Hand luggage costs rocket as Aer Lingus joins Ryanair and easyJet with new fees

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Much like rival budget carriers Ryanair and easyJet, Belfast-based Aer Lingus has axed free hand luggage on flights within Europe, including the UK. Passengers will now no longer be able to bring a 10kg cabin bag onboard free of charge.

Instead, as of June 29, customers will have to purchase “priority boarding” for £5.99 upwards in order to store their 10kg luggage in an overhead locker.

According to the airline: “These changes are being introduced to ensure faster boarding and de-planing, therefore improving overall customer experience.”

In an update to its website, Aer Lingus explains: “We’ve changed our carry-on bag policy and now offer different ways to bring your 10kg bag on your journey.”

However, passengers will be able to drop off their 10kg bag at check-in to be stored in the aircraft hold. They will then have to wait at the baggage belt on the other side of their journey to collect their luggage.

They will be allowed one small personal item to take onboard.

Travellers who fail to drop off their 10kg bag at the check-in desk, and who have not purchased the priority boarding package, will incur a cost of £35 to place the bag in the hold at the boarding gate.

Passengers who are travelling on more expensive fares or who hold frequent flyer status will still be entitled to a free 10kg cabin bag.

This also applies to those connecting to or from an Aer Lingus transatlantic flight, and for an adult accompanying an infant.

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Express.co.uk has contacted Aer Lingus for further comment on its cabin baggage fee update.

The move is similar to that of Ryanair and easyJet who previously also slashed the amount of free luggage customers could bring onboard.

In 2018, Ryanair introduced its new priority boarding fee.

According to Ryanair: “Priority customers can also bring an additional 10kg bag on board which must fit into the baggage sizer (not exceeding 10kg and dimensions 55cm x 40cm x 20cm) and will be stored in the overhead locker.”

Priority boarding can cost anywhere between £8 and £22 when purchased in advance of the journey.

However, customers who do not purchase priority will only be allowed to bring one small cabin bag which “must fit under the seat in front of them (40cm x 20cm x 25cm).”

Following the change, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said the new hand luggage restrictions “speeded up gate boardings.”

Similarly, in December 2020, easyJet was branded as looking for a “new way to get more cash out” of passengers after it implemented new luggage fees.

In an update to its website at the time the airline explained: “For all travel from February 10, 2021, the seat you have booked will determine what bags you are able to bring on board.

“Everyone can take one small cabin bag per person on board (maximum size 45 x 36 x 20cm, including any handles or wheels), which must fit under the seat in front of you.

“That should be enough to bring all the essentials for your journey or for a short trip. There’s no weight limit, but we do ask that you are able to lift and carry your bag yourself.”

Prior to this, all passengers were entitled to bring one cabin bag on board per person free of charge.

New fees were said to be starting from £7.99.

At the time, Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “While this decision has been framed as a means of improving boarding and punctuality, airlines make millions from the sale of flight add-ons, so passengers would be forgiven for thinking this is nothing but easyJet finding a new way to get more cash out of them.”

In all cases, airlines claim the baggage fees help enhance customer experience.

However, experts have slammed luggage fees as “alienating” travellers.

Rob Burgess, editor of UK frequent flyer website www.headforpoints.com said: “With passenger demand not predicted to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023, it seems foolish to alienate customers in this way.”However, customers who do not purchase priority will only be allowed to bring one small cabin bag which “must fit under the seat in front of them (40cm x 20cm x 25cm).”

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