Ryanair amends controversial new baggage policy just weeks after announcing it

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Ryanair has made yet more changes to its baggage policy, two weeks after announcing that passengers will only be allowed to take on one small bag for free.

Europe’s biggest airline caused controversy when it reported that, from 1 November, its free luggage allowance would no longer include one larger suitcase and one small bag.

Originally, Ryanair stated that anyone travelling after that date, even those who had booked their flights prior to the rule change, would have to pay extra if they wanted to take a second, larger bag with them – either by buying priority boarding or by paying to check in a 10kg bag.

However, the low-cost carrier has had a change of heart, and announced that those who are flying after 1 November but who booked before 31 August can check a 10kg bag for free.

Some two million customers have been alerted by email that the free checked bag has been added to their booking.

Anyone who booked before 31 August, but subsequently paid for priority boarding after the new rules were announced, will have the €8 they paid refunded – yet they can still travel with priority boarding for free.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “All passengers who had booked on or before 31 August will now face no extra cost or inconvenience, as they have today received a free 10kg check bag, from Ryanair, added to their booking. We’re also looking forward to welcoming some 50,000 passengers onboard after 1 November, (who made their booking before 31 August) but who bought priority boarding over the last two weeks, who will now receive this service free of charge.

“As always Ryanair continues to lower the cost of travel, while our new bag policy from 1 November means we can eliminate all free gate bags and related flight delays.” 

Ryanair first revealed its new luggage policy on 24 August, insisting the move was purely to improve timekeeping and was not a money-making exercise.

Passengers have only been getting used to the airline’s latest cabin-baggage policy since January. The current rules allow passengers to take two bags through the security checkpoint to the departure gate. 

From 1 November, travellers can choose to take on one small bag for free (40cm x 20cm x 25cm); pay from £6 for priority boarding and take an extra 10kg bag as hand luggage; or pay from £8 to check-in an extra 10kg bag. 

However, as space in the cabin is limited, the number of customers eligible for priority boarding is capped at 95 per flight – about half of passengers. After that, those who want to bring an extra bag will have to pay £2 more to put it in the hold.

The airline claims that only 40 per cent of passengers will be affected, since 30 per cent already buy priority boarding and 30 per cent currently travel with one bag which fits within the small bag dimensions. 

“It’s a new charge, but fares are going down at the same time,” said Mr Jacobs. “This is a fair outcome customers will get used to.”

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