UK airport
Air Malta currently flies in and out of London Heathrow Hannah McKay/Reuters

A low-budget airline has removed its free hand luggage allocation, forcing passengers to pay more for their bags.

Air Malta was very popular among customers across Europe, including the UK, for allowing them to carry a 10kg suitcase, along with a personal bag, regardless of the fare they were booking. However, Air Malta has changed its rules now, which could leave its regular passengers disappointed.

As per the latest rules, passengers flying on the cheapest fares will only be permitted to bring a small personal bag into the cabin.

Air Malta, headquartered in the Maltese town of Luqa, links the country to the UK, flying in and out of London Heathrow. But next year, Air Malta is set to be replaced by a new airline, KM Malta. When the new airline launches, it will also fly to and from London Gatwick.

The new rules will be imposed when the new carrier begins operations in March next year. The airline announced the terms of the new fares on their Facebook page.

The Maltese carrier will offer four economy fares to its customers, with only the two higher priced options (economy plus and economy flex), offering free hand luggage. Travellers who book the two cheaper fares (economy basic and economy value) will only be able to carry just a 2kg bag on board.

Meanwhile, economy value passengers will have the additional option of checking in a 10kg bag, but they won't be allowed to have it with them in the cabin.

In a post, Air Malta wrote on Facebook: "Introducing our Economy Fares! We understand that every traveller is unique, and that is why we're excited to offer a range of Economy fare options to cater to these needs."

People wishing to travel by Air Malta's new flights can begin to make their bookings, with their website launching on Dec. 4. Since then it has already received more than 122,000 bookings in its first week for its summer 2024 flights.

KM Malta is set to operate from March 31 until Oct. 26, with the airline serving 17 airports across 15 European cities. Apart from London, KM Malta will also fly to other popular cities including Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Catania, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Prague, Rome, Vienna and Zurich.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Ryanair is launching a new route to connect Malta with a little-known UK airport, next spring. The Irish low-cost carrier starts flights from Norwich Airport to Alicante, Faro, and Malta from April 1.

It is great news for the people of East Anglia, as the airport currently only serves a few foreign destinations, including three of the Greek islands, Amsterdam, Lapland, the Norwegian Fjords, Tenerife, and Dalaman in Turkey.