Ryanair's controversial new cabin bag policy came into force on Monday (15 January) and people have mixed feelings about it.
The new rules mean non-priority customers still have an allowance for two free carry-on bags, but they are now required to put the bigger of the two bags into the hold at the gate. Ryanair says this will avoid boarding delays and baggage offloads, because of the limited capacity in the overhead compartments.
They have also reduced check-in bag fees from £35 to £25 and increased check-in allowances from 15kg to 20kg. Priority boarding passengers who upgrade for £5, or £6 in the 30 minutes before departure, can keep their two carry-on bags in the cabin.
Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer, explained on Monday: "We're pleased to launch our new cabin bag policy today which has been implemented successfully and we believe it will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays, alongside our new checked bag policy which offers our customers lower bag fees for a 33% increase in their checked bag allowance.
"Priority Boarding customers can bring two carry-on bags on the aircraft, which can be added from just €/£5. All other customers will still enjoy our free two bag allowance and can bring one smaller carry-on bag on board, while their second (bigger) wheelie bag will be placed in the hold (free of charge) at the boarding gate."
Dermot Synnott witnessed the impact of the new policy on Monday, tweeting a picture of near-empty overhead compartments and saying: "Ruthless new cabin baggage policy by #Ryanair is clear to see, never seen the overhead luggage compartments so empty on a fully boarded flight!"
Some people were quite positive about the changes. One Twitter user said: "Am I the only one actually happy about the new Ryanair baggage policy? Like I honestly hated having to bring my cabin bag on board." Johnny agreed, replying: "I'm with you. Problem was too much baggage for overhead luggage. Your bag could end up in different part of plane to you and finding storage for extra baggage delayed things. Very annoying."
And Elise Catherine wrote: "I don't know why everyone is moaning about the new @ryanair baggage rules. You can still take a standard handbag/small bag onboard, just not your suitcase/hold-all... Stops people faffing about for longer than the duration of the bloody flight from L'pool to Dublin trying to fit their very clearly over-sized suitcase in over your head. What do these people want access to their full luggage for anyway; they doing a quick-change show or something? Weirdos."
Others complained that they now have to wait for their bags on arrival, or that having to pay for priority boarding to keep the full baggage allowance is another way to "get more money from passengers". "Other people like having their bag with them and not wait afterwards," said one user while another added: "But you have to wait to get it on arrival. That waiting time is what they are charging to avoid."
Meanwhile the Spanish Association of Users, Employers and Professionals of Air Transport (Asetra) is encouraging tourists to boycott Ryanair over the new charges, which they claim are a "clear abuse" that are "looting" passengers. The group also wants Spain's Ministry of Development to reduce the airline's slots across the country and give them to other low-cost carriers.
Asetra said: "This new condition violates the rights of passengers at a time when Ryanair enjoys a dominant position in the Spanish air transport market. This prevents users from choosing other airlines in some routes that the Ryanair company exclusively carries out and thus limits their ability to choose."