Could extra fees for airplane carry-on luggage soon be a thing of the past?

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are determined to make airlines comply so that passengers have the right to take along at least their travel essentials at no extra cost.

A 40x20x30 cm piece of hand luggage is allowed under the seat on Vueling flights, but for a larger piece of luggage, measuring 55x40x20 cm, you’ll need to opt for the TimeFlex fare range, at an estimated extra cost of between €24 and €59 (about US$25.30-62.25) when booking online.

On EasyJet, carry-on baggage must measure a maximum of 45x36x20 cm, but if you need a larger cabin bag, measuring no more than 56x45x25 cm, you’ll have no choice but to pay at least €7.99 more.

Hidden costs of carry-on baggage

Low-cost airlines have all established their own price schemes, covering not only extra charges for checked luggage, but also those for carry-on baggage. And this detail does not always come up straight away when you’re searching for a flight.

In fact, we generally focus on the extra cost of checked baggage, while verifying the maximum weight allowed. However, you should also watch out for the rules regarding hand luggage when booking online, otherwise you might get a nasty surprise at the airport. As part of airlines’ pricing policy, these measures generally came into force just a few years ago.

However, in 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that hand luggage when of a reasonable size and weight constitutes an essential part of air travel. The legal institution thus ruled that airlines did not have the right to charge their passengers such extra costs. However, this decision was never implemented.

EU committee urges airlines to stop hidden fees for carry-on luggage

According to the SchengenVisaInfo website, the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament passed a motion urging carriers operating flights within the European Union to stop charging extra fees for carry-on luggage.

“Low-cost companies are doing business with the price of tickets by hiding the supplement for carrying cabin luggage until the end of purchase.

Europe has already spoken out on the matter, and even so, member states continue to allow airlines to play with prices and deceive travellers. This must end,” the text reads.

British newspaper the Daily Express shared one of the statements made by Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson, who did not take too kindly to the EU’s stance.

“We are allowed to set the prices of our products, it is a fundamental right according to European law,” he said.

This resolution is, in fact, part of a wider project to standardise baggage regulations for carriers flying within the European Union.

In particular, the aim is to prevent passengers from being faced with a situation when, in transit between two flights operated by different airlines, they end up paying extra due to stricter luggage restrictions than on the first leg.

Finally, the regulations, still under discussion, could also potentially prevent airlines from charging fees when passengers choose their seat.

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