Passengers have been caught out with £50 charges after Flybe began “strictly enforcing” a cabin bag policy it had previously ignored.
Frequent fliers have complained about being hit with fees at the gate for luggage that had been allowed on earlier flights for free. The Birmingham-based airline that operates a number of regional routes across Europe allows travellers to have two cabin bags per person, but with the size of the largest no bigger than 55cm x 35cm x 20cm, smaller than the cabin bag Ryanair allows on its flights. The two bags together must weigh no more than 10kg.
And though the policy dates from August 2016, customers have said that only in recent weeks have they been caught out by the restrictions and had their bags put in the hold. Some passengers spoke of chaos and queues at the gate as some cases have been allowed on outbound flights, but not on the return.
“Just been charged £50 for a cabin bag that I have used for years on my flight,” said one user on Twitter. “My bag was approved on the flight down to [East Midlands Airport] from Glasgow yet on the way back I’m now being charged?!”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Are you sure this new hardline policy is being applied consistently at all airports? I was not asked to put it in a baggage size checker like yesterday and there was no sign of one. A couple of the desk staff seemed incredulous that it was going in the hold.”
Flybe says it has had the baggage policy since 2016
Other passengers accused Flybe – currently in the midst of a takeover bid from Virgin Atlantic – of using the baggage policy as a way to raise money ahead of any deal.
“Do the same people in your financial department run the baggage policy,” one passenger said on Twitter. “Travel regularly with the same cases with you but today it’s cost me £80.”
A spokesperson for the airline said Flybe admits that staff have “in the past been inconsistent in applying [our] policy and lots of customers who did comply understandably saw this as being unfair”.
“As a result , we’ve now taken steps at all our airports to ensure that all hand baggage is now fully compliant. This makes it fair for everyone and also speeds boarding,” the spokesperson said.