North-east travellers flying to Dublin from Aberdeen will soon have to pay to take their luggage on board.
From March 16, Ryanair will charge passengers £5 for their first checked-in bag if it is presented unbooked at the airport, and £2.50 if tickets are bought through its website.
The low-cost airline says the move means it can reduce all its fares by 9% and enable passengers travelling with hand luggage to check in on its website and bypass all check-in and airport queues.
It claims its "pioneering" policy will benefit the 25% of passengers who presently travel with just hand luggage.
Those who travel with just one checked-in bag will see no change in the cost of their travel as the £2.50 ticket-price reduction will fund their £2.50 baggage fee if they book on the internet.
Ryanair, which is also increasing the luggage allowance from 55lb (25kg) to 66lb (30kg), said passengers will be charged £3.50 for a second bag if they book online and £7 if they do not.
Critics have accused the company of introducing new charges through the back door.
North-east MSP Richard Lochhead said it was clear it was "resorting to spin" to distract passengers.
His SNP colleague, Brian Adams, MSP for Aberdeen North, said he did not have any problems with low-cost airlines trying to encourage people to book tickets on the internet, but he did not approve of its "fundamentally dishonest marketing strategy", as taxes dramatically increased advertised fares prices.
"If airlines have to increase their charges because of a rise in the cost of fuel, the public would understand; but they will not accept less-than-transparent-pricing policies," he said.
Budget airline Flybe plans to charge passengers flying from Aberdeen up to £4 for each item carried in the hold from next month.
Announcing Ryanair's plans, chief executive Michael O'Leary said yesterday: "Ryanair will become the first low-fares airline in Europe to make web check-in available for all our customers and we believe that this service will prove enormously attractive to passengers who wish to avoid those frustrating queues at airport check-in, at security and at the boarding gate as well.
"These changes will also be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of our remaining passengers who will still be checking in one bag, as these passengers will enjoy lower air fares, but also shorter and faster-moving queues at airport check-in."
Passengers flying with Ryanair from Aberdeen to Dublin can by one-way tickets online from 99p.
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