Many low-cost carriers often charge extremely low prices for fares, only to make their money on add-ons like choosing a seat or even having water. Airlines typically make a lot of revenue by charging for carry-on and checked bags.
Sometimes, those extra fees can add up to more than the cost of the original ticket. Recently, a Spanish court determined that Ryanair's baggage fee policy is, in fact, unfair and abusive. The judge ruled based on a previous case against Vueling, where the court ruled that luggage is an indispensable element of transportation, and flyers can't be charged extra.
However, don't expect Ryanair to change its baggage policy anytime soon. The airline views the ruling as an isolated case and believes it is free to determine the size of the cabin luggage that must be paid for.
In the case, a traveler was flying from Madrid to Brussels and was forced to pay 20 euros to bring her carry-on luggage weighing less than 22 pounds. The Spanish judge ruled that customers who have hand luggage that could be carried in the cabin easily shouldn't have to pay for the privilege. Ryanair allows one small bag as hand luggage, but it must fit beneath the passenger's seat in front.
While Ryanair was ordered to return the 20 euro fee, along with interest, the airline's controversial luggage policy is likely to stay the same, especially considering that in 2018, the low-cost airline made nearly a third of its profits from ancillary fees.