For years, cheapo airlines like Ryanair have acted like flying tour buses for up-and-coming musicians in Europe. But some musically inclined travelers say the fee-happy carrier recently made it harder on them by tacking on unfair charges for passengers traveling with instruments of any size.
Some of these musicians who had relied on Ryanair to ferry them from gig to gig have joined together in the hopes of fighting what they claim are fees that penalize travelers with few other choices.
Ryanair currently charges a fee for instruments placed in the hold, even though these instruments would otherwise be subject to the same baggage fee as any other suitcase. Even when instruments are small enough to be brought on the plane and placed safely in an overhead bin, musicians are still subject to additional charges. Although some musicians (cellists, for example) often pay for a separate seat for their instrument, Ryanair is mandating that they place their instruments in the hold, meaning the cellist has paid both an extra seat cost and an instrument fee.
Given Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s love of fees and history of antagonizing those who complain about his airline, we’re gazing into the Consumerist crystal ball (patent pending, so don’t even think about it), and predicting he’ll start charging a fee to keep Ryanair staffers from deliberately going all Pete Townshend on travelers’ guitars, mandolins and theremins.