Ryanair and Wizz Air may not have to pay hefty fines over their cabin bag policies after all.
Italian watchdog AGCM initially imposed huge fines on the budget carriers earlier this year – €3million for Ryanair and €1million for Wizz Air – over their cabin bag rules.
Both airlines appealed the decision, and now administrative court TAR in Italy has suspended the fines until there is a definitive ruling on the issue.
The court also ruled that the airlines would not need to suspend their cabin bag policies during this time, as AGCM had initially requested.
Wizz Air said in a statement that it "welcomes" the decision adding that it has a "transparent and clear approach to baggage policy". (You can read the full statement below).
The AGCM first issued the fines in February explaining in a statement at the time that because "hand baggage is an essential element of the air transport service", the cost should be included from the beginning of the booking process.
It argued that Ryanair and Wizz Air's policies separate these costs by including the second bag as an extra fee along basic ticket fares which was seen as "deception for customers".
Ryanair's cabin bag policy changed twice in 2018. In January it launched new rules where only priority boarding passengers could bring two pieces of hand luggage into the cabin for free. (Non-priority passengers could take one small bag, and put a second bag in the hold for free).
In November, the airline changed the rules again so that non-priority boarders will have to pay extra if they want a second bag at all, with an £8 charge for a bag of to 10kg. (At least a cheaper alternative for passengers who'd planned to check in a second bag anyway compared to the usual £25 for a bag of up to 20kg).
Meanwhile, Wizz Air unveiled new rules back in June 2018, but in November it changed the policy to be nearly identical to Ryanair's, with passengers also having to pay for a second bag .
Wizz Air statement
"Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing airline group, welcomes the Italian court’s (TAR) decision to allow Wizz Air to continue with its current baggage policy.
"With this decision, the court has suspended the Italian Competition Authority’s (AGCM) previous order obliging the airline to suspend its baggage policy and pay a fine of €1 million.
"The airline’s clear and fair baggage policy guarantees all passengers can bring one free carry-on bag into the aircraft cabin on all Wizz Air flights.
"The policy offers the widest selection of baggage choices to passengers, allowing WIZZ customers to select from more than 50 carry-on and checked in baggage variations based on their individual preferences.
"Wizz Air believes that this transparent and clear approach to baggage policy will contribute to a more comfortable and quicker boarding, a better customer experience and at the same time enhance the airline’s on time departure performance.
"With more certainty that a bag can fit on board, and a new, wider selection of baggage size and weight options, customers now have an unprecedented assortment of combinations to choose from."
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