Hand Luggage Fees Not Popular with British Passengers

The idea of paying hand luggage fees has not been well received by British air passengers.

Recently Wizz Air, a Hungary-based airline, commenced a trial of a new cabin baggage policy, by charging its passengers for carrying hand luggage that needed to be stowed in an overhead bin. Following the news, a recent poll conducted by TripAdvisor, a company offering an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information, has reported that British travellers have reacted unfavourably to the airline’s policy.

The company has reporting that around 73 percent of more than 11,500 British respondents to the poll expressed their annoyance at the idea of paying for their hand baggage, and would avoid airline’s that do so in favour of other airlines.

Around 25 percent of respondents said that they would consider paying a hand luggage fee, if they could save costs on the total journey. Only 2 percent of British travellers polled said that they would be happy to pay for hand luggage.

The company website reports, ‘Charging passengers for hand luggage that doesn’t fit under the seat is an interesting move, but one that clearly doesn’t sit well with the majority of British travellers. Travellers should always do their research before booking to ensure that any extra charges are factored into the total fare.’

Passengers booking Wizz Air tickets for travel from October 24, 2012, onwards, are being allowed a small cabin baggage of up to 42 x 32 x 25cm free of charge. All other kinds of bags taken as carry-on luggage are being charged a fee of £9.00 per bag.

The airline has tested its new airline baggage policy on its Luton Airport to Katowice (Poland) route with very good results. Since August 1, 2012, passengers on the route have paid €10 for a larger piece of cabin baggage, a step that the airline has taken to control the problem of lack of storage space in smaller aircraft.

European Commission Announces Permanent Restrictions on Liquids in Hand Luggage

The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the European Union, has announced that a 100ml limit on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in the hand luggage of air passengers has been made permanent.

The EC has completed an assessment of the various liquid formats in air passenger’s hand luggage, and based on the results of trials carried out at several EU airports and general consultations with experts, a conclusion has been reached that there still exists a significant risk to civil aviation from liquid explosives. The assessment shows that removing the LAGs restrictions in April 2013, as earlier predicted in EU law, may lead to significant operational risk for the airports and airlines.

In a statement, the EU has said, ‘Starting in January 2014, the Commission recommends that passengers should be able to carry on board all duty free LAGs provided that they are screened.

In the light of the experience gained and in close cooperation with its European and international partners, the Commission will then bring forward proposals for subsequent phases to achieve the final objective of screening all LAGs at the earliest possible date.

To implement these recommendations, the Commission will bring forward proposals to amend the existing legislation on LAGs in Autumn 2012, with the agreement of the Member States and the European Parliament.’

The director general of Airports Council International Europe, Olivier Jankovec, said, ‘As much as we would like to get rid of the existing restrictions on the carriage of LAGs, the trials carried out at several European airports have shown that the technology allowing for that just isn’t there yet.’


EC still undecided on allowing passengers to carry liquids in hand baggage

The European Commission (EC) has postponed taking a decision on allowing passengers to carry liquids in their hand baggage.

The EC had previously banned passengers from carrying liquids in hand baggage as a security measure, and it had set itself a deadline of April 2013 for the removal of the current restrictions. Authorities said that the decision was taken following consultations with stakeholders and trials conducted at airports.

In a statement, the commission said that the decision was ‘based on results of trials carried out at a number of EU airports and on extensive consultations with a wide group of stakeholders. The risk posed by liquid explosives to civil aviation is still significant.’ It added that its assessment ‘indicates that the removal of the LAGs (liquids, aerosols and gels) restrictions on April 2013, as currently envisaged in EU law, could present a considerable operational risk, mainly due to the scale of the change.’

However, the EC was optimistic that security measures being developed in this regard, especially the Liquid Explosive Detection Systems, have made considerable progress to adequately address prevalent risks. It added that it would be able to remove restrictions on carrying liquids in airlines, only in a phased manner.

The EC said that it hoped that from January 2014 ‘passengers should be able to carry on board all duty free LAGs provided that they are screened and then bring forward proposals for subsequent phases to achieve the final objective of screening all LAGs at the earliest possible date.’

The restrictions were introduced in August 2006, after a plot to detonate liquid explosives inside an aircraft travelling from the UK to the United States and Canada was exposed.