The budget airline said passengers were taking advantage of its ‘generous’ allowances and it might have to increase checks at boarding gates.But travel experts described the claims as ‘ludicrous’ and said customers were simply following the rules.
Ryanair says fewer passengers than ever are checking bags into the hold in order to save money.
The carrier allocates all ticket-holders, including children aged two and above, an allowance of two pieces of luggage – a 10kg suitcase and a second smaller ‘personal’ bag – on board.But finance boss Neil Sorahan said some passengers were abusing the system and ‘coming in with the kitchen sink’.
‘I’ve seen two-year-olds wheeling a bag up to the plane as people try to take advantage,’ he said.‘The vast majority of people play by the rules, but there’s always people who don’t. If people turn up with a normal size bag, handbag or a briefcase, it works very well.
Unfortunately some people bring massive backpacks or things that will never fit into the aircraft and that causes issues.’
The airline’s ‘no-frills’ model, and emphasis on cut-price fares, means it can cost more to check in a bag than purchase a seat.Bags weighing 15kg typically cost £50 to check in while 20kg bags cost £60.
Mr Sorahan added: ‘We will have to start paying closer attention to the size of bags that people are bringing to the gates with them.‘We are very generous when it comes to our on-board bags. It is important that people play by the rules – and if everybody does that there’s no issues. But it is the people coming with the kitchen sink that could change the policy.
But Emma Coulthurst, travel expert TravelSupermarket.com, said: ‘You have to pay for a seat for a child of two so a family is fully entitled to bring luggage for that child. And, really, how many toddlers have you seen on the Tarmac pulling 10kg cases.‘
He may find families choosing, as a result of his comments, to fly with someone who seems to want their custom more. 'Perhaps, customers feel that Ryanair is taking the Michael with some of its seating charges, with families feeling that they are being held to ransom to pay for priority allocated seating, to ensure that they can sit with their children on a plane.‘
Perhaps, Ryanair should instead be looking at that policy and guaranteeing that families can sit with their children and don’t have to pay in advance for the privilege.’
James Daley, managing director of consumer group Fairer Finance, said Ryanair’s claims were ‘ludicrous’, claiming it showed the airline ‘has lost its grip on reality’.
Mr Sorahan was speaking after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary raised the possibility of a fares price war.
He said the airline would likely make cuts averaging 8 per cent in the second half of the year and added: ‘We expect the pricing environment to remain very competitive.’
Budget rivals easyJet and Wizz Air have already both said they expect to cut fares.