29 July 2011 | In the U.S, most major airlines (with the exception of Southwest and Jetblue) now charge passengers to check their luggage. This has led to an increase in the size and amount of carry on luggage that passengers take on board, which in turn has caused issues with available space in the overhead bins. Airlines such as American Airlines have responded to this by introducing early boarding fees, allowing passengers to board early so they can store their luggage, while low-cost airline Spirit Airlines has even introduced a fee of USD20 to USD40 to take hand baggage on board.
In Europe, meanwhile, Latvian-based airBaltic recently introduced its so-called ‘airBalticBag’, an airBaltic-branded Samsonite suitcase which for EUR169/181 (depending on size) can be carried as free checked luggage on an unlimited number of airBaltic flights for a year. AirBaltic normally charges passengers in Economy a fee of EUR20 to 30 per checked bag one way.
On a similar note, Ryanair has teamed up with Samsonite to offer a hard-shell carry-on bag which is guaranteed to meet the airline’s carry-on luggage weight and size restrictions. Each Ryanair passenger (excluding infants) is permitted to carry one piece of cabin baggage on board free of charge, which should weigh no more than 10kg and not exceed the maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm.
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21 December 2009 | Last October, ultra-low cost carrier Ryanair closed all its airport check-in deks as part of its relentless drive to cut cost. The carrier now only operates bag drop desks at airports and offers no mobile check-in (yet). Ryanair passengers are required to check-in online and print their boarding pass at home before they arrive for their flight. Passengers who have forgotten to print (or have lost) their boarding pass, are charged a steep EUR40/USD57 penalty (GBP40/USD65 in the UK) when Ryanair has to print it for them at the airport
Ryanair says the purpose of the charge is to make sure passengers print out their boarding cards at home, and that the vast majority of passengers does print out their own cards. However, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary recently suggested that the charge even could be more than doubled to EUR100/USD144: “You really now must check in before you get to the airport. If you don’t, the fine is EUR40 and if that doesn’t get rid of them all within a very short order, we double that fine to EUR100. We don’t want people showing up without the pre-printed boarding card.”
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