Those who pay ‘priority boarding’ can take their larger hand-luggage bag on board along with a second one measuring a maximum of 35 x 20 x 20 centimetres, whilst those who opt not to pay the priority fee have to place their larger bag in the hold at the gate, free of charge.
The low-cost Irish-based airline has recently announced it will apply a €8 charge for these ‘gate bags’.
FACUA has urged Spain’s ministry of public works and infrastructure to intervene.
The organisation says it ‘looks like an attempt to recover costs incurred in compensation payments to passengers arising through the strikes’.
Pilots in Ireland and Germany and cabin crew in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal have staged various strikes this summer, leading to thousands of passengers having to be booked onto new flights or refunded, plus being paid the €250 mandatory compensation for delays of more than three hours or cancellations.
Ryanair claims the hand-luggage charge is to ‘reduce delays’ in boarding – even though hold bags are tagged whilst passengers are standing in a queue for passport control and are merely passed to luggage handlers on the runway.
Generally, the large hand-luggage bags are boarded before all passengers have settled in their seats.
FACUA says it does not buy this ‘excuse’ and says it is clear the company ‘wants to apply charges to customers’ rather than ‘taking on more staff to make the boarding process swifter’.
The organisation has also criticised Ryanair for charging passengers who had already booked their flights for November onwards before the rule was announced.
FACUA has also called for a reform to airline industry regulations to stop the ever-growing trend of charging passengers for ‘extras’ that ‘should be included in the price of the ticket’ – an issue which affects many carriers, not just Ryanair.
“Airlines are devaluation their level of services for trips purchased in order sell add-ons as basic and necessary as being able to sit next to your travelling companion, check in online several days before flying, travelling with suitcases and bringing on board a reasonable-sized bag,” FACUA complains.