The airline called in the police and evacuated all 166 passengers from the plane boarding at Lanzarote, eventually allowing only 66 back on to fly home.
Anger erupted on the weekend flight to Charleroi in Belgium after a passenger was stopped at the boarding gate and asked to pay extra for a piece of outsized luggage he was carrying.
When the passenger objected, friends who had already passed through the gate came to his defence and scores more joined in as the dispute escalated.
The pilot radioed for police assistance and all passengers were put off the plane and questioned before 66 were cleared for take-off some three hours later.
The rest had to book flights on other airlines and some had to spend the night at the island’s Arrecife Airport while they tried to make alternative travel arrangements.
Ryanair confirmed the incident last night, saying a large group of passengers had become disruptive and refused to comply with instructions from crew after a “gate fee” was required for outsized luggage.
“Lanzarote police required the entire aircraft be offloaded and each passenger identified. Following further disruptive behaviour, the police required for security reasons that this entire group be refused travel,” a statement from the airline said.
The no-frills airline is famous for its add-on baggage charges and its no-excuses policy when luggage breaches size and weight limits but rebellion among passengers is rare.
In its statement it apologised sincerely to the 66 passengers delayed by the incident but was unsympathetic to the other 100.
“Any individuals who engaged in disruptive behaviour or refused to follow crew instructions will not be allowed to fly.
“The safety and security of Ryanair’s passengers, crew and aircraft will remain Ryanair’s number- one priority,” it said.
Lanzarote is one of the airline’s busiest destinations with flights from 30 airports across Europe, including Cork, Dublin, Shannon and Knock.
Cabin luggage should not exceed 55cm long, 40cm wide and a depth of 20cm.