Varadkar examines Ryanair’s bag policy

Ryanair’s one carry-on bag policy is coming under pressure with Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar saying he is considering what action to take.

A Spanish consumers body is taking the low-cost airline to court over the issue, saying limiting hand luggage is against the law.

However, the Irish company may be considering changing its policy and has started a pilot scheme at Manchester airport where passengers are allowed to take their airport purchases on board in a second bag.

Mr Varadkar said it was a big issue for airports as they depended on sales from the shops to help increase profits or to just break even.

“I can understand why they do not want anybody bringing on massive big suitcases, but a bottle of perfume, or a toy or even a Toblerone, it’s not only unfair to consumers, it damages the airport,” he said.

The fact that passengers can put their purchases into their single carry-on bag provided it does not breach Ryanair’s 10kg limit is not a help, he said.

“It is a problem that it all has to go into one bag. This is why airports make less money from Ryanair passengers than they do from Aer Lingus or Lufthansa passengers.”

Asked what he intended to do about it, he said: “Nothing at the moment, but it is something we have to give consideration to. Others, Spain, have made it illegal but have difficulty imposing it.”

Ryanair denied that its carry-on allowance prohibits passengers carrying airport purchases. “It simply asks that such purchases are carried in their one carry-on bag as each passenger agreed at the time of booking,” said Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said.

He said that Ryanair had not received any complaints about its one-bag policy as all passengers agreed with it at the time of booking.

The company has a commercial agreement with Manchester Airport that allows on a trial basis one shopping bag in addition to carry-on luggage.

However, in Spain, the consumers’ body FACUA earlier this week reported Ryanair to the authorities, saying its practice of preventing passengers boarding with more than one bag was illegal as it violated air navigation law, which did not consider carry-on bags or packages as luggage.

The rules say that hand luggage must be transported free of charge and the only reason to refuse is if its too heavy or big or for security.

FACUA says Ryanair’s contracts having passengers agree to just one carry-on bag is an abuse of passengers’ rights and of consumer protection regulations.


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