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Ryanair announces 'stay of grace' for new hand luggage rules
LOW-COST carrier Ryanair will allow a 'stay of grace' for its new hand luggage rules, which came into effect on Thursday (November 1), with some flexibility provided until passengers 'get used to' the system.
Just as travellers had become settled in the previous policies of having to check in their larger hand luggage bag at the gate free of charge unless they had paid for priority boarding, the rules changed again – now, passengers may only take a small 40x20x20-centimetre on board, unless they pay €6 for priority boarding to carry on their 40x50x20-centimetre wheelie-bag, or €8 to check the larger bag in as hold luggage at the bag-drop.
This is likely to cause headaches for passengers, since they will have to be at the airport earlier than usual whichever option they choose, and those who do not wish to lose sight of their luggage are forced to pay to get on the plane first when they might, in fact, not wish to board early at all.
And only the first 95 out of 189 passengers can opt for priority boarding.
But Ryanair's marketing manager Kenny Jacobs claims feedback from travellers has been 'positive' as boarding is much quicker now departure-gate bags do not have to be loaded before take-off.
He says the new policies are 'fair' and 'transparent'.
Jacobs says queues built up in several airports, particularly London Stansted – the only London or east-of-England airport where Ryanair operates flights to Valencia from – on the first day of the new baggage rules, but that boarding gate staff were allowing passengers on with larger bags they had not checked in, following recommendations by the airline's management.
Whilst this made life easier for those permitted to board with both bags, it led to complaints from those who had paid for priority boarding or to check in their 10-kilo bag as they watched others who had not paid being allowed to take their cases with them.
As yet, Ryanair has not responded to the Italian government's challenge, which also applies to Hungarian low-cost carrier WizzAir.
Italy announced the day before the new rules came into force that it would not allow either airline to charge extra for two pieces of hand luggage, especially as the price does not appear until midway through the online booking process.
The Mediterranean country's authorities say this constitutes a 'false representation' of the actual ticket price and 'deceives the consumer'.
Whilst Ryanair operates all over Europe, Spain is one of its biggest markets, especially among expats living in Spain or Spaniards who have relocated across the continent as it enables them to make cheap trips back to their countries of origin.
But the recent upheaval and bad press Ryanair has suffered as a result of ongoing strikes, baggage policy changes and, within the last year, cancellations has led to the airline's dropping its prices drastically to keep customers returning to the company.
The photograph shows customers at the Ryanair help desk at Madrid's Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport.
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