Ryanair and Aer Lingus charge most for baggage
RYANAIR and Aer Lingus have been urged to reduce their baggage charges after a survey found they have the highest of 12 leading airlines.
The Consumers' Association found that it can cost up to €100 for one item of luggage for Ryanair passengers at peak times, if it is not checked-in online.
And if a bag taken into the cabin exceeds the 10kg maximum weight for cabin luggage, the airline charges €50.
Checked-in baggage charges are higher during the summer.
Aer Lingus charges up to €40 for bags that are checked-in at the airport, according to a survey in 'Consumer Choice' magazine, which is published by the Consumers' Association.
This is double the €20 that it charges for bags that are checked in online.
The two Irish airlines were heavily criticised for raising ticket costs in the past year, and for "stealth fees".
These fees were "absurd" and were much too high, the magazine argued.
"The Consumers' Association of Ireland sees an opportunity for both Aer Lingus and Ryanair to decrease the baggage and handling fees they charge consumers," Eric Baker, who led the survey, said.
Reserving a seat on a Ryanair flight costs €10 per passenger, while it costs €5 to get on board early, known as 'priority boarding'.
This means a family of four could end up paying €120 for a two-way flight, if they want to reserve their seats and get on board before others.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus are profitable enough to cut their baggage handling and other fees, the consumer group said.
Aer Lingus made a pre-tax profit of €84.4m last year, while Ryanair, which carried 76.4 million passengers last year, is on course to make profits of close to €500m this year.
The survey looked at baggage fees and weight allowances for airlines including Aer Arann, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Luft-hansa, Jet2, JetBlue, Qantas and Southwest Airlines, along with Ryanair and Aer Lingus.
A spokesman for Ryanair defended the high baggage charges, which he said successfully discouraged people from putting bags in the hold.
"Ryanair has always delivered consumer choice, which is why the number of passengers checking in a bag has fallen from over 80pc to less than 30pc since we introduced baggage fees.
"Ryanair wants to reduce the costs associated with hold luggage and we incentivise passengers to leave checked-in bags at home by charging for them."
And Aer Lingus insisted its baggage fees were competitive when compared with other European low-cost carriers.
It said it has generous luggage allowances on long-haul flights.
"On short haul, our policy is to provide the lowest priced seat and thereafter customers may choose from a menu of additional extras. We also offer customers a number of fare options including flexi fares whereby checked baggage is included in the fare package."
Aer Lingus said its policy was to allow one piece of hand baggage up to 10kg. Additional small items, such as a camera, handbag or laptop were permitted in addition to the bag.