Britain's biggest budget airline turned a passenger away from his flight when he refused to pay twice for the same bag.
After Simon McCausland was denied boarding by easyJet, he said: “Treating passengers in that way so they can make money is just plain wrong.”
On Monday morning Mr McCausland, who lives in Belfast, arrived at the city’s international airport in good time for easyJet’s flight 182 to Luton.
His booking included a checked bag, but he neglected to check in and instead was allowed through the security checkpoint with both a bag and a laptop case.
“At the gate I was told I would need to combine them to comply with the one-cabin-bag rule," he said.
“I said it’s already paid for, I made a genuine mistake. Can you just put it in the hold?”
Mr McCausland, who is a construction industry site manager, was told that easyJet’s terms and conditions required him to pay again.
The airline’s terms stipulate: “Your cabin baggage must comply with the allowance and maximum dimensions set out in our cabin baggage policy.
“If it does not, it will be placed in the aircraft hold and you will be charged in accordance with our fees and charges.”
The £21 online fee for a 15kg bag on the one-way flight from Luton to Belfast increases to £55 if it is checked in at the departure gate.
On a point of principle he refused to pay the higher fee, and was told he would not be allowed on board.
“I’m pretty annoyed,” he later told The Independent. “I can understand that easyJet has financial troubles. But as soon as there’s a whiff of someone transgressing the rules, they think ‘We could make money out of this’.
“They are trying to claw money from any direction. Can’t they have a little empathy and understanding?”
Mr McCausland travelled on a later flight to Stansted, also on easyJet.
The airline argues that as Mr McCausland had failed to meet the bag-drop deadline he was therefore liable to pay the gate fee.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “We require passengers who have booked a hold bag to check them in at bag drop at least 40 minutes before the flight which allows them to be efficiently loaded on to the aircraft, minimising delays.
"Although Mr McCausland had booked a hold bag in advance, this has to be checked in at Bag Drop and cannot be accepted at the gate without a fee.
"He was offered the option to combine his luggage at the gate but he chose not to.
“easyJet aims to avoid putting bags into the hold at the gate as this can cause delays to flights.”