Ryanair, easyJet, Bueling, Volotea fined over 'abusive' bag rules for passengers

Ryanair and easyJet have been fined for 'abusive' bag rules as light travellers warned they could pay more. Ryanair and Easyjet, which both fly from Birmingham, are among the budget airlines which have been hit with fines totalling €150 million (£128 million) by Spanish authorities over "unfair" practices involving seating and bag rules.

The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs has hit four low-cost carriers with a fine of 150 million euros for charging passengers for carry-on luggage and requiring them to print their ticket, according to industry sources. The four operators (Ryanair, Volotea, Vueling, and easyJet) also face the largest penalty in the history of low-cost airlines for charging an extra fee for carry-on baggage, charging for seat selection when travelling with dependents (such as parents with children), for lack of contractual transparency and for prohibiting cash payments.

The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued fines against Ryanair, Vueling, Volotea and Easyjet for "abusive practices". and the fines will total €150m. The Spanish airline association Asociación de Líneas Aéreas (ALA) said: "It will harm consumers by removing the option for passengers to hire exactly what they need. As a result, the 50 million or so passengers who currently do not carry cabin luggage on board and only travel with hand luggage under the seat would not be able to benefit from paying only for essential services, forcing them to purchase services they do not use."

READ MORE UK tourists in Spain losing £20 'on spot' and warned to 'walk away'

Eoghan Corry, editor at Travel Extra, said: "Ryanair are being told you can't charge to put families sitting together and you can't charge for cabin bags. They faced this resistance right across Europe from the very beginning; they're feisty, they're not going to lie down - they're going to appeal this."

"The argument... is that if you want to sit [together] you pay a few euro extra. If you don't, you get a cheaper flight - that's the argument," he said. "Spain is a very important market for Ryanair, they're not going to walk away from it."

Agustin Reyna of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) said: "This is a strong and welcome signal from the Spanish authorities because unfair policies from airlines about carry-on hand luggage need to stop." "What we now need are EU-wide standards for hand luggage policies to harmonise what airlines require of consumers and to smoothen air passengers’ experience," he added.