Ryanair and Wizz Air were hit with fines of €3 million and €1 million euros last week by Italian competition authorities over their controversial baggage policies.
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) conducted an inquiry after Ryanair changed their hand luggage policy late last year, quickly followed by Wizz Air. Both airlines reduced the amount of hand luggage a passenger could take into the cabin and introduced additional fees for those that wanted to take anything larger.
AGCM said customers had been charged between €5-€25 to take large hand luggage in the cabins of the companies’ planes.
In the decision they stated “Hand baggage is an essential element of the air transport service and its transport must be permitted without incurring any additional costs”
Adding “In fact, also on the basis of the European legislation on air transport, the foreseeable and unavoidable supplements must be included in the price of the basic service presented since the first contact and, therefore, can not be separated from this with the request for further sums.
“Hence the deception for consumers, as the price to be paid at the end of the booking process will almost always be higher than the tariff presented at the beginning of the process.”
The watchdog has now asked the two airlines to comply with its rules on hand luggage. It says they must notify it of measures taken in compliance with the decision within 60 days.
It is unclear at this stage what changes will be brought in following the decision and whether these will be introduced across the EU.
Ryanair have stated that they will appeal the decision.