a plane on the tarmac

Typically, when a court makes a ruling, the person or entity being ruled upon takes notice. But then, Ryanair is not your average person, or entity.

A Spanish court has sided with a passenger who was forced to pay to a fee to bring a carry on bag on board, demanding Ryanair immediately refund the money, with interest, due to the new policy being “excessive”. The obvious answer to dissuade future legal action, after an unappealable precedent would be to change the policy. Ryanair however says it’s not changing, and won’t be.

a plane on the runway at nightThe passenger brought a small personal item, and standard sized carry on, which Ryanair charges for. Technically, Ryanair only allows you to bring a small personal item, like a purse or small backpack. She was forced to pay €20 for the second bag (allowed on all other airlines) and the court has ruled for a refund.

According to the BBC, the Spanish court, who’s decision cannot be appealed, ruled the policy to be “null and void” and advocated that it be removed from terms and conditions. Ryanair’s response? No. The airline issued a statement proclaiming..

“This ruling will not affect Ryanair’s baggage policy, either in the past or in the future, as it is an isolated case that misinterpreted our commercial freedom to determine the size of our cabin baggage,”

Reading between the lines, it’s not out of the question that anyone flying Ryanair to or from Spain could take the airline to court to have their €20 refunded. In fact, every week, every passenger could file a class action in Spain, to bring their carry on’s for free. It’s unlikely that the specific ruling would be enforced anywhere else in the EU, until it’s legally challenged in other countries.

While this is somewhat good news for passengers hoping to travel with *some dignity* in the form of a full sized carry on bag, commercial freedom is important, as is the ability for all airlines to charge what they wish, allowing the market (us) to decide whether or not we’d like to partake and support the business.

But even within those confines, expecting people to move from one country to another with nothing more than a toothbrush and a small bag might be a little “excessive”.

It’s always important to consider hidden costs when buying an airline ticket, such as whether you’ll end up paying more by the time you assign a seat, pay for a carry on bag and other factors, versus a ticket that appears more, but includes all of those things fo less.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Finally, now remind me which is only European airline to charge for seat reservations in business class?
    Has the most expensive per megabyte WiFi?
    Advertises a product that in reality in available on less than 5% of the fleet?
    Regularly fails to provision enough catering for all on board whether they’ve paid for it or not?
    Has chronically underinvested in back office systems resulting in months long delays in customer service responses?
    Has an IT investment strategy that has resulted in a dozen or more incidents impacting over a thousand customers just in the last 18months?

  2. Probably unpopular opinion alert – I must say that, while I’m not really a fan of Ryanair, and their policies are pretty mean, I disagree with the ruling. FR are pretty clear on their policies, nobody is forcing any pax to fly with them, and there is the option of paying to bring extra, even if “extra” is normal on other carriers. Agree with FR’s response in this instance.

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