Ryanair is to make passengers pay for the small wheelie suitcase they were previously allowed to take in the cabin for free, the airline has announced, in a bid to reduce delays.
Ryanair passengers will soon only be allowed to take one small cabin bag — that can fit under the seat in front of them — unless they have paid €/£6 for a priority ticket.
Non-priority ticket holders travelling with a 10 kg pull-along suitcase, which were previously put in the hold for free, will have to pay €/£8.
The price for the larger 20kg suitcase allowance remains €/£25.
The measure will kick in at the boarding gate on November 1 and for all bookings made after September 30. It is the second time that Ryanair has altered its cabin luggage policy in a year.
In a statement, the company said the move was not intended to make money. It expects any increase in priority boarding and 10kg checked bags to be "offset by customers switching from the current 20kg checked bag to the cheaper 10kg checked bag" or by them choosing to travel lighter.
Additionally, it estimates that 60% of passengers will not be impacted as 30% already buy priority boarding and 30% travel with a small bag only.
Instead, it argued that the move was intended to cut delays. Currently, non-priority passengers are allowed one small bag and a pull-along suitcase but the larger bag is then tagged at the gate and put in the hold at no extra cost.
"This led to the tagging of up to 120 free bags which caused delays to 25min turnarounds," Ryanair said in a statement.
Priority boarding will be capped at 95 passengers per flight (out of 189) and the size of the small bag allowed in cabin is to be increased from 30x20x20cm currently to 40x20x25cm.
The announcement was met with anger and resignation online.