The hidden truth behind Ryanair's new baggage policy

If you are a frequent flyer within Europe and if you fly Ryanair, you must be aware of the recent change on their baggage policy.

If you’re not, here is what they did:


Now, customers that want to take luggage have to either:

1) Pay 6€ and they are allowed to take 2 cabin bags (small one and big one up to 10kg’s) and as a bonus they get priority boarding.

2- Pay 8€ and they are allowed to check-in a 10kg bag and take a small cabin bag.

They justified the change saying it was to expedite boarding and have less delays.

What do you think happened?

Do you thing boarding with Ryanair now is smooth sailing?

Do you think their flights will have more delays?

Do you think their decision was purely financial?

Let me share with you my take on this.

As I write this, I’m waiting to take off, on a Ryanair flight that has a delay of 1 hour.

At the time of booking the ticket:

People are faced with 2 options, should I take luggage to this trip or not?

Of course people will keep taking luggage with them so now they have to decide between choosing priority boarding + 10kg bag or choose paying a bit more and checking in their bag.

Most people will choose the first option, it’s a cheaper option, they already are conditioned that it’s normal to take their baggage with them. They will have priority boarding this way getting on the plane faster.

This is where everything starts going wrong.

Check-in process:

You’re a few days from flying and it’s time to check-in.

Ryanair gives you a warning. If you want to take luggage, your only 2 options are to either pay for a 10kg check-in (for 10€, notice the price increase) or a 20kg check-in (for 40€).

No priority boarding, don’t know if they remove this option because you didn’t buy it at the time of purchase or because they have a cap on the number of priority upgrades.

When you get to the airport, dropping your luggage at the baggage drop off was not too bad.

Ticket check:

Because the obvious decision was to buy the priority boarding (not because most people want priority but because most people will be taking a bag, and this makes economic sense), the priority lane is bigger than the regular lane.

To give you a sense of comparison, the priority lane usually has 20–40 people, today it was LOOOONG.

Now the check process will be longer because they will spend more time checking if the bags are the right size or if the customer is taking more bags than they’re allowed.

I had priority and decided to not wait in line.

BTW, most people had 2 carry-on bags.

If everybody has priority boarding, nobody has priority boarding, it ceases to exist.

Boarding the plane:

I don’t recall a flight where it was so hard to find space to place my bag on the overbin compartment.


With the old system, most people could carry the same 2 bags, a small one and a bigger one, but most people had to check-in their bag just before climbing to the plane, making more space in the passenger area, or at least Ryanair could manage that.

With the new system, they can’t ask the customer to check-in their luggage, the customer PAID to be able to carry their luggage with them, it’s within their rights to do so.

Now Ryanair faces a big problem, they pass the overbin management to the customer, the customer will throw their bags wherever they feel like it, the stewarts will have to go back and reorganize the bags, delaying the flight even more.

Getting out of the plane:

With a packed passenger area, it will take longer for passengers to leave the plane, delaying the turnaround time of the plane.


If this new policy was motivated to reduce the boarding time, expediting flights in the process, then they should’ve priced their 10kg check-in bag lower than the priority, this way it made economically sense to check-in, people would have to arrive earlier and deal with that.

If this new policy was economically motivated by charging the customer more if the customer was taking a bag, then Ryanair was shortsighted, because every extra minute the plane is grounded, is an extra minute the plane is not flying, thus making money.

But who am I to teach Ryanair how to optimize processes, they are the kings (?shhh, everybody makes mistakes)

I would love to get my hands on some data, if you have some, please share it with me.

PS. One of two things will happen in the future:
1) They will separate priority boarding from the 10kh carry-on bag, and spin off a new upgrade.
2) They will change once again their bag policy, realizing they made a mistake.

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