18 airlines fined €700,000 for abusive practices over last three years 

Companies failed to offer refunds during Covid and overcharged for carry-on baggage

Passengers waiting to check in at Barcelona Airport
Passengers waiting to check in at Barcelona Airport / Gemma Sánchez Bonel
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 30, 2023 01:50 PM

November 30, 2023 06:43 PM

In the last three years, the Catalan Consumer Agency has fined 18 airlines a total of €700,000 for violating passengers' rights. It imposed 30 fines ranging from €10,000 to €100,000, all for serious infringements.

Between 2021 and 2023, the agency received 4,781 claims, resolving 61.45% through mediation before escalating to sanctions. 

Complaints were mainly related to non-compliance with refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic, obstruction of inspections, and extra charges for hand baggage.   

Vueling, with 1,384 cases, and Ryanair, with 1,115, were the airlines with the most complaints over the past three years, according to the Catalan Consumer Agency's data released Thursday.  

During the pandemic, the agency identified cases where airlines offered only a voucher for canceled flights and failed to inform passengers of their right to a full refund, as required by law. 


Albert Melià, the agency's director, urged passengers to assert their rights by filing complaints in cases of abusive practices. He also highlighted the escalating controversy surrounding carry-on baggage, stressing the lack of clear legal guidance.   

While the right of passengers to carry hand luggage is recognized, the size of the bag or suitcase remains unspecified, according to Spanish laws and a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

In response to this "uncertainty," Melià said the agency is committed to pursuing practices that are considered abusive.