RYANAIR emerged victorious in its legal battle to be able to decide its own cabin baggage policy.

Thursday’s landmark ruling by a court in La Coruña underscores the airline’s ability to continue its policy of allowing one small personal bag for free.

The free bag must measure 40 x 20 x 25 cm and fit under the seat in front, while for an optional extra fee a 10 kg piece of luggage (55 x 40 x 20 cm) can be brought onboard and stored in the overhead compartment.

The European Parliament had previously called for standardised hand luggage standards across all airlines operating in Europe.

Meanwhile Spanish courts had labelled the practice of charging passengers extra for bringing hand luggage in the cabin ‘abusive.’

But Ryanair manager for Spain Elena Cabrera celebrated the fresh ruling, calling the ability to ‘set the prices of our products a fundamental right under European law.’

“Ryanair’s free cabin baggage policy is generous and sufficient to carry items such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, books, medicines and valuables, ensuring safety, comfort and convenience on board for all passengers,” she said.

The judgement is in line with the EU’s ‘Vueling’ ruling, affirming airline rights to charge for optional services like checked baggage.

However, Ryanair has faced challenges in Spain, with three courts in 2022 condemning its practice of charging extra for cabin baggage. 

These courts deemed the practice abusive, stating that hand luggage is essential for travellers and should be included in the ticket fare. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs had even opened sanction files against airlines for this practice.

A Madrid court had previously ruled the €50 supplement a couple were forced to pay as ‘abusive and void.’

It was established that ‘hand luggage is an indispensable right of the passenger and, therefore, an additional fee cannot be charged.’

But for now Ryanair will be free to continue charging a hefty sum to those who bring hand luggage on board.


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