Airlines are allowed to charge passengers an extra fee for checking in luggage, a court has ruled.
The European Court of Justice ruled that "checked-in baggage cannot be considered to be compulsory or necessary", granting airlines the right to charge a supplement.
The court in Luxembourg upheld a challenge by Spanish budget carrier Vueling Airlines against a Spanish law that prohibits airlines from making people pay for putting their suitcases in the aircraft's hold.
The airline was given a €3,000 penalty by Spanish authorities for adding €40 to the basic price of four tickets bought by one passenger for return tickets between La Coruna in Spain to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
"EU law precludes legislation, such as the Spanish law, that requires air carriers to carry, in all circumstances, not only the passenger but also baggage checked in by him for the price of the plane ticket, without any price supplement," the ECJ said.
It added that hand luggage was necessary for passengers and should not face a price supplement.
The news will be welcomed by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and Easyjet which generate high revenues from luggage surcharges.