He’s the Ryanair travel hero we all need: the person who took on the airline over its new baggage fees – and won.
Determined not to pay the new £6-8 baggage charge introduced by Ryanair on 1 November, Lee Cimino from Stoke-on-Trent decided to get creative with his outfit, donning a magic coat packed with pockets in order to beat the system.
Cimino, who was flying with a friend from Manchester airport to Belfast to celebrate his birthday, decided he needed to take action when he heard that he’d need to cough up additional fees to take a bag on board.
“I love Ryanair,” Cimino said in a video posted to his Facebook page, but added: “It’s just this new charge is a bit too far really. I fly with them a lot and they’re always great, it’s just a bit annoying.”
Lots of us would just try and make everything fit into a small handbag and then resent it for the rest of the trip, but Cimino went a step further. Finding an old coat in his wardrobe, he set about making some adjustments.
First stop: a tailor’s shop near his home. Here, the experts made suggestions as to ways he could adapt the garment, adding large pockets and zips so that he could stash the entire contents of his carry-on case in his jacket.
But while he had confidence in the tailor’s work - they were able to make some ingenious pockets out of his old pants - Cimino had less confidence that he would be able to outfox the airline.
Arriving at Manchester airport at 6am for their flight, Cimino said he thought he would get more funny looks than he did.
He told the Press Association: “The coat only had a few clothes in it and I just put it in the tray [at security] like you normally would.”
When asked if anyone tried to stop him boarding the plane wearing the coat, he said: “I don’t know how close I came but as I understand it, I’m not doing anything wrong with wearing the coat.”
Cimino successfully boarded the flight and was able to return home without any problems. “Some people think I’m tight but it’s not about that,” he added. “I think it strikes a chord with people as everyone has had an experience with the airlines.”
Cimino said he is considering auctioning the coat to raise money for charity, offering to give an amount to a charity of Ryanair’s choice.