Wizz Air, the largest low-cost carrier in Central and Eastern Europe, is introducing, from today, a new cabin baggage policy which brings in charges for larger carry-on items. But at the same time, the airline now explicitly states that “goods purchased at the airport after security will be allowed in the cabin for free”.
The Hungarian airline’s decision to fully clarify its position with respect to its one-bag rule (see final paragraph in table below from its website and click to view) is good news for duty free and travel retailers as well as airport authorities.
They have been worried that passengers’ indecision whether to buy or not to buy in airside shops for fear they may then be slapped with a penalty to put their purchases in the hold, will dampen demand. Ryanair’s extra/oversized cabin baggage fee is currently a hefty £50/€50 (US$64.60).
The European Travel Retail Confederation, which represents the DF&TR industry, says that the so-called ‘one bag rule’ remains the biggest single threat to all DF&TR product categories. “Passenger choice is being restricted as there are more than 6,000 products in a typical duty free shop and only a fraction of that available on board,”
President Sarah Branquinho (left) said recently. “It is vital that our industry does all it can to convince governments that safeguarding airport commercial revenue is of paramount importance.”
Wizz Air – which is expected to carry more than 12 million passengers this year on its 256 routes in 29 countries – has been conciliatory towards the DF&TR business and the commercial needs of its airport landlords.
“We work in cooperation with airports and we understand that airport shopping is an important source of revenue for our 81 airport partners,” Wizz Air Corporate Communications Manager Daniel de Carvalho (right) tells TRBusiness.com. “Airside shopping is therefore not affected by our new policy.”
From today, passengers booking flights for travel from 24 October onwards can travel with a free small cabin bag (up to 42x32x25cm) or pay a €10/₤9 online to bring a large cabin bag (up to 56x45x25cm) on board. The previous 10kg weight limit for cabin bags (small or large) has also been eliminated (click image below for full details).
Wizz Air believes its new online fee for large cabin bags fee will incentivise passengers to bring smaller bags with them (based on a test in August) thus speeding up the boarding process and improving the airline’s punctuality. It says the savings will be passed back to passengers through a €5/£4 discount on all its routes where the new cabin bag policy applies, also from today.
TRBusiness.com contacted both easyJet and Ryanair for comment yesterday. Paul Moore, a spokesperson for easyJet, said that its passengers can take their airport shopping on board: “Duty free purchases don’t tend to take up much space or weight and we’re never seen them as a significant issue.” Ryanair did not return our call.
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