Grace period for Ryanair's new baggage rules 'throughout November'
The decision to take "a reasonable approach" to enforcement was taken months ago, the airline says
Ryanair is affording its passengers a grace period of a month before fully enforcing its controversial new hand luggage policy.
November 1 was supposed to be the first day of the new rules, which no longer permit "non-priority" customers a free larger carry-on bag.
However, scores of passengers in non-priority queues shuffling towards the boarding gate with cases from yesterday should have faced a €25 fee - but instead are being let off the charge by the airline.
A statement from the airline to Independent.ie Travel today said:
"While our new bag policy has come in to effect yesterday, we have briefed our gate agents to take a reasonable approach while customers get used to the new rules over the month of November."
Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland this morning, Ryanair's Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, confirmed that the 'grace period' will continue throughout the month.
Day 1 of our new bag policy and early reports from airports and customers are that it's working well and reducing delays at security and speeding up the boarding process.— Ryanair (@Ryanair) November 1, 2018
Here's a reminder of the policy for those travelling with us 👇🛫 pic.twitter.com/l4RnCSBlI3
"We decided we were going to have a grace period and waive fees weeks ago," he said, insisting that reports of queues at Stansted yesterday were not behind the decision to waive the new charges.
Ryanair has tweeted to say "reports from airports and customers are that it's working well and reducing delays at security and speeding up the boarding process," but social media has also been awash with confusion and criticism of the new policy's rollout.
Dublin Airport has also asked Independent.ie to clarify that the new rules do not affect airport shopping bought after security.
The new rules mark the second time Ryanair has changed its baggage policy this year.
This January, the first policy change saw 'Non-Priority' customers required to check larger, 10kg carry-on bags into the hold, without charge.
Meanwhile a second, larger bag - such as a wheelie suitcase weighing up to 10kg - could be put in the hold free of charge.
However, this resulted in up to 120 bags being tagged at boarding gates for each flight, meaning departures were disrupted.
Ryanair has now responded by no longer allowing any luggage in the hold free of charge.
Instead, passengers have to pay €8 to check in a 10kg bag, or pay €6 for Priority Boarding, which allows them to take both a "personal bag" and small suitcase as hand baggage.
The previous lowest price for checked luggage was €25 for up to 20kg, which remains an option for those with heavier cases.
Ryanair insists it does not expect to make more money from the new rules.