Ryanair charges 45 euros to bring Mallorcan pastries on board

by Lorraine Williamson
ensaimada

Welcome to a tale of pies, planes, and payment. It’s a story that’s causing quite a stir in Spain, particularly among those who have a sweet tooth for the traditional Mallorcan ensaimada. 

So, what’s all the fuss about? It appears that Ryanair, an airline not unfamiliar with controversy, has thrown a spanner in the works of pastry-loving passengers. The airline is demanding additional payment for the transport of these beloved local delicacies.  

For those of you unfamiliar with the ensaimada, it’s a pastry that has a special place in the heart (and stomachs) of those from the Balearic Islands. This sweet, spiral-shaped delight is a customary take-home gift for many who visit the islands. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see travellers at airports juggling multiple boxes of the stuff, all set to share the love (and taste) with family and friends back home.  

Airline charged €45 for bringing pastry on board 

But this time, the ensaimada has become the centre of a row that’s taken a sour turn. Ryanair has decided to charge passengers for the privilege of carrying these cakes onboard, arguing that they exceed the hand luggage limit. Consequently, this has caused quite the outcry from locals and the regional Ministry of Tourism, prompting an urgent meeting with the airline. 

Two passengers at Palma de Mallorca airport were asked to cough up an extra €45 euros to take their ensaimadas onboard. When faced with this unexpected ‘cake charge’, they chose to hand over the pastries rather than pay the steep fee. 

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Form of discrimination 

This has led to a wider debate, with Iago Negueruela, Minister of Economic Model, Tourism and Labour, stepping in. Negueruela is working to ensure that this Mallorcan specialty isn’t considered as extra luggage on Ryanair’s flights, arguing that this constitutes a form of discrimination against a product of significant cultural and gastronomic value. 

Ryanair’s baggage rules, as stated on their website, do allow for a small piece of luggage that fits under the seat. This includes items bought in duty-free shops at the airport. But it seems the problem arises when travellers want to bring along products purchased outside the airport. 

“Injustice” 

The Association of Bakers of the Balearic Islands, represented by manager Pep Magraner, has labelled these rules as an ‘injustice’. They believe that the ensaimada, a product protected by Geographical Indication, is being unfairly targeted. Similarly, other regional specialties, like Mallorcan almonds and sobrasada, Eivissa’s olive oil, and the wines of the four islands, may also be impacted. 

What constitutes hand luggage? 

This sweet saga is part of a larger issue – the ambiguous interpretation of what constitutes hand luggage. Other airlines, including easyJet, Eurowings, and Volotea, have already faced sanctions from the General Directorate of Consumer Affairs for charging high rates for hand luggage. Consumer association Facua has lodged similar complaints against Vueling and Ryanair. 

So, as this pastry predicament unfolds, one thing is for sure – the ensaimada has become more than a beloved local delicacy. It’s now a symbol of the struggle between local customs and international regulations, between cultural appreciation and commercial interests.  

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