Yesterday, The Guardian and some other news sites published an article about Ryanair. Apparently, Ryanair bosses are complaining that travellers are ‘taking the piss’ by exploiting baggage allowance rules. According to the article ‘fewer passengers than ever are checking bags into the aircraft hold. Instead, travellers are avoiding charges by bringing more and more luggage into the cabin.’ Following an overhaul on a number of airline’s charges, it seems to be more common for flyers to be faced with expensive add-ons to their bill. Not only are we paying for tickets to be on the plane, we have to pay to secure seats together and pay to take clothes with us, among other expenses.
Tomorrow morning, Dan and I are flying to Croatia. Although we are flying with Thomson, on a package holiday, our experience is not too dissimilar. Thankfully, our luggage was free, but at the point that we checked in, we were given the last two seats on the plane, (which are not next to each other), and were expected to pay £9.50 each to secure seats next to each other on our return next week. When we flew to Rome with Monarch, we had to pay to have seats together. What if we weren’t a couple of fairly independent mid-twenty year olds, but a parent and their eleven year old, flying to see family in Ireland, separated at different ends of the plane?
On our flight from Rome, a family of four were moved from their seats by the exits as the children were underage. What are the chances the family paid more money for four seats with extra leg room? Probably quite high. Would they have been reimbursed? Probably not.
On the same flight, almost everyone had one of those small, wheeled suitcases, which were stuffed in the overhead lockers. Dan and I had backpacks, and there was no way we were going to pay to literally toss a suitcase into the hull of the plane. When disembarking the plane, one woman pulled her case down which landed on me, and I should have been annoyed, but how could I? What else should be expected when the charge is on average £30 to store a bag in the hull each way?
I fully appreciate that airlines are not earning as much as they once were, and that the bosses need to ensure the continuation of their business, but I was guilty of mixing up the concept of a low-cost airline with one that has low fares. I thought that Easyjet, Ryanair and Expedia would sell flights at a cheaper rate. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The low cost refers to the ‘standard’ experience travellers have on these flights, and also the way these travellers can be exploited: it can cost £50 to check in a bag at the desk on the day of the flight, and ‘failure to print a boarding pass can result in a hefty ‘printing fee’’. Many low-cost airlines will not allow cabin crew to refill water bottles for free. Not only that, some of these airlines have planned to add seats on planes but not increase the space available for travellers’ luggage. Clearly, these low cost airlines seem to believe that clothes are a luxury.
If I am paying to travel to another country, I expect, least of all, to be able to take my ‘luxuries’ with me for free. If it transpires that our carry on allowance becomes restricted and we have to pay for everything, I’ll be wearing my suitcase.
Categories: Euro Tripper