Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ.L) is set to reduce its onboard luggage allowance from 10 February next year, in a move that aims to incentivise people to stash luggage in the hold or pay for a seat.
The new rules would allow passengers who pay for a seat in the front of the plane or extra leg room to bring a larger bag to go in the overhead locker. Those who don’t fork out the extra costs can bring a small bag for free.
This winter, EasyJet is flying at just 20% capacity due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
It said it continues to look at options for additional funding after suffering a £1.3bn ($1.7bn) annual loss.
"Our new policy will improve boarding and punctuality for everyone, as well as give our customers certainty of what they will have with them onboard," EasyJet's chief commercial and customer officer Robert Carey said in a statement.
Even before the pandemic hit air travel, budget airlines have added additional costs to flights for years, with extra charges for priority boarding, booking a set seat and checking in extra luggage.
EasyJet’s ancillary revenues, which include sales from checked baggage and booked seats make up around a fifth of its total 2019 annual revenues, according to Reuters.
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The new policy brings the airline in line with the strict cabin bag rules of contemporaries Ryanair and Wizz, which have both shrunk allowances in recent years.
Airline chiefs have said the move is set to make travel more punctual.
Robert Carey, chief commercial and customer officer for EasyJet, said: “Punctuality is important to our customers and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space on board this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too.”
The announcement could spell trouble for passengers who have already booked flights departing after 10 February.
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