Ryanair to raise fees for second time in year
FLYING Ryanair just got dearer as the so-called low-cost airline increased luggage charges and charges for using the airport check-in service for the second time this year.
The company yesterday confirmed that passengers pre-booking baggage will now have to pay €10 each way -- the charge went from €6 to €9 in January -- while those using the check-in desk rather than the online service will pay €5, up from €4. The charges are effective from next Tuesday, May 5.
Europe's biggest low-cost airline has said the increases are aimed at encouraging more people to travel with hand luggage only. The company has pledged to continue raising fees until half its passengers check in online.
"Ryanair encourages passengers to avoid these charges altogether by travelling with our 10kg hand luggage allowance and checking in online," a company statement said.
Ryanair has also said the charges hike would help keep fares low by making airplanes lighter, resulting in less fuel being consumed, and lowering baggage handling costs.
Industry analysts have suggested soaring fuel prices are the reason behind the increase in baggage and check-in costs.
The global oil price has climbed from around $80 a barrel to nearly $120, putting huge pressure on airline companies. Fuel accounts for a quarter of airline budgets and the resulting financial squeeze has triggered a wave of bankruptcies.
Long-haul carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic levy fuel surcharges to cover rising fuel costs, but low-cost airlines refuse to impose them. Instead, Ryanair and their competitors prefer add-on charges for checking in, in-flight food and car rental deals.
Last night Dermot Jewell of the Consumers' Association of Ireland accused Ryanair of "making life very difficult for a certain cohort of passengers who are just as loyal as others."