Ryanair, Ireland’s low cost airline, is known for extremely low base fares and additional fees for everything else … including fees for boarding passes, and for not using an airline branded pre-paid Visa card.
Passengers flying with Ryanair generally are forced to check a bag, especially if traveling with kids or on vacation, due to the airline’s highly restrictive carry on regulations. Passengers are allowed a single carry on, 21″ x 15″ x 7.5 and 22lbs, and no personal item. The airline even requires that cameras, airport shop purchases, laptops, purses and even newspapers be placed inside the single carry on bag.
While Ryanair is open about all the fees it charges passengers, and that many fees can be reduced by paying via the company’s website, its new increase in checked baggage fees seems extreme … even for Ryanair where almost nothing seems extreme any longer.
Fees for checking a single 20kg (44lbs) bag on board a Ryanair flight, if paid in advance via Ryanair.com, range from £25 to £50 depending on the time of year a passenger is flying with Ryanair. Now, as families begin planning their summer vacations the airline has increased checked baggage fee to £80 (US$125) for its peak summer season (June 1 to September 30).
An Average family of four, two adult, two children, will check four bags when going on vacation for a week, while traveling with at least two ‘full sized’ carry on bags, in addition to each family member traveling with a smaller ‘personal item’ bag. Although Ryanair does not allow for a carry on and a personal item, lets assume a family of four can contain itself to four checked bags for a week long vacation … this increase in checked baggage fees automatically increases the cost of travel by £640 (US$1,005) for a family of four.
Previously a family of four, traveling during the peak summer season would have “only” been paying £50 per checked bag, or £400 (US$628) for all checked bags on a round trip summer vacation. While £400 in checked baggage fees is still very expensive, it is far less expensive than £640.
Travelers that have already booked summer travel with Ryanair, and have not yet paid for their checked baggage up front, will be subject to the new peak checked baggage fees, despite having purchased their tickets prior to fee increase.
Is it legal for an airline to change the terms and conditions of its fees after tickets have been purchased? That is up to the courts in the United Kingdom and European Union … but from a passenger point of view it is one more sour taste being left in their mouth by a supposedly ultra-low cost airline.
Happy Flying (as long as you can fit it all in one small carry on bag)!