Lately we’ve seen airlines around the world make changes to their carry-on policies. Even here in the US we’ve seen airlines cut free carry-ons on basic economy fares. One common justification for such a policy change is that people are carrying on too many bags, and it’s causing delays.
Well, Ryanair is making changes to their carry-on policy to “eliminate boarding delays,” which they seem to suggest will lose them money. I’m suspicious.
To encourage more customers to check-in some bags and reduce the volume of carry-ons, Ryanair is introducing the following policy changes as of November 1, 2017:
- The check-in bag allowance will increase from 15kg to 20kg for all bags
- The standard check-in bag fee will be cut from €/£35 to €/£25 for this 20kg bag
- Only Priority Boarding customers (including Plus, Flexi Plus & Family Plus) will be allowed to bring two carry-on bags on the aircraft
- All other (i.e. non-priority) customers will only be allowed to bring one smaller carry-on bag on board the aircraft, while their second (bigger) wheelie bag must be placed in the hold (free of charge) at the boarding gate
So going forward, non-priority passengers can only bring a small personal item on the plane, no larger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm (roughly 14in x 8in x 8in).
Here’s how Ryanair’s chief marketing officer describes the policy change:
“These bag policy changes will cost Ryanair over €50m p.a. in reduced checked bag fees. However, we believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking-in a bag, which will reduce the high volume of customers we have with 2 carry-on bags at the boarding gates, which is causing flight delays due to large numbers of gate bag and cabin bag offloads.
We hope that by restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag – their wheelie bag must be placed in the hold, free of charge at the boarding gate – this will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays being caused by not having sufficient overhead cabin space on busy flights to accommodate over 360 (182 customers x 2 bags) carry-on bags.
While he claims that the airline will lose €50 million annually in checked bag fees, presumably the airline hopes that more people will pay for checked bags, and that more people will pay for priority boarding, which costs €/£5. Who knows, maybe everyone will purchase priority boarding, like in this “Come Fly With Me” scene:
All that being said, I still find this to be an odd solution for an airline like Ryanair. So you’re going to have passengers drag their bags all the way through security, and then gate check 100+ bags? Does that really speed things up by much? I think Ryanair’s hope is that passengers elect to pay for a checked bag fee again, though I can’t imagine a majority of customers will just throw that money out the window.
Given that Ryanair is a true ultra low cost carrier, I’m surprised they haven’t changed their model so that they’re charging for carry-ons altogether, rather than checking full size carry-ons for free, and just hoping it will encourage people to pay to check them.
So I guess I find this policy change oddly generous and sort of irrational, but maybe I’m missing something.
What do you make of Ryanair’s cary-on policy change?