Skift Take

Well that's an interesting twist: A Franco-era law that may actually relieve consumers from tyranny.

Airlines that charge passengers to fly with a suitcase could face legal action in Spain.

The Malaga public prosecution office is preparing a case against a number of airlines that operate to and from the city, including easyJet, Jet2, Flybe and Ryanair.

A report in the English language newspaper Sur claims that the office is compiling a list of those airlines which impose a fee to check in luggage, as well as those who charge passengers to issue a boarding card. It is thought that between 15 and 20 airlines would be affected.

Its case makes reference to the Air Navigation Law of 1960, which states that airlines are obliged to carry a passenger’s luggage, together with the passenger, as part of the price of the flight ticket.

Checked baggage on a carousel. Photo by Robert S. Donovan

The cost of checking in luggage on board low-cost airlines has increased dramatically during recent years. Ryanair recently temporarily increased its charge to £40 per person per flight on selected services until the end of September. It charges passengers between £15 and £30 per person per flight outside of peak periods for travel.

easyJet levies baggage charges of up to £31 per person for a return flight, Flybe charges between £10 and £31, depending on the size of the bag, and charges up to £30.

Last week Telegraph Travel reported that the total revenue airlines received from “extras” such as baggage charges rose by 66 per cent in the last two years.

Airlines around the world took an estimated €18.23 billion (£14.23 bn) in “ancillary revenue” during 2011, up from just over €15 billion (£11.7 bn) in 2010 and €11 billion (£8.6 bn) in 2009.

The annual study by IdeaWorksCompany, an aviation consultancy, and Amadeus, a travel technology provider, also highlighted those airlines which received the most in extras.

Low-cost rivals Ryanair, which last month temporarily raised its charges for checking in a bag, and easyJet, were both among the 10 highest earners, along with six US carriers: United Continental, Delta, American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Air Group and Southwest Airlines.

Text of the Air Navigation Law of 1960:

Download (PDF, 14KB)


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