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Spain cracks down on budget airline fees


Spain's Ministry of Consumer Affairs has fined four airlines €150 million for 'abusive practices' against consumers, including charging for hand baggage. The four airlines are Ryanair, EasyJet and two Spanish carriers, Vueling and Voloeta.

The specific infractions charged were

  • Extra charges for booking an adjacent seat for accompanying minors or dependent persons.
  • Extra charges for hand luggage in the cabin.
  • Lack of clarity on the ticket price, meaning that the final price paid is often higher than originally advertised.
  • Not allowing cash payments both at the airport and on the plane.
  • Applying a surcharge for reprinting boarding passes at the airport (only in the case of Ryanair, which charges €20 for reprinting).

The hand baggage charge involves a violation of a 2014 European Court of Justice that hand baggage of a reasonable size and weight is an essential element of travel and can't be charged for.

The ruling, which the airlines have a right to appeal to the courts, stems from complaints filed in 2018 by two Spanish consumer advocacy groups. The fines are the largest sanction ever handed out for consumer violation in Spain.

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

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