Ryanair has quietly increased the price of taking bags into the cabin.
Since January, anybody wanting to take a wheelie suitcase or other large bag into the cabin has had to pay £5 for priority boarding. However, Which? Travel noticed today that the price has gone up to £7 at the time of checking in for most routes, or £6 if you pay when making the booking, although no official announcement has been made.
Ryanair passengers are only allowed to take bags that will fit under the seat on board free of charge. That means a handbag or any other bag that measures less than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.
Low-cost airlines earn an increasing part of their revenue from selling ‘extras’ , as the price of tickets remains low.
Boarding gate problems
The news follows complaints from Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary that too many people were choosing to check in their bags free of charge, rather than paying the £5 fee.
‘It is creating a handling issue, particularly at peak periods, bank holiday weekends and summer peak periods,’ he said. ‘There are many flights where we’re now having to put 100 or 120 gate bags free of charge into the hold.’
Yet it seems likely that more people will prefer to avoid paying the new, higher fee, leading to even more bags being put in the hold.
The airline told us: “Like all businesses, our optional fees can change unlike our fares which keep coming down. Priority boarding, which allows customers to bring 2 pieces of hand luggage on board with them and board the plane first, costs €5/€6 (depending on the route) at the time of booking and €6/€7 (depending on the route) when added to a booking.”
As an example of a flight where priority boarding still costs £5 it gave us Edinburgh to Stansted. We checked and Manchester to Belfast was also £5 for priority boarding. It wouldn’t confirm whether any international flights from the UK still offer priority boarding for £5. We haven’t been able to find any.
It’s only a week since Ryanair reduced the period when passengers can check in from four days before departure to 48 hours. Its policies have ensured that it’s remained highly profitable, but in recent Which? surveys it has been rated as one of the worst airlines.