Ryanair may reconsider its cabin baggage policy again as too many people are now opting to check in bags at the departure gates.
Addressing investors on Wednesday (May 23), chief executive Michael O’Leary said the airline was having to put as many as 120 gate bags in the hold free of charge ahead of some flights.
Ryanair last shook-up its cabin baggage policy in January. Non-priority customers (free) can take two carry-on bags to the gate, the larger of the two (maximum 10kg) is then checked into the hold before boarding.
Priority customers (£5), meanwhile, can also take two carry-on bags to the gate, both of which can be taken onboard so long as the larger bag does not exceed 10kg or 55x40x20cm.
O’Leary though said this was starting to case a “handling issue” at busy times with many passengers opting not to pay in advance to check a bag in and simply doing it at the gate.
Ryanair recently revealed it makes around £5m a day in fees from its various additional charges, such as on hold luggage.
Said O’Leary: “[Gate baggage] is creating a handling issue, particularly at peak periods - bank holiday weekends, summer peak periods. There are many flights where we are having to put 100-120 gate bags free of charge into the hold.
“If that continues to build, it’s something we may have to look at again. But there is no doubt, both the feedback from the cabin crew and customers is that nobody is struggling to find space on board in the hat bins or under the seats when they board the aircraft, and that’s good.”
The airline is yet to disclose what form these changes may take.
Some might argue Ryanair created a rod for its own back with its cabin baggage policy, but checking in baggage at the gate has become a tedious inevitability on budget, short-haul routes.
In fact, barely a flight departs without gate staff having to resort to begging customers to give up their hand luggage and have it placed in the hold.
So perhaps it’s time airlines gave passengers a free 10kg / 55x40x20cm luggage allowance on arrival at airports, which can be deposited through a simple, automated baggage drop process instead of trying to fleece them through spurious fees - and inflict infuriating delays on weary travellers moments before they board.