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Court orders Flybe to reimburse customer who was charged excess for his baggage

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FLYBE has lost the battle against a customer who took the airline to a small claims court after he was charged for excess baggage on a bag he said had been compliant many times before.

In April, Declan Gormley’s bag was approved by Flybe at George Best Belfast City Airport, but he was then charged £50 for its return to Aberdeen.

He said he had never been charged previously and the airline did not indicate any concerns or challenge him for the particular bag, which he says he had used about 10 times on Flybe before without issue.

‘Flying out of Belfast, Flybe staff asked to check the bag,’ Mr Gormley told Belfast Live.

‘I flew to Aberdeen with the bag, everything was fine.’

Four days later he returned and stopped at the gate at Aberdeen airport where ground staff, not Flybe staff, determined that the bag was not compliant.

The sizer used to measure the bag was not identified as a Flybe sizer and to get on the flight, Mr Gormley had to pay £50, even though the bag still had the compliance sticker from the flight four days’ earlier.

After not being able to resolve the issue over the phone or via email, he paid £37 to take the airline to the small claims court on 10 October.

The judge ruled in the customer’s favour and Flybe were told to pay back the £50, along with the £37 court fee.

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A spokesman for the airline said it was complying with the court.

‘Flybe continues to have a generous hand baggage allowance which, since 2016, allows passengers to take on board two pieces of cabin baggage.’

This includes one item that does not exceed 55 x 35 x 20cm, and one smaller additional piece such as a handbag or laptop case.

‘Any hand baggage which exceeds these stated dimensions is charged as highlighted to customers during the booking process and again in all pre-flight communications.

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‘Flybe works closely with its ground handling team to regularly check that its hand baggage policy is being properly and consistently adhered to and applied and all Flybe cabin bag gauges have been confirmed by Trading Standards’ bodies as being the same dimensions as stated on the gauge and on the Flybe website.’

All information can be found on www.flybe.com.

Tweet from Gavin St Pier about Flybe / Blue Islands baggage charges...Appalling rip-off service this morning from @flybe #BlueIslands this morning. £50 charge for this bag, allowed one way but not the other; fits gauge except for 2” of wheels; no cash; and you pay to get to carry it to hold. Left feeling ‘thank goodness Aurigny back on route soon.’ https://t.co/kHwYvURsjX. (26222932)

Previously, chief minister Deputy Gavin St Pier was caught out by the same charge when his bag was allowed one way but not the other because the wheels did not fit in the sizer.

At the time, Flybe responded by stating it had recently implemented a zero-tolerance oversized hand luggage policy after reviewing passenger feedback which highlighted dissatisfaction with inconsistent cabin baggage enforcement checks.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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