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Ryanair may do a U-turn on bag policy


Ryanair, which is  known for turning on a dime (in fact for turning over to get a dime), may be shifting its new carry-on policy because it's working too well.

The airline, which a couple of years ago modified its baggage rules to allow customers to bring a carry-on and a small second item, recently decided that people were cramming too much into the overheads and taking too long to clear the aisles.

A new policy decreed that only those who paid for priority boarding (£5 or €5 depending on where you're flying from) were guaranteed space overhead for a carry-on. Anyone else would have their bags taken at the gate and stowed in the hold at no charge. And there's the rub.

CEO Michael O'Leary told investors “There are many flights where we’re now having to put 100, 120 gate bags free of charge into the hold, so if that continues to build, it’s something we may have to look at again.” Meaning, instead of people ponying up for the priority charge and overhead space, they're saying, in effect, "Hey! Free checked bag!"

Since Ryanair's two goals were faster loading (achieved) and more revenue from priority fees (not achieved) you can expect a change soon. Like most other ultra low-cost carriers, Ryanair counts on extras and fees for a lot of its profit. In fact, O'Leary has said over the years that if he could guarantee enough revenue from fees, he would consider free airfare.

Here are the  top airlines heavily dependent on ancillary fees as of 2016.

  1. Spirit - 46.4% of total revenue
  2. Frontier - 42.4%
  3. Allegiant - 40%
  4. Wizz Air - 39.4%
  5. Ryanair - 26.8%
  6. - 26%
  7. Volaris - 24.3%
  8. Hong Kong Express - 24%
  9. Jetstar - 22%
  10. Pegasus - 22%

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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