Italy’s competition watchdog has launched a probe into Ryanair’s hand luggage fees.
The budget airline recently unveiled changes that will come into force in November, announcing that passengers will still be allowed to bring a small bag, such a handbag or laptop case, that fits under the chair in front for free.
For their second piece of luggage - which is currently free to take on board - they will have to pay £8 (€9) to put it in the hold. If this is not pre-booked online, the cost shoots up to £20 (€£25) at the gate.
When the new rules were announced, numerous Italian consumers complained to Antitrust.
The BBC reports that the watchdog has ruled luggage is “an essential element of transport” and should therefore be included in the price, to allow customers to compare airline ticket costs easily.
Codacons, an Italian association that defends consumer rights, added: “If it’s unfair commercial practice on hand luggage is confirmed, Ryanair... should reimburse all its customers who suffer unfair additional costs.”
Responding to the news, Ryanair spokesperson Kenny Jacobs told HuffPost UK that the airline “looks forward to cooperating with this Italian inquiry”
His statement explained: “For safety reasons, most short haul aircraft cannot accommodate two carry-on bags for each customer.
“All other airlines, including Alitalia, Easyjet and BA, restrict the volume of carry-on bags for safety reasons.
“We look forward to explaining these safety restrictions and generous carry-on
bag policy to the Italian authority.”
While Ryanair’s profits remain high, it’s been a bumpy year for the airline when it comes to feedback from passengers.
Staff shortages, strikes and bad weather saw almost 200,000 passengers have their flights cancelled in July alone.
With many taking to social media to air their grievances, three told HuffPost UK why they would not fly with Ryanair again, citing previous bad experiences and delay fears as just two of the reasons for their decisions.