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Photo: Wizz Air

Ryanair, Wizz Air fined millions

The two rival low-cost carriers have been fined in Italy for “deceiving consumers” with their hand luggage policies.

Low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air will be a million or three worse off once they pay fines presented to them in Italy for their controversial baggage charges.

Both companies have been charging since November for passengers taking small suitcases into the cabin, with only small bags allowed on free.

Passengers have been charged between €5 and €25 to carry on large hand luggage, depending on the time of purchase – when booking, at check-in or at the gate.

“Hand luggage is an essential element of the air transport service and its transport must be permitted without incurring any additional costs,” said Italy’s competition authority Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM).

It issued a €3 million penalty to Ryanair and €1 million to Wizz late last week, branding the fact that trolley-type cases are no longer included in the basic ticket price “unfair and deceptive commercial practice”.

Less than a year ago, the authority fined Ryanair almost €2 million for, it said, failing to inform passengers of their right to compensation.

“Unavoidable” bags
“In fact, also on the basis of the European legislation on air transport, foreseeable and unavoidable supplements must be included in the price of the basic service presented at first contact and, therefore, cannot be separated from this with a request for further sums,” the AGCM continued.

“Hence the deception for consumers, as the price to be paid at the end of the booking process will almost always be higher than the tariff presented at the beginning of the process.”

During an investigation, the AGCM says it found that “nearly all passengers are used to travelling with a piece of larger hand luggage or a trolley”.

Ryanair and Wizz Air must now notify the authority within 60 days of measures taken to comply with the ruling.

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