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Ryanair Hand Luggage Charges To Be Relaxed, Michael O'Leary Announces

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Ryanair has agreed to relax its strict hand luggage rules after an outcry from passengers.

From December 1, customers will be allowed to take "small carry-on bag" on board, controversial boss Michael O'Leary announced.

It comes after he faced a barrage of criticism during a Twitter chat - and responded in true style, joking that he was drawing up plans to charge passengers for the oxygen they breathe.

The changes will cover the period up to the end of March 2014, so it remains to be seen if the relaxation of restrictions will carry on into the busy summer 2014 months.

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What will Ryanair charge for next?

The changes in full:

  • From December 1, Ryanair will allow passengers to take a second small carry-on bag (small ladies' handbag or small airport shopping bag) no bigger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm, which will allow a bottle of wine or equivalent to be carried;
  • From January 5, Ryanair's standard airport bag fees will be cut from £60 to £30 at the bag drop desk, and from £60 to £50 at the boarding gate, bringing them into line with competitor airline standard airport bag fees;
  • From November 1, customers who book directly on the Ryanair.com website (i.e. not via travel agents or screenscrapers) will be given a 24-hour grace period from the time of their original booking, to correct any minor errors (i.e. spelling, names, routings) made in their original booking;
  • From November 1, Ryanair will operate "quiet flights", prior to 8am in the morning and after 9pm in the evening. During these quiet flight periods no announcements will be made on board other than required safety announcements. Ryanair will also dim the lights during these quiet flights so that any customers who wish to snooze can comfortably do so;
  • From December 1, Ryanair's boarding card reissue fee will be cut from £70 to £15 for customers who have already checked in online. Customers who fail to check in online will continue to pay a £70 airport check-in fee;
  • Mr O'Leary said: "We are very excited at these significant improvements in what is already Europe's No 1 customer service airline. As we implement our plans to grow from 80 million to over 110 million customer p.a. over the next five years, we are actively listening and responding to our customers."

Critics of Mr O'Leary have deemed his approach to customers cavalier in the extreme. In his frequent media conferences the Ryanair boss has done little to persuade others that he cares deeply about his passengers.

But of late, he has appeared almost conciliatory.