Ryanair's new luggage charges are a response to customer demand, the airline's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacob has said.
From November 1st, Ryanair passengers looking to bring more than a personal bag on a flight will have to pay a fee. The airline said the move - its second change to hand luggage rules in a year - is necessary to reduce delays.
Under the new fee structure passengers will have to pay €8 to check in a 10kg bag. The previous lowest price for checked luggage was €25 for up to 20kg, which remains an option for those with heavier cases.
The maximum size of “personal bags” allowed on board has been increased by 40 per cent. Passengers who pay for priority boarding - which costs €6 - will continue to be allowed to take both a “personal bag” and small suitcase as hand baggage.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Jacob said a "grace period" will be offered for the month of November, to allow customers adjust to the new system.
Mr Jacob told the programme the new system offers passengers the opportunity to check in their bag so they can get through security more quickly. “Customers will pick and choose what they want to pay for,” he said.
Mr Jacob says the change was made as a result of delays at airports. Under the system introduced earlier this year, up to 120 bags were being tagged at boarding gates for each flight, meaning departures were disrupted.
“Passengers were saying to us ‘this is taking up time, do something about it’,” said Mr Jacob.
Mr Jacob told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that during the "grace period" the airline will "will waive fees if the bags are slightly larger. We want to say to them 'next time you can't do it'."
He siad: “The new policy is transparent and fair.”
He told RTÉ that 90 per cent of weekender bags fit into the small "personal" bag category.
“It’s purely customer choice,” he said. “This is about speeding up the service. It’s not going to slow things down.”
He denied that the announcement of the grace period was as a result of delays and complaints at Stanstead airport yesterday. “We decided weeks ago that there would be a grace period,” he said.
Mr Jacob also confirmed the airline is going ahead with plans to close its base in Eindhoven despite a Dutch court order. Staff there have the option to either transfer or take redundancy, he said.
Ryanair on Thursday said it would not change plans to shut its base for pilots in the Netherlands next week, despite the court order blocking the low-cost carrier from moving crew elsewhere against their will.
Ryanair said last month it would shut its base in Eindhoven in November, moving 16 pilots who operate flights from the southern Dutch airport to other locations to cut costs. The court said Ryanair had abused its powers as an employer by ordering the crew to move abroad.
The district court in Hertogenbosch said Ryanair had failed to explain why the move was necessary and said the decision seemed to be retaliation for the European-wide strikes Dutch pilots had joined in recent months.–Additional reporting: Reuters