I was surprised to read headlines yesterday (3rd June , 2016) regarding Ryanair’s reduction in baggage fees, apparently fees would now be lower for 92% of customers, including a huge 17% saving on flighst of 3 hours of less – wow, how nice have Ryanair become!
Unfortunately for passengers however it would appear Ryanair HQ either don’t own (famously tight) or know how to operate a calculator.
In 2015 for flights from the UK & Ireland to popular European destinations such as Spain, Ryanair charged €/£15 for a 15kg bag in low season and €/£25 in high season[i].
Under today’s new fee structure those same customers will pay €/£25 all year round[ii]. Huh?
If you’re travelling to Spain in what used to be their ‘low season’ and booking online, you’ll pay 67% more for your 15kg piece of luggage, if you’re travelling in what was previously the ‘high season’ you’ll pay the same as before.
But it’s OK, we’ve been told 92% of people are making savings, maybe the new ‘Domestic Flights < 2hrs” tariff helps those travelling around the UK & Ireland save: ‘Applicable on domestic flights in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain”[iii]. Oh.
Well at least you’ll save when taking flights of 3hours or more! Or maybe not; previously a 15kg bag to Greece in the low season was €/£20, now it’s €/£40, a 100% increase.
The basis of Ryanair’s figures are a mystery, some of the ‘was’ fees in their press table[iv] don’t even appear to match the fees their own website displayed prior to the introduction of the new fee structure.[v]
The ‘why’ behind the new fees is however much more straightforward.
According to research released last year Ryanair generated 24.6% ($1,906,616,921) of their total 2014 revenue from ancillary streams such as bag fees. [vi]
Bag charges are a golden ticket for the airlines; they win with increased revenue if those who have no choice but to check bags pay higher fees and they win by saving costs[vii] if people travel without bags altogether.
Despite what some airlines may say, bag fees are a key source of revenue growth for the industry worldwide. US airlines have recently taken $1B in revenue from bag fees in a single quarter[viii], up from $122M in the same quartet 8 years earlier[ix].
Bag fees are now a staple of airline revenue and it’s laughable to suggest any low-cost airline will be significantly reducing bag fees anytime soon.
Travellers who need to travel with luggage but want to avoid growing fees can pack smart and try to fit everything into a carry-on or alternatively leave the whole hassle of airport luggage behind and opt for a good value door to door luggage delivery service such as Send My Bag.
But for those carry-on packing ninjas out there, don’t rest easy just yet; with a thirst for ancillary revenue and overhead lockers at bursting point, carry-on charges are surely next[x]…
Send My Bag has helped over 100,000 customers beat excess baggage fees, skip bag drop queues and avoid baggage carousel waits.
[x] 6:24 onwards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1O4Xet5yGQ
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently released new guidelines for carry-on luggage, which will see the recommended allowable dimensions reduced to 55 cm x 35 cm x 19 cm. This is considerably smaller than the current standard allowance of 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm. If these guidelines come into play, it will become increasingly difficult for passengers to pack what they need for even a few days away. Many will once again have to check in their baggage. This means that travellers will be forced to pay checked baggage fees and will be at risk of incurring extortionate excess baggage fees. Only time will tell what level of confusion and extra cost to the traveller these new guidelines will cause.