Key Points:

  • The European Parliament's Committee urges to enforce a cabin baggage rule made in 2014 by the European Court of Justice.

  • Airlines' varied size and weight standards for hand luggage create issues for passengers on connecting flights.

  • Hidden fees, including those for hand luggage, mislead consumers about the true cost of air travel.

Airlines' Inconsistent Cabin Bag Policies Under EU Scrutiny

BRUSSELS —The European Parliament's Committee on Petitions is pushing for passengers to be able to carry hand luggage on planes without incurring fees. A unanimously adopted resolution emphasizes the need to honor a ruling from the European Court of Justice in 2014, which stipulated that cabin baggage adhering to "reasonable" weight and size criteria is an intrinsic component of flying and shouldn't attract extra charges. Despite this ruling, implementation remains lacking.

The Committee's resolution aims to standardize the way airlines handle carry-on baggage. It highlights that airlines have diverse policies for hand luggage, leading to inconsistencies that confound travelers. Additionally, airlines' advertising sometimes conceals baggage costs, surprising passengers at the time of ticket purchase.

One pressing concern revolves around the varying size and weight guidelines for carry-on items across different carriers. This disparity can cause issues for travelers who have connecting flights with distinct airlines, increasing the likelihood of encountering unexpected fees at boarding, the committee says.

Furthermore, the European Union (EU) is advocating for greater transparency from airlines, prompting them to provide clearer information regarding ancillary charges like seat selection fees and alterations in flight schedules.

This potential prohibition of fees for cabin baggage aligns with a broader EU initiative designed to streamline ticket pricing and associated fees for flights throughout the region. Spain, earlier this year, scrutinized several budget airlines concerning their hand luggage fee structures. The investigation revealed that separating these charges from the core ticket prices enabled airlines to advertise seemingly competitive fares, which didn't encapsulate the entirety of costs borne by passengers.

The misrepresentation in prices is potentially misleading, leading consumers to assume they're receiving a better value than they are in reality, the committee highlights. Concerns have also arisen about search engines favoring airlines that advertise these deceptively low rates.

“Budget airlines have been manipulating ticket prices by concealing cabin baggage fees until the final stages of the purchase process. Although Europe has previously addressed this issue, member countries still permit such deceptive pricing practices by airlines. This trend needs to come to an end," Spanish MEP, Jordi Cañas, commented on the situation.