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Spain fines Ryanair, EasyJet and others over excess fees

May 31, 2024

Spain's Consumer Protection Ministry fined four low-cost airlines for charging passengers to bring larger pieces of carry-on luggage, among other fees. Consumer groups have hailed the fines as a milestone.

A Ryanair plane and an Easyjet plane in the Canary Islands
Ryanair and Easyjet were reportedly among the airlines affected by the finesImage: Jürgen Held/Global Travel Images/picture alliance

Spain fined four budget airlines, including Ryanair and Easyjet, more than €150 million ($163 million) on Friday over luggage fees that consumer groups deemed "abusive."

The airlines affected are Ryanair, Easyjet, Vueling and Volotea, Spanish media reported.

Spain's Consumer Affairs Ministry issued the fines after consumer watchdog Facua launched a campaign six years ago, alleging that the airlines violated passengers' rights when charging extra fees to print boarding passes at the airport or to bring larger pieces of carry-luggage.

It looked into seat selection fees for people who are accompanying minors or those who require special assistance.

"This is exactly what we are campaigning for — to put an end to fraud and illegal practices," Facua Secretary General Ruben Sanchez told journalists in Seville.

"For the first time in our history, we can say that we are satisfied with the amount of a fine."

Another consumer group, OCU, said it hoped other European countries would follow suit to punish airlines that follow the same "abusive practices."

Industry slams 'disproportionate' fine

Airline industry group ALA slammed the fines as "absolutely disproportionate."

ALA President Javier Gandara said that the fines would force passengers who wish to travel only with a small personal item to now pay for services that they do not require.

"We defend the consumer's right to pick the best travel option," Gandara said.

However, Sanchez hit back at this position.

"The industry is trying to convey the idea that they are making the price cheaper for those who do not carry luggage, and this is false, they are illegally making the price more expensive, they are illegally enriching themselves with many millions of euros with those who do carry small hand luggage," he said.

zc/wmr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)