Spain is investigating seven airlines over hand luggage costs

Spain is investigating seven airlines over hand luggage costs

2023-06-07 19:51:06

Dhe Spanish government has launched an investigation into seven low-cost airlines over their carry-on baggage charges. The Ministry of Consumer Protection in Madrid said on Wednesday that it had to be clarified whether it was “abusive” and “unfair” to have travelers pay a surcharge for a service that is generally taken for granted.

The pricing policy of airlines such as Vueling, Wizzair and Ryanair suggests that it is primarily about “getting high positions on online comparison portals,” the ministry noted. In the end, the prices actually paid by consumers were often significantly higher.

The procedure goes back to a complaint by the Spanish consumer protection organization Facua. Facua again stated that she considers the airlines’ pricing policy to be illegal: “The Air Traffic Control Act stipulates that the air carrier ‘is obliged to carry objects and packages that the passenger is carrying as hand luggage in the cabin free of charge’.”

Since last year, the Spanish Ministry of Consumer Protection has been able to impose sanctions directly. The airlines now face penalties of “four to six times the illegally earned profit”.

In recent years, more and more airlines have started to charge fees for carrying hand luggage. Only a handbag or a small backpack is allowed free of charge. In 2019, the Italian competition authority imposed fines of three million euros on Ryanair and one million euros on Wizzair. However, the penalties were lifted by the court.

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