FOSDEM ended yesterday and here I am sitting at Charleroi Airport (also known as “Brussels South”, quite a misleading name given that it’s 80 Km from Brussels).

I have already passed all controls, check-in and everything. While I wait for boarding, I am watching the shameful spectacle of airport personnel (let me reiterate that: airport personnel, not Ryanair’s) enforcing RyanAir’s 10 Kg cabin baggage limit. According to RyanAir, they want to minimize the weight the plane carries to use less fuel. So far, so good.

Here is what I have seen: people who do not carry any baggage (very few, they have probably checked it in because it exceeded size or weight), people who are below the 10 Kg limit and people who are way over it (and have been told to check luggage in). I am OK with those cases.

There is still a fourth case: people who are slightly over 10 Kg.

I’ve seen a woman whose bag was 10.15 Kg to be told to pay 20 EUR to check her bag, or go back to the RyanAir desk to check-in the bag. She opened her bag, took a scarf, put it on and now the bag matched the weight limit.

Yes, RyanAir is charging 20 EUR/Kg for hand baggage from 10 Kg on. What a rip-off.

A couple of East-European girls were about 1 Kg in excess each. They put a couple of extra jumpers on and now baggage was under 10 Kg.

Many people were about 1 Kg in excess. When they were told their suitcase better got lighter or pay 20 to 40 EUR. Most of them just took something (camera, food, slippers, whatever) and put in the pockets of their coats. Fortunately, RyanAir is not charging for body and clothes weight (yet?).

In all those cases the plane will end up transporting the same weight and RyanAir won’t get one more dime, so why RyanAir? Why are you such a shameful company? Why are you enforcing ludicrous and pointless policies? Don’t you know after passing the control everybody just put everything back into the suitcase? Of course you do.

So after watching this ridiculous spectacle go on for a while, I had a devious idea: let’s organize a fat people conference and fly them all over to and from using RyanAir. Further, all of them should carry exactly 10 Kg hand baggage.

16 Thoughts on “Luggage and RyanAir

  1. Marketing is such an interesting thing!

    Why is RyanAir so anal retentive about the lugagge? Because they know that if they are known to be air-tight with regards lugagge weight, people will be 10Kg or slightly more. If they were beign more permissive, people would go with 11Kg or slightly more, then 12Kg or slightly more, etc.

    People tend to press for the limits, be it lugagge weight or speed limits or whatever and knowing that you *will* have to put the limit somewhere. So better put it on a known spot with a known behaviour around it, that being vague and have to enforce it out of thin air (or the good or bad day some assistant has had).

  2. peter de schrijver on Monday 07th February 2011 at 16:27:18 said:

    the solution to this problem: do not fly ryanair! choose an airline which does not impose this sort of silly restrictions.

  3. I bet there is some psychological thing to it, people have a certain expectation about flying for a bargain, so everything surrounding it has to show absolut cost cutting. Be it enforcing a strict weight limit, dressing their staff in clothes looking so cheap it must cost extra or limiting any person to employee communication to a minimum. Because at some limit you just can’t do more cost cutting but it certainly has to look like you are doing everything possible to lower the prices.

  4. Things may have changed since 2008, but the situation then was almost as ludicrous as charging the pilots for any extra fuel they used:

    So I wouldn’t want to fly on one of their overloaded planes, no matter if the weight was being carried by the luggage or the passengers…

  5. The real question is why you are supporting a company which is known for these tactics.

    The short-term savings are not worth it when compared to the long-term effects.

  6. It’s all fuzzy logic.

  7. Well, it sounds bad, but it’s the heap problem. No matter where you draw the limit, it will look absurd to stop .1 KG more. If they said, OK 10.1 is ok, then it would look bad if they charged $20 for 10.2 and so on.

    Kinda how here in the USA they are saying that everyone less than 90 needs to learn how to use their computer for their benefits. Do 89 year-olds really know that much more abouat computers? But it’ll look the same no matter where the line is.

  8. Richard is completely right. You should not use companies which use such tactics, because, if you do, then these companies thrive and the other companies follow the lead, so the bad tactics spread and become commonly accepted and even impossible to avoid. There is only one way to exterminate these tactics and it is to show the companies who use them that it costs them more than not using them. If the travelers had stopped using Ryanair the day that they introduced these measures, these measures wouldn’t exist anymore today.

  9. My wife and I did the same exact thing when we flew to Charleroi for Akademy 2008, we took some things out of the bags and stuffed our pockets.
    I guess it’s just the way it works with Ryanair, if I ever get rich I’ll gladly fly with another airline :/

  10. Top annoyances:

    – not being able to put your bag into the overhead bins because they’re full
    – people arguing with airline personnel on cheap airliners — you get what you paid for: very little, accept that

    I’ve stopped caring about those that stretch the limit, and I actually applaud airline personnel denying access to people with too much handluggage because they’re filling up the cabin which is uncomfortable enough often just to save 10 minutes at the luggage reception.

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  12. Usually there aren’t any weight-limitations, or astronomic values like 25kg.

  13. Btw, the missleading airport-names seem to be typical for Ryanair, too, London Stansted, Düsseldorf Weeze, etc.

  14. Sorry, but you get what you paid for.

    Misleading names for airport is shameful, but weight limit restrictions are one of the reasons your ticket was cheap. They have to put the limit somewhere. People are told the limit is X, come with X+1 and are all surprised when told it’s not acceptable.

    Try paying your waiter a little less than what’s on the bill, because: “who cares about 50p?”. I’d like to see how you’ll explain that to him.

  15. I am tired of gay companies who want to “be your friend”. If Ryanair is tight on luggage, as long as it is upfront about it, I will be gratefull for the lower fares.

    They deliver on price….

    I am more worried that Ryanair is like Spanair, a low cost agency waiting for a terrible accident to happen and be wipped out…

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