Courier cheaper than airline baggage fees

Airline baggage fees, including those of budget airlines such as Ryanair, are becoming so expensive that it can be cheaper for holidaymakers to use a specialist courier to ship their luggage to their destination, new consumer research shows.

The finding is part of the investigation conducted by consumer regulator, Which!, into the cost of luggage on budget airlines. Which! found that holidaymakers and families can make significant savings by sending their summer luggage to their destination by courier. Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair was found to be the most expensive of the six low-cost airlines surveyed.

According to the research, courier firm, SendmyBag, is almost $10 cheaper when compared to Ryanair’s charge to send a suitcase from London to Malaga in Spain. Ryanair charges $55 to put a standard 20 kg suitcase into the aircraft hold on a one-way flight to Malaga, $10 more than what SendmyBag charges for the same weight.

The researchers said that golfers could also save significantly by sending their clubs with couriers rather than using airlines. The transport of golf clubs using budget airlines could cost over $1,000 for four golfers, but less than half that with courier firms.

Ryanair is not alone in imposing demanding fees for carrying holiday luggage items. The investigation found that four of the five luggage couriers surveyed were cheaper to transport a 30 kg golf bag from England to Spain than Jet2, Monarch, or Thomson Airways.

Airlines around the world are expected to make approximately $36 billion each year from ‘upsells’ and additional fees, such as those for extra luggage allowance.

A Which? spokesman said: ‘It’s surprising that it can work out hundreds of pounds cheaper to get sports gear chauffeured to your destination rather than putting it in the hold.’

However, ‘The downside of using a courier company is that you need to be more organised, as the standard delivery is likely to take a minimum of three working days to be there on arrival,’ he said, adding: ‘You’ll also have to check your hotel is happy to receive it.’

Gillian Edwards, spokeswoman for travel association, ABTA, said: ‘I think if people are planning to take something away with them which is particularly bulky, then it may be worth looking at other options, including couriers.

‘We advise passengers to check the weight allowance for hold and hand baggage as they change and it can be very expensive to pay for extra at check-in,’ she added.