RYANAIR WILL DITCH its policy of allowing a second free carry-on bag for all customers, saying the approach is ”causing boarding and flight delays”.
Up until now, the budget airline allowed all passengers to take one large cabin bag on flights as well as a second small bag for free.
However, Ryanair announced this morning that it would axe the system for passengers who don’t pay for priority boarding, which costs an extra €5 per flight.
The airline said: ”Too many customers are availing of Ryanair’s two free carry-on bags service, and with high load factors, there is not enough overhead cabin space for this volume of carry-on bags.”
From 1 November, all non-priority customers will be made to check their main bags in the hold at the boarding gate – although they still won’t be charged for the luggage.
Ryanair previously warned it planned to change the policy, which it said was being “repeatedly flouted” by passengers.
The airline’s ‘load factor’ – the ratio of actual passengers to available seats – hit 97% in August, indicating that its planes were nearly full, on average, throughout the month.
In addition to changing the carry-on bag system, Ryanair said it was increasing the permitted weight for check-in baggage from 15kg to 20kg “to encourage more customers to check in bags and reduce the number of customers with two bags at the boarding gates”.
It also reduced the standard fee for checking in a bag from €35 to €25. Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the new bag policy changes will cost the airline more than €50 million each year in reduced checked bag fees.
“We believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking-in a bag, which will reduce the high volume of customers we have with two carry-on bags at the boarding gates, which is causing flight delays due to large numbers of gate bag and cabin bag offloads,” he said.
“We hope that by restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag, this will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays being caused by not having sufficient overhead cabin space on busy flights to accommodate over 360 carry-on bags.”
Aer Lingus last week introduced a new budget fare option for transatlantic flights which did away with free check-in baggage, blankets and headphones – instead offering each option as a paid add-on.
Reporting by Hayley Halpin and Peter Bodkin.