Ryanair's one bag per flight policy could be made illegal
THE days of stuffing handbags, duty-free drinks and laptops into one carry-on bag may be over if MEPs get their way.
Europe's parliamentarians want to stop airlines such as Ryanair from stopping passengers bringing more than one piece of hand baggage on to flights.
Ryanair passengers are only allowed one item of hand luggage in the cabin – a rule that's strictly enforced.
MEPs say they want flying rules across the EU to be standardised, which could mean Ryanair being told to allow passengers with duty-free purchases along with hand luggage on board without any penalty.
On Ryanair flights, single items of hand luggage must weigh no more than 10kg.
There are also strict rules regarding luggage size.
And Ryanair passengers can be forced to pay an extra €50 to have over-sized hand luggage placed in the hold.
British Labour MEP Brian Simpson, the chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, tabled the original call for a new set of rules.
He said yesterday that while he was aware that cabin baggage rules had to reflect different aircraft types, his concern is that "certain airlines look to charge for everything".
Mr Simpson said the commission needed to "help alleviate the cancer that is add-on charges which bedevil European aviation and leave passengers often angry, confused and with the feeling of having been robbed".
The European Commission is to revamp air passenger rights later this year.
Irish Socialist MEP Paul Murphy claimed in the European Parliament yesterday that Ryanair is at the vanguard of "Wild West practices" used to boost profits to the detriment of consumers.
"Misleading advertising, poor customer service, rip-off credit fees and less than straight websites are all pioneered by this airline," he told fellow MEPs.
"The philosophy of Ryanair is a raw expression of capitalist greed, maximising profit at all costs."
Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara was unapologetic last night for the 'one bag' policy, which is also used by some other airlines.
He said passengers are aware of the restrictions when they book and if they don't like them, they can fly with another airline.
"The commission won't be able to turn around and interfere with commercial practices," he said. "It's just not workable."
He questioned how the commission could begin to implement harmonisation due to the large variation in aircraft types used across the EU.
Fianna Fail MEP Liam Aylward insisted that there had been a "marked decrease" in airport retail sales and suggested that some airline staff might even be getting bonuses for imposing fines.
Mr McNamara claimed the push to introduce a set of hand baggage rules was being backed by airport retail lobby groups.