The cheapest fares on Aer Lingus no longer include a carry-on bag allowance. The carrier will now charge passengers flying intra-Europe on Saver fares to bring a bag into the cabin; a smaller personal item remains free.
The company is spinning the move as still allowing the bag for free, but it must be checked as hold luggage, not carried in the cabin. Passengers on a Saver fare who want to carry the 10kg bag on board can pay a fee for that benefit.
As with most “basic economy” fares, this sort of punitive pricing hopes to encourage the sale of other ticket options. But it comes with the risk of travelers choosing a different airline option as well.
The Irish carrier joins the growing ranks of airlines seeking to boost revenues through punitive limits on passengers. JetBlue made a similar move earlier this year. At least Aer Lingus is allowing the bags to be checked for free. And the fee to carry them on board isn’t too much, at least at the low end of the pricing range (“starts at” gives the company free rein to raise rates later). But it is still a tough shift for passengers.
The timing of the shift is interesting as well. All indications suggest that travel will rebound relatively quickly once government restrictions are lifted, a much needed boost for the carrier. But welcoming travelers back with more fees and a questionable marketing pitch around what a free bag really means now is not particularly customer-friendly.
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