean O’Rourke and Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One, with Mr O’Leary entering into verbal fisticuffs with the Liveline presenter.
Mr Duffy told the Ryanair chief to apologise after Mr O’Leary asked him if he had a “sensible question”.
Mr Duffy then went on to describe the airline boss as the “Hamlet of mock indignation”.
Mr O’Leary had come on the show to address multiple customer accusations that the airline had changed its seating policy, whereby people must now pay for a reserved seat as opposed to the original model where a passenger boarded the plane and took seats in a first come, first served method.
Ryanair has issued a statement regarding the line: “Mr O’Leary had come on the show to address multiple customer accusations that the airline had changed its seating policy, whereby people must now pay for a reserved seat as opposed to the original model where a passenger boarded the plane and took seats in a first come, first served method.”
The statement reads: "This isn’t correct. He was discussing the fact that more customers were choosing to purchase reserved seats and that those who don’t choose to purchase seats were given free randomly allocated seats, which has been the company policy since it introduced allocated seating in February 2014."
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.