Ryanair and Aer Lingus hike luggage fees for Greece and Canary Islands flights
Thousands of families heading off on holiday this week are being hit with higher baggage charges as major airlines cash in on the summer season.
New fees levied two days ago mean that passengers flying on Ryanair or Aer Lingus from Dublin to the Canary Islands or to Greece must pay £10 to £15 extra per 20kg bag for each leg of the trip.
The increase means that a family bringing three 20kg bags to Lanzarote on a return journey this month will pay £90 more in luggage fees than a family who made the same journey just last month. That is also presuming the baggage was paid for in advance and not at the airport, because that would incur an even higher surcharge.
Baggage fees generally vary depending on what time of year you fly, with the high-cost season beginning on June 1 and running until September 30.
But a spokeswoman for Ryanair said yesterday that its policy had now changed. She added: "We have eliminated the seasonality of the bag pricing, with one flat fee across the year."
Last week people travelling out of season - between January 5 and May 31 or October 10 and December 20 - paid £35 per person per flight with Ryanair for checking in a single 20kg bag online if they were visiting the Canary Islands or Greece. From Wednesday the cost for exactly the same bag to the same destination went up by £15 to £50.
Opting not to pay online to bring a checked bag to the Canaries would have cost you £50 last month, but this week that shot up to £80.
And if flying to the Canary Islands with Aer Lingus, the price of a checked 20kg bag rose from £35 to £45 online, and from £50 to £60 at the airport.
On shorter flights, it costs from £20 to £30 online, and £40 to £50 in the airport.
Aer Lingus said it had "two different pricing structures based on the time of year, which is due to the greater demand for baggage space in the peak seasons".
Yesterday Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the firm was cutting costs, adding: "We're pleased to cut bag fees for 92% of customers as part of our Always Getting Better programme, with a streamlined range of just six bag fee options."
In cutting charges, it appears that the airline was comparing this year's summer surcharge with the last year's surcharge, which was even higher.
There are no scheduled flights with either airline from Northern Ireland to the Canary Islands or Greece at present, which means many local passengers will use Dublin Airport as a gateway.
Ryanair's winter 2016 schedule will, however, extend to offer services to both Lanzarote and Tenerife.