In a significant move towards simplifying air travel pricing, the European Union (EU) is pushing airlines to provide complimentary access to cabin luggage for all travellers.
The EU’s Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament (PETI) recently passed a motion, urging airlines operating within the EU to eliminate additional fees for passengers bringing hand luggage into the cabin.
What does this mean for travellers?
If the EU’s proposals are implemented, it could mean the end of baggage fees for millions of travellers. It would also make it easier for passengers to travel with hand luggage, without having to worry about different size and weight restrictions from different airlines.
When could the changes come into effect?
It is not yet clear when the EU’s proposals could come into effect. However, the fact that the Committee on Petitions has passed a motion calling for free cabin luggage access is a positive sign.
Tackling Hidden Costs
Low-cost carriers have been notorious for their pricing strategies, often concealing cabin luggage fees until the final stages of booking. Despite previous efforts to address this issue, Member States have allowed airlines to manipulate prices, leaving travellers frustrated. The EU is determined to put an end to this practice.
Stricter Baggage Rules by Low-Cost Airlines
In recent years, many low-cost airlines have implemented stringent baggage rules, charging passengers for bringing even a small suitcase on board.
Notably, Ryanair presently only allows a small handbag or backpack for free, with additional fees for wheeled luggage. Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs previously investigated several budget carriers for their hand luggage policies.
EU Court of Justice Stands Firm
The EU Court of Justice has reaffirmed that hand luggage should be considered an integral part of air travel, provided it meets specific size and weight criteria. EU countries are now urged to ensure compliance with this ruling and enhance transparency regarding hand luggage fees.
Addressing Inconsistencies and Hidden Fees
The EU aims to address two major issues: the lack of uniform policies among airlines regarding hand luggage and unclear advertising that often leads to unexpected baggage fees when purchasing tickets.
In 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that cabin baggage meeting reasonable size and weight requirements should be included in the ticket price, but the decision was not widely implemented.
Striving for Standardization
Airlines’ varying weight and size standards create confusion for travellers, particularly those with connecting flights on different carriers, increasing the likelihood of additional fees at the boarding gate. The EU is now calling on airlines to provide travellers with clearer information about additional costs and flight details.
In conclusion, the EU’s move to urge airlines to provide free access to cabin luggage marks a significant step towards simplifying air travel and ensuring fairness for passengers. This initiative is expected to bring about more transparent pricing and eliminate hidden fees, ultimately benefiting all travellers within the European Union.