A court in Spain has taken a budget airline to task over its mean-spirited excess luggage fees.
The court found Ryanair’s baggage policy to be “excessive” after a passenger was fined for taking a piece of carry-on luggage on the wrong ticket type.
The passenger was fined €20 ($A33) on the spot in order to take her luggage with her on the flight from Madrid to Brussels, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Despite the condemnation by the court and passengers, the airline said it would not be changing the policy.
The Commercial Court in Spain called out Ryanair’s baggage fees. Picture: AP/Martin MeissnerSource:AP
Ryanair levies fees against passengers for a range of carry-on issues, such as carrying more than one item of luggage or travelling with luggage that is heavier than what is stipulated on their ticket.
Larger bags are charged an additional fee, with additional fines for those who are found to be breaking weight limits.
The Commercial Court ruled that the passenger should be refunded with interest.
The item in question could have easily fitted in the cabin, the BBC reported the judge as saying. He went as far as to suggest that Ryanair should scrap current baggage policies from the terms and conditions.
The Irish airline said the ruling would not affect its baggage policy. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand/AFPSource:AFP
Compensation on top of the reimbursement was ruled out, as there was not significant distress caused to the passenger.
“This ruling will not affect Ryanair’s baggage policy, either in the past or in the future, as it is an isolated case that misinterpreted our commercial freedom to determine the size of our cabin baggage,” said the airline in a statement, determined to keep the policies in place.
While not every passenger faced with an airline’s excess luggage fees goes as far as taking them to court, many have resorted to extreme measures to avoid fines.
One passenger wore a motorcycle helmet for 45 minutes in a departure lounge when he found it would have made his carry-on too heavy.
Surprisingly, it worked.
“I stood next to the ladies enforcing this absurd rule to make sure everyone else got a good chuckle out of it,” passenger Martin Gibson told the BBC.
Last month, a woman in the Philippines won praise on Twitter after posting a ridiculous photo in protest of excess luggage fees. She wore all the clothing in her suitcase in order to shed 2kg from her luggage and dodge a fine.
Even more audacious was a Melbourne woman faking pregnancy to get around Jetstar fees, disguising her extra carry-on luggage as a baby bump.
Despite the ridicule it is easy to see why airlines are keen to keep the excess baggage fees in place.
A global study of 175 airlines found that carry-on luggage fees were worth $40 billion to airlines last year in ancillary revenue. The fees represent 3.2 per cent of air industry income.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission
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