Ryanair has postponed until mid-January the introduction of stricter rules regarding carry-on bags, which it argues are necessary to speed up boarding and reduce flight delays.

The budget carrier announced in September that it was adjusting its policy, stating that the changes would take effect from 1 November.

However, the measure will now be enforced only from 15 January, "to allow customers more time to adjust to the changes, particularly during the busy Christmas period", says the airline.

Passengers are currently allowed to bring one larger case and one smaller bag into the cabin of Ryanair flights. After the change, customers travelling on "non-priority" tickets will be allowed just a small bag as hand luggage. The second, larger case will be placed in the hold at no charge to the passenger.

Only passengers with priority boarding tickets will be allowed a wheeled item of luggage in the cabin in addition to the smaller bag.

The delay to introduction of the new policy comes at a sensitive time for the airline, which received significant adverse publicity following the cancellation of thousands of flights over pilot-rostering issues.

"We will be restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag... which will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays," states Ryanair marketing chief Kenny Jacobs.

Ryanair has already cut its checked bag fees by €10 to €25 ($29.40), and increased its check-in bag allowance from 15kg to 20kg, as part of the changes.

The move to reduce cabin bag allowances is another example of Ryanair departing from what once seemed like an entrenched position regarding its strategy. In 2006, the Irish carrier launched an initiative aimed at encouraging passengers to travel without checked-in bags as it sought to reduce airport charges.

"Ryanair remains determined to encourage more and more passengers to travel with carry-on luggage only," the airline said at the time.

Source: Cirium Dashboard