Aer Lingus passengers with flights scheduled to depart in the weeks ahead could be hit with substantial charges at the airport for carry-on luggage unless they pay fees that the airline introduced after many of them booked their travel.
The airline defended its decision to impose the charges on passengers who had already paid for flights before the introduction of the new structure on the basis that it is not contractually obliged to allow people to bring suitcases on board at no cost.
Aer Lingus introduced charges at the end of June for carry-on luggage and made the fees retrospective to cover all bookings no matter when they were made. Many passengers are likely to feel the impact for the first time from this week, as international travel to and from Ireland resumes with the rollout of the EU's digital Covid certificate for fully vaccinated or recently recovered people. As of today people in possession of a cert or who can produced a negative PCR test are able to travel from Ireland to destinations across the EU without restrictions for the first time in more than a year.
Until the summer all Aer Lingus passengers were allowed to bring one 10kg bag aboard the aircraft at no cost; the airline said a fee was introduced “to ensure less congestion in the cabin and deliver faster boarding and deplaning, therefore improving overall customer experience”.
Passengers will still be able to bring one small bag on board at no cost as long as it fits under the seat in front of them. They will also be allowed to check in a 10kg bag at a check-in desk or kiosk for free.
Customers who want to bring a 10kg bag into the cabin will need to pay a fee that starts at €5.99 each way on short-haul routes, rising to €8.99 depending on availability. If a customer does not prepay or check in a bag, and brings it instead to the gate, she or he will be hit with a €35 charge.
Under the new policy, customers can add a carry-on bag to their flight at the booking stage or up to two hours before their flight.
Aer Lingus says customer reaction to the new charge has been “almost entirely positive, with many welcoming the ability to bring liquids on their journey free of charge by availing of the free 10kg check-in option”.