Ryanair details plans to cut out checked baggage

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Irish budget carrier Ryanair has indicated that it intends to implement its plan to phase out checked baggage by around November 2010.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary presented the plan during a briefing in London, but a spokesman for the carrier says that details are still to be ironed out.

"It will probably be late summer 2010...certainly before the winter schedule starts," he says.

Passengers will, it appears, still be restricted to one 10kg carry-on bag. Those with extra bags will drop them at a designated area by the aircraft's boarding stairs, from where handlers will load them. By the time passengers have exited the aircraft their baggage should be waiting for them in a similar designated area.

"They won't be milling about," says the spokesman. "It will be organised and the passengers will easily be able to identify their bags."

Only 30% of Ryanair's passengers currently submit baggage for the hold, but the spokesman admits that that number will probably rise to 40-50% once the new policy is in place.

Ryanair says that it will not ask for permission from airports - many of which limit hand luggage - to instigate its plan, but promises to liaise with them.

"All airports will have to do is make sure all security points are manned during the day rather than only being manned during the busiest times," says the carrier.

UK airport operator BAA, which runs Ryanair's London Stansted base, says: "We'll need to look at the proposal in more detail. Currently every airport has a different policy on hand luggage depending on their unique requirements."

Stansted Airport's management says it will co-operate with the airline where possible, but points to "significant security and practical considerations" set down by the UK Department for Transport. The Department for Transport says it is responsible for security, but other matters fall "between the airline and the airport operator".