Inconsistent rules on airline carry-on luggage could be scrapped in the EU

Inconsistent rules on airline carry-on luggage could be scrapped in the EU
Brussels Airport. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Members of the European Parliament are arguing in favour of having consistent EU rules on sizing and pricing for airline carry-on luggage, with a view to scrapping any extra charges.

A new resolution passed on Wednesday could see the EU executive bringing in uniform standards for carry-on hand luggage.

MEPs are listening to citizens' concerns about the "inconvenience and discomfort" caused by inconsistent rules on airline carry-on luggage. On this issue, a reform of existing EU legislation on air passenger rights is needed, MEPs say, to better protect consumers.

While luggage size can also depend on the aircraft model, MEPs are targeting the "hidden fees" set by airlines to scrap extra costs for consumers, such as seat allocation or other complex luggage policy offers.

With hidden fees and different airline rules on hand luggage, it can be more difficult for consumers to compare prices when booking flights, as flight prices can greatly increase after adding carry-on fees.

Under new rules, hand luggage must be considered as constituting a "necessary aspect" of the carriage of passengers on condition that such baggage has "reasonable" weight and dimensions.

Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

For example, this summer Irish low-budget airline Ryanair was found forcing customers to verify their certain bookings through a facial recognition process for a small fee (€0.59) – or be forced to go to the check-in counter at the airport over two hours before departure to pay an additional fee ranging from €30 to €55.

MEPs also want to strive for transparency on the disclosure of any carry-on luggage fees, in the belief that EU-wide harmonisation of size, weight and type of luggage requirements would enhance transparency and consumer protection.

With the resolution, the European Parliament is calling on the European Commission to take action when reviewing the current EU Air Services legislation, urging the executive to fully implement the relevant ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU.

According to the ruling, airlines should not charge a supplement for hand baggage "on condition that such hand baggage meets reasonable requirements in terms of its weight and dimensions, and complies with applicable security requirements."

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