We may all dream of flying business class with British Airways out of London City Airport like James bloody Bond every single time we head off for an important meeting, or merely just a glamorous European city break, but the reality – the grim reality – is that it’s usually Luton Airport and a chocca Ryanair flight. Hey, you can’t argue with those low, low prices can you?
But what you can argue with are proposed new changes to luggage allowances, which could add an extra layer of hassle to what is already a pretty hassle-intensive way of traveling, given the barely-existent legroom, the literally non-existent netting thing on the seat in front to put your stuff in (it is SO ANNOYING that they don’t have this), the constant attempts to sell you perfume and the equally-constant attempts to get you to buy lottery tickets (have you ever met anyone who’s ever won? I haven’t [for the purposes of legal I am not suggesting that Ryanair commit fraud on their lottery tickets, and I am sure everything is perfectly above board]).
The news? You will now have to pay £5 for priority boarding from 1 November if you want to carry two bags - one wheelie bag and a second smaller bag – onto the plane. Everyone else will now have to make do with only the smaller bag, while their wheelie bag must be placed in the hold, a process which will take place at the boarding gate.
While this will happen free of charge, it means having to collect it from the luggage carousel at the destination, which can take time.
However – good news, the allowance for a ‘proper’ check-in bag will increase from 15kg to 20kg, while the fee will be reduced from £35 to £25.
The move is an attempt by Ryanair to reduce boarding and flight delays caused by a lack of overhead cabin space; a consequence of their flights being far fuller than they used to be.
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer said that on a typically busy flight, 186 seats of 189 are occupied, with space for 90 bags in the overhead lockers – however, this is, increasingly, not enough capacity.
“We’re making these changes because our flights are so much busier. A number of people will have two very large bags, taking up someone else’s space. They’ll hope they’ll get away with it and generally they have, but we don’t want to go back to policing bags at the gate.”
The second free bag was originally introduced in late 2013, with Ryanair flights only 82% full on average – however, by August, that had risen to 97%
Jacobs added: “These bag policy changes will cost Ryanair more than €50m a year in reduced checked bag fees. However, we believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking in a bag. We hope that by restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag – their wheelie bag must be placed in the hold, free of charge at the boarding gate – this will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays being caused by not having sufficient overhead cabin space on busy flights to accommodate over 360 carry-on bags.”
For those worried about the wait at the other end: “More than 90% of the time your bag will be on the carousel when you get there.”
Which we’re sure will come as some comfort to you when you’re inevitably constantly in the 10% having bought fifty quid’s worth of lottery tickets and not won anything.