Airlines can charge for checked-in luggage

Vueling aircraft landed / Aero Icarus

The court of justice of the European Union approved last Thursday that airlines can charge extra costs for the checked-in luggage. The judgement is in favour of Vueling, who had challenged the 3,000 Euros fine from the Galician Consumer Institute.

According to the news by, a Galician citizen reported Vueling to her local government. She complained because she had been charged with 40 Euros for checked-in luggage in a flight from A Coruña to Amsterdam. Then, the Galician Consumer Institute charged Vueling with 3,000 Euros, considering the Spanish regulation was infringed.

According to the Spanish law, passengers are entitled to a one free piece of checked-in luggage. However, Vueling lodged an appeal against such judgement with the Administrative Court of Ourense. The airline said that, according to the UE regulation, airlines can fix a base fare without checked-in luggage. Then, the price would be increased if the checked luggage was required.

Then, it was this Administrative Court of Ourense who asked the Court of Justice of the EU whether the Spanish legislation is in line with the EC law. Apparently, within this process, the Government of Spain said that there had been a mistake in the first interpretation of the Spanish law. In their view, the Spanish regulation does not force airlines to carry luggage for free.


The fare which must be paid for checked-in luggage can be an extra optional charge

With last Thursday’s judgement the court of justice of the EU confirmed extra charges can be made for checked-in luggage. “However, there may be other passengers who prefer to travel without checked-in luggage and hence, they would pay a lower fare”.

Moreover, the hand luggage is considered an essential part of the trip and therefore cannot have an extra cost.

Thus, the judgement concludes that a national rule which forbids airlines to apply extra costs for checked-in luggage would go against the EU regulations because it would not let airlines fix a “free fare for the passenger transportation”.


Photo: Vueling aircraft landed / Aero Icarus