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Spanish court rules charging for cabin baggage breaks EU law

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Spanish court rules charging for cabin baggage breaks EU law

Old 20th Nov 2019, 23:14
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Spanish court rules charging for cabin baggage breaks EU law

That is my take on the case reported on Wednesday as below.

Ryanair were ordered to return 20,00€ plus interest to a passenger charged for bringing a bag into the cabin without buying a "Priority" ticket

The judge refused however to award her exemplary damages

S/he ordered that the appropriate clause on which Ryanair based its charges be struck from their T&Cs

S/he based the decision on 2 laws; the Spanish [Air] Transport Law (dated 1960) which says in #97, about items which are NOT to be counted as hold-luggage subject to extra payment above the ticket price:


"No se considerará equipaje a este efecto los objetos y bultos de mano que el viajero lleve consigo. El transportista estará obligado a transportar de forma gratuita en cabina, como equipaje de mano, los objetos y bultos que el viajero lleve consigo, incluidos los artículos adquiridos en las tiendas situadas en los aeropuertos. Únicamente podrá denegarse el embarque de estos objetos y bultos en atención a razones de seguridad, vinculadas al peso o al tamaño del objeto, en relación con las características de la aeronave."

...which asserts positively that hand baggage must be carried free.

This is a Spanish law and as such "only" affects flights to/ from Spain.

Pretty significant on that basis alone, I would say.

However the judge goes on to say that s/he rejects Ryanair's claim that EU law, specifically 1008/2008 which apparently underpins EU regulation of air transport justifies these charges.

The ruling is final and not subject to appeal (in Spain)

Given the implications, "Europe" will inevitably be called in to give a final resolution, I would assert..


+++
As a neewbie, I cannot post a link.

Google:

La Vanguardia Ryanair Madrid Equipaje maleta mano
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 07:12
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BBC report here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50497629
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 08:50
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I had always thought it was a ''given'' that we read from the dusty old Aviation rules/laws and Air Ticket Conventions, dating back many years (1960, as quoted in the latest Spanish Court ruling) that all passengers could take on board one piece of hand luggage that has to fit under the seat in front of them, plus another small item such as an umbrella or a ladies purse, plus anything purchased in the duty free shops could also be taken on board.
(These are the old definitions - men carry purses today etc) but AFAIK these laws are still on the air ticket Convention statute books.

This is how all airlines have always defined allowable cabin luggage, until some smart arses in the accounts department started to really mess with everyone's' heads and unravel policy after policy, leading now to chaos, stress and delays on many flights due to the mind boggling, ridiculous, confusing, and now illegal rules surrounding luggage.
It is a total folly.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 10:57
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RTE the Irish BBC equivalent says Ryanair refused to say if they will appeal to Europe or ignore the ruling as BBC quotes them asserting they will

Not a good year to defy Spanish courts I observe.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 11:20
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Originally Posted by Vall Fosca


"No se considerará equipaje a este efecto los objetos y bultos de mano que el viajero lleve consigo. El transportista estará obligado a transportar de forma gratuita en cabina, como equipaje de mano, los objetos y bultos que el viajero lleve consigo, incluidos los artículos adquiridos en las tiendas situadas en los aeropuertos. Únicamente podrá denegarse el embarque de estos objetos y bultos en atención a razones de seguridad, vinculadas al peso o al tamaño del objeto, en relación con las características de la aeronave."
As a Spanish speaker, the above does state that hand luggage should be allowed on board free of charge.
However it is a little ambiguous and can be interpreted in different ways!
The sentence " Únicamente podrá denegarse el embarque de estos objetos y bultos en atención a razones de seguridad, vinculadas al peso o al tamaño del objeto, en relación con las características de la aeronave" is referring to the size and weight of items brought into the cabin that could be a safety issue.
A carrier could then claim that too much hand luggage " incluidos los artículos adquiridos en las tiendas situadas en los aeropuertos." including purchases from airport stores, could jeopardize the safety of the aircraft by making it too heavy.
If Ryan Air appeals in the European court, any decent lawyer should be able to tear the ruling apart.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 11:33
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Cabin suppliers: We need bigger sized bins.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 14:05
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This will change nothing. Read the rules, pay the charges. There are other carriers.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 14:21
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I agree the wording is open to challenge; as always?

But can an airline cogently argue that paid for bags are safe but not so freebies?

Not even Perry Mason could, I say

But that is just the domestic Spanish issue

The judge also said specifically that EC Law 1008/2008, as used by Ryanair to justify the charges, wasn't acceptable

An all EU ruling till challenged/ overturned?

Over to you, Maitre Mason?
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 22:40
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Originally Posted by Vall Fosca
RTE the Irish BBC equivalent says Ryanair refused to say if they will appeal to Europe or ignore the ruling as BBC quotes them asserting they will

Not a good year to defy Spanish courts I observe.
I am not sure Spain would like to piss off Ryanair unless to be ready for a big dip in tourist revenues.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 22:50
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Originally Posted by Rwy in Sight
I am not sure Spain would like to piss off Ryanair unless to be ready for a big dip in tourist revenues.
I am not sure Ryanair would like to piss off Spain unless to be ready for a big dip in passenger revenues.

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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 07:01
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The law is open to interpretation and that is what the judge just did. In so doing it created precedent and reduced the possibility of miss-interpretation in the future.
If Ryan air stops flying Spain I am sure there are plenty of other airlines that will fill the gap. Airlines willing to follow the law.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 21:50
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Previous ECJ ruling C-487/12

I mentioned the above concept in my OP

It seems obviously to be even more important than this Spanish ruling, and it is used by the Spanish judge as part of her justification for finding against Ryanair.

The case she cites is as above, C-487/12 and is easily found on line

It concerns Vueling and their charging for checked baggage and the issue of whether this is an unfair extra.


The EU judges accept that charging for checked luggage is lawful under law 1008/2008 but rule clearly that charging for "reasonable" hand baggage is NOT

Here are the crucial sections (all added emphasis mine):



39 Having regard to those considerations, it must be held that the price to be paid for the carriage of air passengers’ checked-in baggage constitutes an optional price supplement, within the meaning of Article 23(1) of Regulation 1008/2008, given that such a service cannot be considered to be compulsory or necessary for the carriage of those passengers.

40 By contrast, as regards baggage that is not checked in, namely hand baggage, it must be observed, in order to give a complete response to the referring court, that such baggage must be considered, in principle, as constituting a necessary aspect of the carriage of passengers and that its carriage cannot, therefore, be made subject to a price supplement, on condition that such hand baggage meets reasonable requirements in terms of its weight and dimensions, and complies with applicable security requirements.

The case is dated Sept 2014 and so shows clearly that any airline failing to carry reasonable hand baggage for free is breaking EU law.

Over to you, Ryanair.


(Obviously, the next major case will be to determine whether some airline which sets especially strict limits on size and weight of hand baggage is being "reasonable")
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 18:45
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Well, first and foremost, GOOD MORNING, MR.O'LEARY!!! Your loss (however small) is our pleasure!

And secondly, the passenger tried to bring 10kg of hand luggage onboard. I always had an understanding that hand-luggage to take into the cabin should be under 5kg. A 10-kilo bag is a bit too big to be hand-luggage.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 03:29
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No need for bigger cabin bins. 10 kg bags should be placed in the hold provided for such bags!
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 10:20
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Originally Posted by Out Of Trim
No need for bigger cabin bins. 10 kg bags should be placed in the hold provided for such bags!
I have a Flybe size bag e.g. small, I'm sure I could make it weigh 10kg if I filled it with dense stuff.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 11:15
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Originally Posted by Out Of Trim
No need for bigger cabin bins. 10 kg bags should be placed in the hold provided for such bags!
Hand baggage limit on BA is 23 kg (subject also to the dimension limit).

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Old 25th Nov 2019, 13:56
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Hand baggage limit on BA is 23 kg (subject also to the dimension limit).
I wish I was still strong enough to lift 23kg to an overhead locker!
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 21:41
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Originally Posted by Nil by mouth
A carrier could then claim that too much hand luggage " incluidos los artículos adquiridos en las tiendas situadas en los aeropuertos." including purchases from airport stores, could jeopardize the safety of the aircraft by making it too heavy.
Unless you pay a £10 supplement, then magically the weight issue dissappears.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 00:30
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Originally Posted by Tech Guy
Unless you pay a £10 supplement, then magically the weight issue dissappears.
Of course it does, your wallet is lighter.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 16:45
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Originally Posted by UltraFan
Well, first and foremost, GOOD MORNING, MR.O'LEARY!!! Your loss (however small) is our pleasure!

And secondly, the passenger tried to bring 10kg of hand luggage onboard. I always had an understanding that hand-luggage to take into the cabin should be under 5kg. A 10-kilo bag is a bit too big to be hand-luggage.
Actually Ryanair still offer free cabin baggage and don't appear to have a weight limit on it, just a size limit (40/25/20) - and it must go under seat in front. My gut feeling is that a small roll of 300mm wide roofing lead will both fit and bust 10kg :-)

What you pay for is the privilege of fighting to stuff a bag in the overheads. Whether or not that (along with the small bag policy) is "reasonable" is up for debate, what is pretty clear is that the a/c can't take a full size cabin bag in the bins for every seat, therefore if every passenger was taking one to avoid checked-bag charges (and RYR likely has more "value conscious" :-) pax) it is surely "reasonable" to limit or ration somehow somewhere. If they don't appeal or win on appeal I bet the next move will be free cabin overhead bag, but half the size, unless you buy one of the limited number of priority boarding - then set the numbers so all the bags should fit in the overheads. Might have trouble arguing that it is unreasonable to limit "cabin baggage that fits in the overhead bins" to the total that actually does fit in the overhead bins...
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