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21 November 2019, 11:33
Ryanair’s policy of charging customers for hand luggage has been ruled “abusive” by a Spanish court.
Budget airline Ryanair introduced a policy last year which forces passengers to pay an extra fee if they want to bring anything more than one personal item into the cabin.
But now it has been ruled that the company can no longer charge an extra fee for hand luggage in Spain.
In a landmark ruling, the court termed the charge "abusive" after a passenger complained following a trip from Madrid to Brussels.
The woman took the airline to court over the incident when staff made her pay €20 to bring her 10kg luggage on board.
But the judge ruled that the case could be easily carried in the cabin, pointing to a regulation in Spain which states that passengers are allowed to take hand luggage on board at no additional cost.
According to court documents, the judge labelled the charge “abusive”, adding: “It curtailed the rights that the passenger has recognised by law".
This means Ryanair's cabin baggage policy is now void in Spain and the court ruled it must be removed from its terms and conditions.
The judge also called on the airline to refund the passenger the 20 euros she had to pay plus interest, but rejected her demand for compensation of a further 10 euros for the stress she was caused.
Ryanair said in a statement: "This ruling will not affect Ryanair's baggage policy, either in the past or in the future, as it is an isolated case that misinterpreted our commercial freedom to determine the size of our cabin baggage.”
When asked whether they were planning to ignore the Spanish ruling or appeal it in the European Court of Justice, Ryanair bosses declined to comment.
Ryanair only allows one small bag into the cabin per person with their ticket.
Larger bags of up to 10 kilograms, which cannot fit under the seat in front, are charged, or a priority boarding pass can be bought which comes with an extra bag.