While airlines appear to encourage passengers to travel without checked luggage, a study has revealed that 26% of Ryanair passengers end up having to put their cabin bags in the hold due to a lack of space in the overhead bins. The findings come as part of a Which? Travel study, which looked at data from eight major airlines.
EasyJet (15%) came in second place and Aer Lingus (11%) came third, followed by KLM (10%), Monarch (7%), Jet2.com (6%), British Airways (4%) and Flybe (3%). While budget airlines seem to struggle to accommodate travellers’ cabin luggage in overhead bins, the problem isn’t exclusive to them as approximately one in 20 British Airways passengers also have their bags moved to the hold.
As the passenger would have expected to have kept their luggage with them during the flight, having to check it in can lead to complications. This can include time delays upon arrival as they are forced to wait for their luggage to arrive at the baggage reclaim, which can potentially lead to missed connections.
As passengers often only find out at the last minute that they have to put their cabin luggage in the hold, it can cause issues around security. Readers of Which? Travel reported that they were often given insufficient time to retrieve medication and valuables, and jewellery, cash and tablets subsequently went missing from cabin bags that were unexpectedly put in the hold. None of them were compensated for their loss as many airlines and insurers state that they will not pay out for missing items.
Speaking to Lonely Planet, Ryanair says that some of the claims made by Which? are untrue. “Ryanair aircraft can accommodate 190 (not 90) standard cabin bags,” it said. “However, if each passenger brings up to two permitted carry on bags, then some of these 380 bags will be put in the hold free of charge. Secondly, Ryanair has never claimed that ‘passengers will only need to check in bags on exceptionally busy flights’, since all Ryanair flights are exceptionally busy.”
The moral of the story appears to be that even though travellers may only intend to bring a cabin bag with them, they should prepare for the likelihood that the bag may end up in the hold. It may be prudent to keep valuables and essentials in a bag within the case that can be swiftly retrieved, and factor potential delays at the baggage reclaim into plans.
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