Travelling can be a stressful experience, with dozens of airlines to choose from and varying baggage rules between them all. Recently, some low-budget airlines have restricted the size of baggage you can take onto the flight in the cabin. One such airline is Ryanair, who only allow passengers to take one small bag – a handbag or small rucksack – onto the plane with them. But the airline has also introduced a scheme – Priority Boarding – which means customers can bring a bigger bag into the cabin as well as the smaller bag you get included with your ticket.
Priority Boarding is a limited service, available for 100 passengers per flight, and promises travellers they can board the plane first as well as bring more luggage.
For those who miss out on Priority Boarding but still want to bring bigger luggage, they will have to opt for the check-in option.
The airline’s cabin baggage policy states: “As of November 1, 2018, Ryanair’s bag policy will change.
“Only priority boarding passengers will be permitted to take one small bag (40cm x 20cm x 25cm), plus a larger cabin bag (55 x 40 x 20cm) with a maximum weight allowance of 10kg into the cabin free of charge.
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“Non-priority customers can only bring one small bag (40cm x 20cm x 25cm), that must fit into the sizer.
“If non-priority customers want to bring a second bigger bag, they can purchase a 10kg check-in bag for at time of booking online.
“It must be checked-in at the airport bag drop desk, prior to reaching airport security.”
But is Priority Boarding worth it?
For the ease of not checking in a bag and having your bag with you as you enter and exit the airport, it may be – however there also may not be much ‘Priority’ about the service.
Many have noted the queues for those who have opted for Priority are longer than those boarding ‘non-priority’.
Then depending on the airport, priority customers are joined by non-priority when waiting for a shuttle or in a queue to board the plane, meaning all actually board at once.
Twitter users have been quick to complain about this with one writing: “The only difference a Priority ticket with @Ryanair gets you is you get to huddle on a hot staircase for 40 minutes longer than everyone else”.
Another said: “NEVER buy priority boarding with @Ryanair actually laughable how appalling the service is. ITS A LIE. THERES NO PRIORITY.”
Whilst a third added: “Ryanair Priority Boarding is getting called 45 mins before your flight to go stand in an area literally 5 meters away from your gate, then 15 minutes later the Regular Boarding people join you. Then you all wait together to board your plane 30 minutes late”.
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Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at travel experts The Points Guy UK told Express.co.uk: “Priority boarding can be crucial if passengers want to ensure their cabin bags are placed on-board, rather than risk being gate checked if there’s no overhead bin space left.
“If you have no checked luggage and want to ensure a speedy exit when landing it may be worth paying extra for priority boarding whether as an added extra to your ticket price, or an annual membership fee for frequent travellers.
“While fast-track security is a nice benefit, for London airports at least, The Points Guy UK team have never waited more than five minutes in regular security lines in their regular travels so wouldn’t feel the need to pay extra for this benefit.”
However, not everyone agrees.
Customer Expert Martin Newman told Express.co.uk: “Paying for speedy boarding or other types of ‘services’, such as paying to secure the seat you want, plays on the consumers fear that they may not get to sit together if they’re travelling with their family or someone they want to sit beside.
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“Customers are also concerned about whether or not they will get their hand luggage into an overhead locker or it may end up being put in the hold.
“And if you’re only travelling with hand luggage you might view this as an inconvenience as you’ll need to wait for your luggage to be offloaded and sent to the carousel as opposed to walking off the aircraft and only having customs to clear before starting your holiday.
“Airlines should focus on service and providing the best possible experience. That will be a driver of loyalty.
“As Ryanair have discovered to their cost over the past couple of years, customers will vote with their feet and their budgets and use other airlines if the service is so bad it outweighs lower expenditure: if you’re waiting six hours to fly to Malaga only to be sat on a broken seat with no refreshments, you’re going to be asking yourself whether it’s worth paying another 20 quid with an airline that can do better.
“My experience is that 99 percent of the time you will get to sit with the person you want to and you will also find space for your bag, even if it’s in under the seat in front of you.
“Therefore, do these additional ‘services’ provide value for money? No. Are they about improving customer experience? No. They’re about making more margin per passenger.”
A Ryanair spokesman said in response: “Customers who buy priority boarding board the aircraft first.
“Priority boarding customers can bring 2 free carry-on bags (1 x 10kg wheelie bag and 1 small bag). Non-priority customers are entitled to one small bag.”
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