And so it begins - the inevitable descent into airlines across the globe charging us to bring a simple piece of hand luggage on board. For years, rules and regulations have been rolled out by airlines to stop us taking any liberties with our luggage. Size, shape, weight and anything else they have been able to think of are regulated and checked before we can get anywhere near the plane. But the latest move from Hungarian airline, Wizzair, to charge passengers £9 to board with hand luggage has, in our opinion, crossed the line.
After a trial period over the summer, Wizzair will be extending the charge across its entire network from 27 October 2012, under the pretence of reducing overcrowding in cabins. Passengers will still be able to board with a handbag or laptop case no larger than 42x32x25cm (i.e. a bag you can squeeze under your seat) but for anything exceeding this restriction, be prepared to pay up. Even the lightest travellers among us couldn't stuff a weekend's worth of clothes and toiletries into a laptop case - trust us, we've tried it.
Gone are the days of a small carry-on bag to avoid the horrific 20 euro charges to put a suitcase in the hold - we're left with no choice but to cough up the £9. Online buyers will also be delighted to know that, after resigning ourselves to the fact that this flight is going to cost us double what we thought, the extras don't stop there. On proceeding to the checkout, an eight euro credit card charge is the next thing to be added to the bill. So they've squeezed us for every penny we've got but perhaps, we tell ourselves, it will be worth it once we experience this reduced cabin overcrowding they've been promising.
In reality however, it makes little to no difference. Wizzair seems to have conveniently forgotten that it is not the cabin bags which pack us tightly into our seats and steal our leg room, but the man in front who has decided, apparently devoid of common courtesy, to recline his chair into our already restricted personal space. Normally, we would have heaved a sigh and told ourselves it's worth it for the price we paid. But as that number slowly increases and cabin conditions and services don't improve, please forgive us, Wizzair, for thinking that this must all be some sort of ridiculous practical joke.
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