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Ryanair has announced the second change to its baggage policy this year as it tries to reduce delays caused by passenger luggage.
From 1 November, the Irish carrier is scrapping the free second carry-on bag for non-priority customers that was introduced in January.
Under current rules, which went into effect in January, these customers can take a larger carry-on item of up to 10kg in addition to one smaller personal item that fits under the seat, but the bigger bag has to be put into the hold free of charge.
With the new policy, only priority customers will be allowed two carry-on items. Priority status can be purchased for £6 per person.
If non-priority customers want to bring a second, larger bag, they will have to check it in at the bag drop desk. However, Ryanair is introducing a new checked bag fee of £8 at the time of booking or £10 at the airport for up to 10kg.
The airline will still offer the existing £25 fee for bags of up to 20kg, but it says passengers will be able to switch to the cheaper 10kg bag if they wish.
The policy will come into effect at gates from 1 November and for bookings from 1 September. Customers who booked tickets before 1 September for travel after 1 November will still have to pay the after-booking fees of £8 for priority boarding or £10 to check the bag.
If a non-priority customer’s one free small bag is more than 25 per cent bigger than the allowance of 35x20x20cm, they will have to pay an at-gate fee of £25 and their bag will be tagged and placed in the hold.
Ryanair claims 60 per cent of its passengers will be unaffected because 30 per cent already pay for priority boarding and 30 per cent only travel with a small bag anyway.
The airline has produced a Frequently Asked Questions list to explain the new policy. One of the questions is why passengers would pay £8 to check a 10kg when they can pay £6 for priority boarding instead – to which Ryanair said “some customers don’t want to carry a bigger bag through airport security”.
The carrier claims the move is not about making money but reducing the delays it has seen since allowing all customers to bring a second carry-on item. Ryanair says the current policy led to gate agents having to tag and load up to 120 free gate bags, which caused delays to its 25-minute turnarounds.
Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer at Ryanair, said: “This new policy will speed up the boarding and cut flight delays. Sixty per cent of customers will be unaffected by these changes and we expect that the other 40 per cent will either choose to buy Priority Boarding or a 10kg check bag or will choose to travel with only one free small bag as 30 per cent already do so today.”