Ryanair ordered to reimburse passenger charged a hand luggage fee

Spanish court orders Ryanair to reimburse a passenger who was charged a fee to take hand luggage on a flight from Liverpool to Alicante

  • The no-frills airline was ordered to pay the traveller £40 (50 euros) and interest
  • She claimed was asked to pay to take carry on bags on a service from Liverpool
  • But Ryanair says this won’t affect its luggage policy, saying it is an ‘isolated’ case 

Ryanair must reimburse a passenger for charging her a fee to take hand luggage on board a flight, a Spanish court has ruled.

The no-frills airline has been ordered to pay the traveller £40 (50 euros) plus interest after she claimed she was asked to pay to take carry on bags on a service from Liverpool to Alicante.

The plaintiff was not named in the five-page written ruling, which was made public today by a mercantile court in Elche near Alicante.

Ryanair must reimburse a passenger for charging her a fee to take hand luggage on board a flight, a Spanish court has ruled

But respected Costa Blanca newspaper Informacion identified her as Matilde Flora.

Judge Luis Fortea Gorbe said he had used article 97 of Spain’s Law of Air Navigation to make his ruling.

It states: ‘The transport provider will be obliged to transport free of charge in the cabin, as hand luggage, the objects and bags travellers carry with them, including items acquired in airport shops.

‘Those objects and bags can only be turned away for safety reasons, linked to the weight and size of the objects, in relation to the characteristics of the plane.’

The judge also highlighted a September 2014 decision ruling by the Court of Justice stating excess charges for hand luggage were not justified in cases where passengers had not paid a priority boarding tariff.

The charge today’s court ruling relates to is understood to centre on an excess fee linked to the priority tariff the plaintiff was asked to pay so she could return to Spain with three other passengers. The flight date was before Ryanair introduced its current hand luggage rules.

The judge’s sentence makes it clear Ryanair initially contested the plaintiff’s action before accepting the claim and paying the money she was demanding.

Ms Flora was quoted in her local paper as saying: ‘Fifty euros is not a high sum of money but if we multiply that cost by all the passengers who pay it without having to do so, the amount would be extremely high.

‘That’s why I hope this ruling helps other travellers who have experienced the same thing as well as consumer organisations.’

Ryanair’s current cabin bag policy, brought into force on November 1, 2018, states passengers can only bring one ‘small personal bag’ on board for free that has to fit underneath the seat in front of them.

The no-frills airline was ordered to pay the traveller £40 (50 euros) plus interest after she claimed she was asked to pay to take carry on bags on a service from Liverpool to Alicante (file picture) 

Passengers who bring a second bag to the gate or have a bag that is too big are warned they will face a fee to take it on board.

Two bags can be brought on board the plane – one under the seat and one weighing no more than 10kg in the overhead locker – by passengers who pay for priority boarding.

Last October, a Madrid court ruled Ryanair’s policy of charging a fee for hand luggage was ‘abusive’ and could no longer be levied in Spain, although the budget airline insisted it would not change its rules.

Meanwhile, last August, Spanish consumer rights group FACUA claimed Ryanair may be breaking the law with its luggage rules but the airline contested the claims.

Ryanair said in a statement today: ‘This ruling will not affect the validity of Ryanair’s baggage policy, it is an isolated case in Spain.

‘Ryanair’s baggage policy is transparent and beneficial to consumers.

‘Up until five years ago, Ryanair only allowed one carry-on bag – now up to 50 per cent of customers will continue to bring two free carry-on bags as they travel on priority boarding.

‘Non-priority customers can bring one free (small) carry-on bag, we have increased the size of this by over 40 per cent from 35 x 20 x 20cm (14,000 cm³) to 40 x 20 x 25cm (20,000 cm³).’ 

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