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Ryanair Passengers Say They Feel “Held to Ransom” By New Baggage Policy

Passengers who are required to pick up carry-on bags at baggage claim are not big fans of Ryan Air’s new “elegant and fair solution” to bringing bags and personal items aboard flights.

The retooled baggage policy at Ryanair, rolled out this month as part of the carrier’s “Always Getting Better” campaign, was announced as a change to relax the restrictions and fees on checked baggage. In a move to encourage more flyers to check bags before flights, the airline reduced the price of checking bags by a third and increased limits for those items to a 44-pound maximum weight. Additionally, the airline now allows passengers to check an additional carry-on bag at the gate for no extra fee.

Now, however, some passengers are complaining that the new, friendlier policy is unexpectedly costing time and money at the airport. In practice, the new, more generous bag policy means that most passengers are now required to check all but small personal items before boarding flights and claim those items with checked luggage upon arrival at their destinations. It appears that under the new guidelines, only passengers ticketed with Priority Boarding are now permitted to bring full-sized carry-on bags into the cabin.

According to the Independent, many passengers who packed light with the intention of avoiding baggage claim upon arrival were more than a little disappointed to discover that they were now faced with two unpalatable options at the gate. Passengers are reportedly being told that they can either reclaim larger-sized carry-on items in baggage claim on arrival or pay a $50 fee to take the the bags into the cabin.

“Frequent flyers do not like waiting at the arrival hall to pick up their bags, it adds 20-30 minutes to the journey time,” Ryanair frequent flyer Robin Griggs complained to the newspaper. “Effectively you need to pay more. How can they do this on existing bookings? I feel I am being held to ransom.”

For its part, the airline says the new policy is needed to help ensure that a lack of overhead bin space no longer causes flights to depart behind schedule (as it reportedly was during the recent holiday travel season). Ryanair spokesperson Kenny Jacobs says that because fuller planes mean less space in the cabin for bags, the company set out to find a way to encourage more travelers to check bags.

“It’s simply physics that you can’t have 185 people on an aircraft with a wheelie bag and a rucksack,” Jacobs told the Independent’s Simon Calder. “Too many people were coming to the airport with too much stuff. We were keen to protect the two-bag rule. So we asked, ‘how do we protect the punctuality?’ What we’ve got is an elegant and fair solution for customers.”

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