The Spanish Supreme Court finds Ryanair´s baggage policy to be unfair

by Lorraine Williamson
Ryanair´s baggage policy

MADRID – Following complaints from a consumer association, the Supreme Court in Spain has ruled, Ryanair´s baggage rules for passengers were unfair.

Under the rules, the budget airline was able to send luggage on a different flight to that of the passengers. In cases where there is lost luggage, this would normally be acceptable.  And as a result, baggage would be forwarded on a different flight. However, Ryanair´s baggage policy was generic, and did not state the reasons when this could apply. Therefore it was open for more wider, unspecified use.

Abusive

In addition to the ruling on the baggage complaint, the Court also commented on another clause. It called it “abusive” under their terms and conditions. This clause addressed “Governing law and jurisdiction” and stated as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided by the Convention or applicable law, your contract of carriage with us, these Terms & Conditions of Carriage and our Regulations shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Ireland and any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Irish Courts.”

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Rights and obligations

The court called this condition “abusive”. As it causes a significant imbalance between the rights and obligations” of customers and the airline. The court continued to say this clause obstructs possible legal action or remedy by the consumer. Moreover, as it implies, they would need to do their own research on Irish law content.

Passenger air transport law

Furthermore, the court argues that, according to EU law, Spanish law would be applicable should the consumer reside in Spain, with the origin or destination also in the country. The Supreme Court asserts that the Ryanair clause is “incomplete,” misleading the consumer to believe that only Irish law applies to the contract. And does not inform them there are guaranteed protections under passenger air transport law.

The Court also reconfirmed a previous ruling annulling other clause, one of which included a €40 charge for reprinting a boarding pass. This was deemed as disproportionate.

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