At the start of October, low-cost carrier Wizz Air hit the world of European airfare with a new fee: you’ll now have to pay 9€/£7 to bring cabin baggage that is too big to fit under the seat in front of you. The airline – which tested this concept on its London-Katowice route earlier this year – expects the new fee to reduce the “inconvenience due to the lack of space caused by too many large bags” and delays that passengers experience by people carrying the larger ‘trolley’-style bags.
Wizz Air seems to be taking the lead from the US, where carrier Spirit Airlines is altering its already existing charges for the bigger cabin bags next month. Not to be confused with the interestingly named “personal items”, which, despite sounding like what’s in your toiletry bag, actually refers to laptop bags, purses, backpacks and briefcases, Spirit currently charges $30/£19 to take a carry-on bag if added at time of booking on a domestic US or international flight. This is due to rise to $35/£22 at the start of November. The silver lining is if you check that bag in, you can save yourself a humongous $5/£3 and take a full-size bottle of shampoo – checked bag rates are dropping to $30.
Michael O’Leary, the beloved boss of Ryanair, recently bemoaned to Management Today that when he flies on his own airlines over the summer holidays, it costs him “a fortune in excess baggage”. Ryanair currently don’t distinguish between personal and carry-on items in the same way as Wizz and Spirit (aside from the weight and dimensions restrictions), but it seems like if it’s workable, Mr O’Leary could find his excessive baggage charges getting a little more expensive.
Be sure to factor in these fees when you’re shopping for flights – a low-cost option might not end up saving you that much if you want to take a slightly bigger bag onboard.