EasyJet to begin charging for use of overhead luggage compartments

The airline claims the new rule is to speed up the boarding process.
The airline claims the new rule is to speed up the boarding process. Photo credit: Getty

The company known as one of the most profitable budget airlines in the world, EasyJet, is about to make travelling with luggage a little less easy for its customers.

Beginning in February, the airline will be charging customers a fee to use the overhead luggage compartments on all of its flights.

Passengers will be allowed one free bag, but it must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of them - otherwise, they will be charged a fee of approximately NZD$46 per flight.

The airline says the move is to "improve boarding and punctuality and give customers certainty of what they will have with them onboard", but that's not how the new rule is being received by travellers online.

Sophie Holland tweeted: "EasyJet are the type of company that would charge petrol money if they could."

While 'Steve' simply said: "EasyJet is a rip off."

In an email to customers, the airline claimed its overhead cabin storage is "among the most generous for air travel" and despite restrictions on size, there continues to be no weight limit for any cabin baggage. 

It says the new rule will ensure people don't get to their seat only to find out there is no space in their overhead luggage bin.

The move makes EasyJet more like its rival Ryanair, which began charging for carry-on luggage in 2018.

Robert Carey, chief commercial and customer officer for EasyJet, said delays caused by baggage issues are a problem for passengers as well as the airline.

"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 onboard this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too. 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," he said.

Infants with booked seats and children over two years old continue to have the same cabin bag and hold luggage allowance as adults, and it will still be free to take a baby changing bag onboard in addition to cabin bag allowance. 

Like most airlines, EasyJet has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its total revenue in 2020 is down by more than 50 percent from £6.3 billion to £3 billion and capacity was down 47 percent to 55 million seats. 

For the year ending September 30, the airline posted a loss before tax of £1.273 million - a massive drop from its 2019 profit of £430 million.