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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why only one piece of hand luggage?

This week I travelled on the
low-cost airlines Ryanair and EasyJet. I assume that most of you have heard of these no-frills companies that make their money from anything but the flight fare itself. To avoid having to pay the hefty baggage fees, we all have to make do with the 10 kilo hand luggage that we are entitled to. This didn’t use to be an major problem as your 10 kilo will see you trough a long weekend but in order to, I can only assume, make even more money, these companies decided that these 10 kg could had to be contained in one single bag.

So, rather than having one bag with about 10 kg and then a laptop bag, a hand bag and the duty free bag, they now want us to fit all that into the one single bag. A nearly impossible task. I tell you, there were many travellers with open bags trying to re-pack and reshuffle their items. I wonder what the duty free shops think about this? Especially with us buying less than before as it is with the recession.

I often buy a drink and a book to enjoy on the plane. I used to have it in a separate little bag so that I could easily place my luggage in the overhead locker and then sit down and let the rest of the passengers find their seats. But not this time. Now I had to fit that into my already overcrowded bag and once in the plane, I then had to open the bag and search for the items that I wanted. That took a while and the queue got longer and longer as more people had to do the same. I wonder what Ryanair and
Easyjet accomplished here. Any thoughts?

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  1. I'm not that surprised since, as you said, low cost airlines derives their revenues mostly from accesory services. No wonder then that if you buy a flight for 10 euro, Ryanair and Easyjet will not offer the same package as a regular airlines, asking maybe 50 or 100 euro for the same destination.
    I'm not against the "one piece of handluggage" policy, although it might sometimes be annoying. I've seen too frequently travellers boarding with 5 bags in hands, a handluggage far too heavy and large than admitted, not fitting in the luggage box and endless discussions with other passengers and flight assistants.
    What I wonder instead is if that model is sustainable over time. In summer, it's not really a challenge limiting handluggage to 10 kilos but in winter? The risk is that at the end of the day, once finished to sum up the airfare with the cost of luggage and other services your flight is no more a low cost one. Then why travelling with Ryanair or Easyjet, having to plan in advice what to take with you, what to bring back home, if for almost the same price you can take another airlines that has simpler rules?
    We will see over time if and how these measures will impact on low cost airlines traffic.

  2. Hi, thanks for your comments. They were very valid indeed. If regular airlines lower their prices slightly, they will as you said be able to compete on a larger scale with the low-cost ones. Traveling during Christmas for example, when you have a lot of luggage, is far cheaper with regular airlines.