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New baggage fees for no-frills flyers

IN THE first indication that the recent changes to airport security are to have a significant impact on air travel, both easyJet and Ryanair have announced changes to their luggage fees, to speed up the handling of baggage at airports and minimise inconvenience to passengers.

All easyJet passengers will be encouraged to limit themselves to a single piece of checked-in baggage. Any additional bags will be charged at five pounds sterling if paid online in advance, and 10 pounds sterling if paid at the airport at the time of departure. The total weight limit will remain at 20kg, regardless of the number of bags you check-in.

This new approach was introduced on September 1, and passengers who booked before this date are strongly advised to travel with only one piece of checked-in baggage, but they will not be liable for the charge. EasyJet’s charge of 15 pounds sterling per flight for transporting sporting goods, such as skis and mountain bikes, remains the same.

Andy Harrison, easyJet’s chief executive, said: “We are now taking action to adapt our policies to the new security measures, in a way which will benefit all our passengers. It is simply common sense, people need to think a little more carefully about how much luggage they take and that is what these changes are designed to do. They will speed up check-in and security and make the airport experience better for everyone.”

They are intended to encourage people to check-in less baggage,” a spokeswoman for easyJet said. The airline says just 10 per cent of passengers take more than one piece of baggage to check-in and that the introduction of the fee will be the marginal factor that allows the operation to run smoothly.

British Airways will also soon change its baggage policy. In a measure announced earlier this year, the airline said it would start charging fixed fees for economy passengers who checked in more than one bag.

By coincidence, Ryanair increased its baggage charges from the same date. There has been no official announcement of the new fees, but passengers using the airline’s website can read about the new charges in the small print when they make a booking (

Currently, every item of baggage on a Ryanair flight is charged at 2.50 pounds sterling if you pre-book, and five pounds sterling if you pay at the airport. However, these rates increased to 3.50 pounds and seven pounds respectively on September 1.

In a related development, Ryanair is also planning to reverse its increase in the amount of hold luggage from November 1. The limit was only increased to 20kg in March this year, when baggage fees were first introduced. At the time, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Increasing passenger baggage allowance to an industry leading 30kg (20kg hold plus 10kg carry-on) will substantially reduce excess baggage charges.”

Ryanair charges 5.50 pounds sterling per kilo for anything over its hold baggage limit. It has attracted criticism from some passengers because individual baggage limits can no longer be pooled between people travelling together. The hold baggage limit is also being more strictly enforced by airline staff. A spokeswoman for Ryanair explained that the increase in baggage fees was intended to encourage passengers to travel with less pieces of luggage.