EasyJet says it is maintaining its allowance of just one piece of hand baggage per passenger in order to ”minimise customer confusion and avoid unnecessary increases in fares,” despite the fact that restrictions have been lifted at some UK airports.
From today (7 January) 22 airports will have the security upgrades allowing carriers to change their baggage policies if they wish.
But many airports still have restrictions, including easyJet bases at Bristol, Belfast, East Midlands, Liverpool and Luton.
”There is massive scope for customer confusion in an environment where UK airports are adopting different policies,” said easyJet chief executive, Andy Harrison.
”The only way to maintain a simple and standard policy is to maintain our one bag policy.
”Also some of the major BAA airports are using the relaxation of the one bag rule as a pretext to further increase passenger charges. They increased charges when the restriction was introduced and now they want to increase them again to remove it!”
Although most airports have said they will absorb the cost of new security measures, easyJet says Gatwick has applied to the CAA to introduce a ”1.30 ($2.57) charge per passenger to airlines for the new security measures. This could be on top of ” possibly ” higher charges anyway if the Authority raises its price cap on airport charges for Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester as part of its usual five-year review in April.
”We have 3 million passengers a year through Gatwick ” that”s a lot of ”1.30s and we”d have to pass that charge to the customer, so we”ve applied to the CAA to stop it,” said an easyJet spokeswoman. ”Plus we”re not changing our one-bag policy, so we don”t want to subsidise other airlines whose passengers may be able to take two bags, but this would be a blanket charge.”
”Gatwick hasn”t taken into account that ultimately if you”ve got people taking more hand baggage they take less hold baggage. And we don”t know if Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester won”t do the same thing.”
Gatwick has applied for the security upgrades but has not been approved as yet, so currently no carriers can offer a two-bag rule there.
The one-bag policy is infuriating for business people, who often travel with laptops as well as their usual luggage and easyJet says it will wait until all its bases have been approved before it changes the policy - but there is no idea how long this could take.