Thursday 27 October 2016

Ryanair's new bag fees: There's a catch you need to know about

'Always Getting Better'

Published 07/06/2016 | 02:00

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Mark Condren
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Mark Condren

Ryanair has 'simplified' its bag charges in a move it says reduces fees for 92pc of customers. But is it really that simple?

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The airline has replaced multiple bag charges with six year-round rates, a change it says will lower fees for more than nine out of ten customers.

Among the changes, Ryanair says customers on domestic flights of less than two hours can now save up to 50pc on checked bags, with those on all other flights of less than three hours enjoying a €5 reduction in the price of 15kg bags (from €30 to €25).

But there's a catch.

The new, year-round fares were introduced on June 2 - just one day after the airline hiked its checked bag fees by up to €15 for peak season.

The new savings are based on these high season prices - i.e. €30 in the case of a 15kg bag on European flights of less than three hours.

When compared to low season prices of €20 charged up to May 31, however, the new, year-round 15kg checked bag fee of €25 actually represents a 25pc price hike.

A similar scenario applies to 20kg checked bags on these flights.

Ryanair says it is important to note that 63pc of its customers flew during the six months from April to October last year, and that this period is also when the highest level of customers checked bags.

Passengers are also permitted a 10kg carry-on bag free of charge, as well as an additional smaller item such as a laptop or handbag.

However, the airline has also claimed that customers on flights lasting over three hours "will see no change to their checked bag fees".

This does not appear to be the case.

15kg bag fees on longer flights to Greece, the Canary Islands and other destinations of 3+ hours from Ireland previously cost €25 in low and €40 in high season.

These are now charged at €40 year-round, which actually represents a hike of 60pc on the old low season rates - i.e. for up to seven months of the year.

Ryanair's Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, said:

"Over 92pc of our 116 million customers will enjoy reduced bag fees and will pay the same price for checking-in a bag whether bought at the time of the initial booking or added to the booking, regardless of seasonality."

That may be true, but the savings aren't as simple as first appears - particularly for passengers flying in what the airline used to call "low" season.

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