The European Union is looking to outlaw fees imposed on hand luggage and seat allocation as well as to standardise inconsistent airline policies to eliminate hidden costs that impact airline fares.

This is according to a resolution passed by the European Parliament on October 4, asking the European Commission to present concrete policy measures against hand luggage price supplements. It also requires the EU executive body to outline the scope and specific requirements of "reasonable" carry-on baggage weights and dimensions.

In revising the existing EU Air Services Regulation, the Commission should address issues resulting in hidden passenger costs, such as fees imposed on seat allocations and the current complexity of airline offers relating to luggage. The aim is to regulate the composition of the final price, it said. It has already launched a review of the regulation.

European lawmakers want the Commission to fully implement a European Union Court of Justice ruling on September 18, 2014, concerning the baggage surcharges that Vueling Airlines (VY, Barcelona El Prat) was imposing at the time. The court found that airlines should not charge a supplement for carry-on bags "on condition that such hand baggage meets reasonable requirements in terms of its weight and dimensions and complies with applicable security requirements".

Lawmakers have urged EU member states to ensure that this ruling is respected and, in the meantime, disclose hand luggage fees when providing fares and schedules to strengthen consumer protection.

Earlier this year, Spain's Ministry of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation into multiple low-cost carriers over hand luggage fees, reports Euronews. In November 2019, a Spanish court ruled against Ryanair (FR, Dublin International) for having imposed a EUR20 euro (USD21) surcharge on a passenger for taking a small personal bag on board.

Last month, the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions (PETI) passed a motion urging airlines operating within the EU not to penalise passengers for carrying hand luggage.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Frontier Airlines (F9, Denver International) faces class action for alleged deceptive practices and bait-and-switch tactics concerning luggage and associated fees after it charged a passenger USD100 for an oversized personal carry-on item.