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Italian watchdog launches Ryanair hand luggage inquiry

Italy's competition watchdog has launched an inquiry into Ryanair's new hand luggage policy – which will only let passengers take a small handbag-sized carry-on into the cabin, unless they pay extra.

The watchdog AGCM says hand luggage is an essential part of travelling and should be included in the ticket price. It said Ryanair's new policy does not allow a true comparison with other airlines' prices as it distorts the final price of the ticket.

As we reported in our MSE News story last month, Ryanair is changing its baggage policy for the second time this year, meaning unless you pay at least £6 for priority boarding, you'll only be able to take one handbag-sized carry-on into the cabin on flights from 1 November.

At the moment, all non-priority customers can bring one small carry-on AND one bigger wheelie bag free of charge, with the larger bag being tagged at the gate and put in the hold at no extra charge. After November, there will be no free gate bags.

Master the airline's mega-strict rules for cheap flights with 20 Ryanair tips.

What can the Italian competition watchdog do?

It's not clear what effect a ruling on this issue by the Italian watchdog could have for UK passengers. 

But in the past AGCM has taken action against Ryanair on numerous occasions, and has issued it with fines and ordered it to make changes to its policy.

Earlier this year, it fined the airline €1,850,000 for mass flight cancellations in autumn 2017. Last year, it ordered Ryanair to give clearer information to consumers on their rights under EU law.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority said it could not comment on other cases. 

Ryanair: 'We look forward to explaining our generous bag policy'

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: "We look forward to cooperating with this Italian inquiry. All Ryanair customers are free to bring one piece of carry-on bag onboard.

"But no airline customer has a right to unlimited carry-on bags. For safety reasons, most short haul aircraft cannot accommodate two carry-on bags for each customer."

He said other airlines also restrict the number of carry-on bags for safety reasons, adding: "We look forward to explaining these safety restrictions and generous carry-on bag policy to the Italian authority."

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