A court in Spain’s capital, Madrid, ruled against Ryanair on Wednesday saying that the fee which the budget carrier introduced last year for hand luggage is “abusive”. The Spanish court ruled that the airline, Ryanair, was no longer allowed to levy the baggage charge in Spain.
The budget airline, Ryanair, began charging customers an additional fee on top of their ticket price last year. The fee was levied for anyone who brought more than one personal item into the cabin. A passenger complained about the policy and the Spanish court made it’s ruling earlier today.
In a statement released earlier, Ryanair said, “This ruling will not affect Ryanair’s baggage policy, as it misquoted the (European Court of Justice) and misinterpreted the airlines’ commercial freedom to determine the size of their cabin baggage”.
The Spanish court said that the ruling could not be appealed in Spain but when asked if the airline would ignore the Spanish ruling or appeal it in the European Court of Justice, Ryanair declined to comment.
The passenger was travelling from Madrid to Brussels. She was forced to pay €20,00 by airline staff to bring a piece of luggage weighing 10kg on board the aircraft. As a result she took the airline to court.
According to court document, Ryanair were ordered to refund her the €20,00 plus interest. Her demand for compensation of a further €10 for the suffering she experienced was denied.
The judge said that the charge was abusive saying that it was invalid under Spanish law and that it “curtailed the rights that the passenger has recognised by law”. According to the judge, the hand luggage could be easily carried in the cabin. The judge pointed to a Spanish regulation that allows passengers to carry hand luggage on board an aircraft at no additional cost.
The demand for compensation was rejected. The judge did acknowledge that “the passenger suffered rage and powerlessness in having to pay the extra unforeseen cost at the time of boarding” but that the discomfort did not reach a level that would justify compensation.
In February of this year, Italy’s antitrust authority fined Ryanair €3m and Hungary’s Wizzair €1m arguing that the airlines has increased ticket prices in a “non-transparent” way.
The airlines both appealed and the Italian court cancelled the fines.
The Spanish court in Madrid said that Ryanair could not appeal the ruling.