Consumers' group criticises Ryanair for raising check-in fee

 

THE CONSUMERS’ Association of Ireland has criticised the latest increase in baggage fees by Ryanair. The cost of checking in a bag rises by 50 per cent from next month, and by up to 250 per cent for a second bag.

In a further effort to encourage passengers to travel with carry-on luggage only, the budget airline is increasing the cost of checking in one bag online from €10 to €15 per flight from October 1st. Where a bag is checked in at the airport, the cost will rise from €20 to €30, Ryanair announced yesterday.

The carrier is doubling the checked-in baggage allowance for each passenger, from one bag of up to 15kg to two bags of up to 15kg each.

However, customers will pay dearly for the privilege of checking in a second bag, with the fee set to rise from €20 to €35 per flight for online check-ins, and from €20 to €70 for bags checked in at the airport.

Fees for carrying sports equipment are also going up, from €30 to €40 online and €40 to €50 at the airport. The excess bag fee payable at the airport is being increased from €15 to €20 per kilo.

The association’s chief executive Dermott Jewell said the increases “beggared belief” and would hit families especially hard.

“Many of the items Ryanair considers optional are essentials for passengers, such as checked-in baggage,” he said. Mr Jewell said Ryanair and other airlines had “outwitted” consumer advocates by introducing new charges.

“We spent ages trying to get clarity on the issue of fares and just when we got the airlines to display their inclusive fares clearly, they started adding all sorts of extra ‘optional’ charges.”

However, there was little that passengers or regulators could do about these charges, he conceded.

Ryanair pointed out that passengers can avoid checked-in baggage fees by travelling with carry-on baggage only. One piece of baggage of up to 10kg can be taken on board without charge, though there is an online check-in fee of €5 online and €10 at the airport. A Ryanair spokesman also said the changes reflected the fact that its average fares have fallen by 20 per cent this year, from €40 to €32.

“Ryanair continues to reduce air fares – saving our passengers over €530 million this year alone. In order to persuade passengers to travel with carry-on bags only and to defray the cost of some of these fare reductions, we are increasing baggage allowances and fees with effect from October 1st,” he said.

“These baggage fees are all avoidable by all passengers who choose to travel with carry-on luggage only. Over 70 per cent of Ryanair passengers will be totally unaffected by these changes as they already travel with just one carry on bag, which is free of charge.”