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Spanish Court Orders Ryanair to Refund Passenger’s Carry-On Fee

The passenger had spent €35.69 on her ticket, making the baggage fee more than a third of the flight’s overall cost.

Rabat – A woman has won a case against budget airline Ryanair in a Spanish court over carry-on fees. The mercantile court ruled that Ryanair could not charge a fee for a carry-on suitcase that would fit in the airplane cabin.

The case became public on Wednesday, November 20, but Ryanair is reportedly sticking to its guns. While the company must return the €20 fee it charged the woman with interest, Ryanair says it will continue to charge passengers an additional fee to bring any luggage that does not fit under an airplane seat.

In a statement to British news outlet the Telegraph, Ryanair said the Madrid judge “misquoted the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and misinterpreted the airlines’ commercial freedom to determine the size of their cabin baggage.”

The budget airline offers cheap tickets to dozens of destinations across Europe and serves the Moroccan cities of Rabat, Agadir, Marrakech, Fez, and Essaouira.

The woman who filed the case against Ryanair flew with the airline from Madrid to Brussels in January. She arrived at the airport with a carry-on bag that weighed under 10 kilograms, and the check-in staff charged her €20 for it.

The passenger had spent €35.69 on her ticket, making the baggage fee more than a third of the flight’s overall cost.

Read also: Morocco Is Ryanair’s Biggest Market in MENA

Ryanair started charging passengers an extra fee to bring carry-on luggage onto the plane in 2018. Ryanair’s airfare only includes one small personal item.

While the court ruled in the woman’s favor, it said the inconvenience of the fee did not warrant any extra compensation from Ryanair for undue stress.

The Telegraph reported that “Spanish transport regulations oblige airlines to include an allowance for cabin baggage within the air fare charged.”

According to Spain’s EFE news agency, neither Ryanair nor the passenger can appeal the ruling since the deadline for an appeal has passed.

Ryanair made significant revenue, £2.8 billion, from its “supplementary charges” like baggage and seat preference fees in 2018, according to an IdeaWorksCompany study.

Although an Italian competition watchdog fined Ryanair millions of euros for deceptive fair advertising related to its baggage fee policy, the airline pointed out that an Italian court annulled the ruling.