You still get your personal item, but anything larger than a small laptop case will cost you. Nice side effect: boarding and de-planing times will be cut if the fees scare enough people.
Wizz Air, which last week began charging passengers to carry hand luggage, is considering extending the policy across the rest of its network.
The low-cost Hungarian airline is currently trialling the €10 (£7.90) charge on its service between Luton and Katowice, Poland. Passengers on the route carrying hand luggage larger than 42cm x 32cm x 25cm must pay for the charge. Bags measuring 55cm x 40cm x 20cm or larger must still be checked into the hold, for a fee of between €20 (£17) and €25 (£21) depending on the length of the journey.
Although a survey by the flight comparison website Skyscanner recently revealed strong opposition to the move – 88 per cent of travellers said they would choose to fly with an alternative airline rather than pay for charge – a spokesman for Wizz Air said the policy was proving successful.
“In light of the positive feedback we have received in the first days of the trial, we have already begun to consider the full rollout of this new policy across our network,” Daniel De Carvalho, the airline’s corporate communications manager, told the travel industry website Travelmole.
He added that 10 per cent of passengers booking flights between Luton and Katowice had chosen to pay for the larger baggage allowance.
Wizz Air is the first European airline to introduce a charge for carrying hand luggage. The policy has already been adopted by a handful of North American carriers, including Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air, which currently charge passengers up to $45 and $35 respectively to carry hand luggage.
The airline claimed the move will improve convenience and comfort during boarding.
“We believe an online fee as low as €10 for large cabin baggage will encourage most passengers to bring only one small cabin bag that could easily fit under the seat,” said a Wizz Air spokesman.
Its low-cost rival easyJet said it has no plans to introduce such a charge, while Ryanair has refused to comment on whether it was considering a similar move.