Ryanair and Samsonite offer ‘guaranteed’ carry on bag

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.

Ryanair charges passengers with checked baggage a fee of EUR/GBP20 to 25 each way (which further increases with GBP/EUR5 during peak summer months), which has resulted that 75 percent of passengers do not check in a bag. However, due to the large increase in passengers abusing the cabin luggage allowance, Ryanair is enforcing its rules more stricter and charges passengers EUR/GBP30 for each additional piece of carry on luggage.

And, sensing a commercial opportunity because of consumer’s anxiety that they won’t be able to take their luggage onboard, Ryanair and Samsonite have come up with a lightweight carry-on bag which (when properly packed) complies with Ryanair’s approved carry-on bag dimensions. In the airline’s words, “To ensure all passengers can get the maximum benefit of our generous, free 10kg carry-on baggage allowance we asked Samsonite to develop a lightweight, durable, hard-shell carry-on bag which is guaranteed to match our advised hand luggage dimensions.”

The Samsonite F’Lite 55cm suitcase weighs 3.2kg and is from made of hard wearing polypropylene. It is available through ryanair.com for GBP89/EUR99, which according to Ryanair is a 33 percent discount on regular recommended retail price. Delivery is free of charge anywhere in Europe.

With 75 million passengers per year, Ryanair is an interesting distribution partner for Samsonite. The two companies in 2010 already launched a soft-shelled version of the guaranteed carry-on bag, accompagnied with the following disclaimer (which may be the reason behind this year’s hard-shell offer): “As this Samsonite bag is softsided, if over-packed it may not fit into Ryanair’s baggage sizers and in such cases Ryanair will require it to be carried as checked-in baggage.”

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