Europe on the verge of banning airline hand luggage fees
The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament has unanimously approved a resolution warning airlines that they must allow passengers to carry one piece of hand luggage in the cabin for free on all flights. At the same time, it is urging countries to enforce this obligation in accordance with the instructions of the European Court of Justice, where Ryanair, easyJet, Volotea, and four other low-cost airlines are under investigation for charging hand luggage fees.
One of the main bones of contention is whether the traditional 55cm x 45cm x 35cm trolley case will be allowed, or if the free pieces are those measuring 40cm x 25cm x 35cm that fit under the seat in front.
Already approved by the EU Commission, it is possible that the full Parliament could approve it during October, unifying the criteria for hand luggage on all airlines, including its size.
The European Union is concerned about the problems caused by differences in regulations, which force travellers to have hand luggage of different sizes, making it much more complicated when taking connecting flights.
Even with this resolution, the underlying issue remains because the European Court of Justice's 2014 ruling states that it is mandatory to allow the free transport of one piece of "reasonable" size luggage. In reality, all airlines allow this transport, but each has a different criterion regarding what is "reasonable," which is still unclear to this day, not even by European parliamentarians who speak of airlines as if there were some that prohibit free hand luggage.
The parliamentary Commission's resolution talks about the need for "clarity" on what constitutes a "reasonable" size and weight for hand luggage. Either way, if the European Parliament clarifies this, a resolution to end this confusion could be adopted in the next few weeks.
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