‘Couriers may be cheaper than airline baggage fees’

Michael O'Leary's Ryanair was the costliest of the six low-cost airlines surveyed. Picture: PA
Michael O'Leary's Ryanair was the costliest of the six low-cost airlines surveyed. Picture: PA
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PASSENGERS could save ­hundreds of pounds by using private couriers to ship their luggage to their destination rather than paying baggage charges on budget airlines such as Ryanair, a consumer watchdog has claimed.

An investigation by Which? revealed the increasingly high costs of taking luggage in the hold could be cut by sending bags in advance rather than ­paying out to transport them on the plane.

The report found passengers travelling on a flight to Rome from the UK could save £12 by sending their bags ahead with a courier firm, rather than forking out £35 for transporting bags to and from their destination with carrier Ryanair. The airline, run by outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary, was found to be the most expensive of the six low-cost airlines surveyed.

And if holidaymakers take sports equipment such as golf clubs, the savings of using a courier are even greater, the report found – often amounting to hundreds of pounds.

Four of the five luggage couriers surveyed beat the price charged for a 30kg (66lb) golf bag if a traveller was to fly with Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair or Thomson Airways from south-west London to Malaga.

The cheapest courier compared with a Ryanair flight quoted £360 less to ship a golf bag – just under £140 to send a 30kg golf bag from London to Malaga and back with courier FetchMy, against £500 to put the bag in the hold on a Ryanair flight and £336 for a FlyBe flight. “It’s ­­surprising that it can work out hundreds of pounds cheaper to get sports gear chauffeured to your destination rather than putting it in the hold,” said a Which? spokesman.

But he warned that sending luggage by courier can take much longer than checking it in at the airport.

“The downside of using a courier company is that you need to be more organised, as the standard delivery is likely to take a minimum of three working days to be there on arrival,” he said. “You’ll also have to check your hotel is happy to receive it.”

The high price charged for the golf bag by airlines was, in most cases, due to excess baggage fees. However, not all airlines charged more than couriers to ship sports gear. If a passenger were to fly with EasyJet, a 20kg bag costs just £16 each way and a bag of golf clubs an extra £27 – over £40 less than the cheapest courier at £69.38.

However, postal couriers such as MyParcelDelivery are also cheaper than the vast majority of budget airlines for excess baggage, charging just under £30 each way for a 30kg golf bag.

“I think if people are planning to take something away with them which is particularly bulky, then it may be worth looking at other options, including couriers,” said Gillian Edwards, spokeswoman for travel association Abta.

“We advise passengers to check the weight allowance for hold and hand baggage as they change and it can be very expensive to pay for extra at check-in.”