Airlines' hand luggage fees could be banned thanks to an upcoming EU vote

Airlines' hand luggage fees could be banned thanks to an upcoming EU vote

Carry-on baggage fees could soon be a thing of the past as the EU looks to simplify ticket pricing for air travel.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions has unanimously adopted a resolution that calls on airlines to guarantee that passengers can carry cabin baggage free of charge.

It urges countries to enforce a ruling on hand luggage made by the European Court of Justice back in 2014.

An official vote on whether to adopt the resolution will take place in the European Parliament in October.

What does a ban on cabin luggage fees mean for passengers?

The EU wants to solve two major problems: airlines having inconsistent hand luggage policies that cause confusion for passengers. Plus unclear advertising that could mean hidden baggage fees when buying your ticket.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that cabin baggage which complies with “reasonable” requirements for size and weight was an essential part of air travel. The court effectively decided that passengers shouldn’t have to pay extra - but the decision was never enforced.

Inconsistent hand luggage limits can lead to extra fees at the gate. - Pixabay

The new resolution recommends enforcing this ruling to get rid of extra charges for carry-on bags. It also seeks clarity for passengers on exactly what a “reasonable” size and weight is.

Weight and size standards can vary wildly between different airlines. This is especially problematic for passengers with connecting flights on different airlines that have different standards, increasing the chance they have to pay extra fees at the boarding gate.

The EU is also urging airlines to be more upfront with passengers when providing information about additional costs, like charges for seat allocation, and flight timing.

Airlines ‘play with prices and deceive travellers’

The potential ban on cabin bag fees is part of a wider drive to simplify ticketing and fees for air travel across the EU.

Earlier this year, Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation into multiple low-cost airlines over hand luggage fees. It said that separating these fees from ticket prices meant carriers could offer competitive prices that didn’t reflect the total cost that passengers paid.

Consumers therefore could be misled into believing that they were getting a better deal than they actually are. There are also concerns that search engines may give an unfair advantage to airlines advertising these super-low fares.

“Low-cost airlines do business with the price of tickets by hiding the extra for carrying cabin baggage until the end of the purchase,” said Spanish MEP Jordi Cañas.

“Europe has already spoken out on the subject, but member states continue to allow airlines to play with prices and deceive travellers. This must stop.”