Italy is investigating whether Ryanair is unfairly distorting the airline market with its controversial carry-on baggage fee

  • Starting in November, Ryanair customers with nonpriority seats – the cheapest fare – will be able to take only one “small personal bag” on flights free, paying an extra 8 euros, or $US9.40, to bring a carry-on bag.
  • Italy’s competition watchdog, Antitrust, is investigating the budget airline over this charge.
  • Antitrust has been quoted arguing that carry-on baggage is an “essential element of transport.”
  • At issue is whether the baggage charge should be included in the ticket price for consumers to be able to fairly compare prices across airlines.

Italy’s competition watchdog is investigating Ryanair, with reports indicating it is accusing the budget airline of distorting the airline market by charging for carry-on baggage.

Antitrust, Italy’s competition authority, called carry-on baggage an “essential element of transport” that should be factored into the ticket price, the news agency AFP reported Friday, citing a statement that appeared in the Italian press.

A spokeswoman for Antitrust confirmed to Business Insider that the agency was investigating Ryanair but declined to comment further.

Ryanair announced last month that beginning in November, customers with nonpriority seats – the cheapest fare – would be allowed only one free bag, a “small personal bag” that fits under their seat such as a handbag or a laptop case.

Customers will have to pay 8 euros, or $US9.40, to carry-on an extra bag of up to 10 kilograms, or 22 pounds, the new rules say.

According to AFP, Antitrust said the policy could be an unfair commercial practice, as it is likely to make it difficult to properly compare Ryanair’s prices with those of other airlines.

Consumer associations had complained to Antitrust about Ryanair’s baggage-charge decision, AFP reported.

The Italian consumer-rights association Codacons said in a statement that “if its unfair commercial practice on hand luggage is confirmed, Ryanair … should reimburse all its customers who suffer unfair additional costs.”

Codacons also pledged to take the matter to court if necessary.

Ruqayyah Moynihan contributed reporting.

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