6 Jun, 2023 @ 16:30
1 min read

Ham luggage: Ryanair settles row over extra charges for Mallorcan pork-fat pastry

Ryanair's ensaimada controversy
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AN UNLIKELY row involving budget airline Ryanair, the Balearic Islands government and a traditional pastry called an ensaimada has been settled, and passengers flying out of the archipelago will now be able to carry up to two of the desserts with them on board.

The controversy broke out at the end of May, when two Ryanair customers tried to board their flight carrying two boxes containing the traditional Mallorcan pastry, as well as their hand luggage. 

The boarding crew refused them access to the plane unless they paid €45 for each of the ensaimadas, considering them to be extra pieces of baggage. 

The passengers opted to leave the pastries behind, and according to Spanish daily El Pais they were devoured by cleaning staff at the airport. 

Ensaimadas are a traditional Mallorcan pastry, made in a spiral shape using flour, eggs, sugar, water and pork fat. Their name comes from the word saim, which means lard in the Catalan language. 

A joke tweet from Ryanair about the controversy. The caption reads: “The ensaimada in question.”

In the wake of the incident, the Balearic Islands government called an urgent meeting with Ryanair and the local pastry makers’ association. The aim of the pow-wow, said tourism minister Iago Negueruela, was to ‘defend local produce and avoid any kind of discrimination’, according to comments reported by The Guardian

Today it emerged that Ryanair would allow each passenger to carry up to two ensaimadas on board the plane, without incurring any extra costs. 

This outcome to the controversy will come as a relief to bakers’ associations on the islands, given that more than 40,000 ensaimadas are made every year – many of which are taken by passengers as gifts on flights out of the Balearics. 

Ryanair is among the airlines operating the most flights out of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic island of Mallorca, with 84 routes to other European countries. 

Speaking after the meeting today to resolve the issue, Negueruela encouraged people to continue to buy ensaimadas from the islands’ bakeries in order to support the artisans who make them.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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