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EU court allows airlines to charge extra fee for checked luggage

Passengers walk across the tarmac as a EasyJet Plc aircraft stands beyond at Schoenefeld airport, operated by Flughafen Berlin-Schoenefeld GmbH, in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, July 17, 2014.
Passengers walk across the tarmac as a EasyJet Plc aircraft stands beyond at Schoenefeld airport, operated by Flughafen Berlin-Schoenefeld GmbH, in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s highest court says airlines are allowed to charge passengers an extra fee for checking in luggage.

The Court of Justice ruled Thursday that “checked-in baggage cannot be considered to be compulsory or necessary” for carrying passengers, thus granting carriers the right to charge a supplement.

The Luxembourg-based judges found a Spanish law prohibiting such luggage surcharges violates European law because it prohibits airlines from charging for what represents a “complementary service.”

READ MORE: Air Canada expected to join WestJet in breaking out new baggage fee

Luggage surcharges coming on top of cheap airfares are common with Europe’s burgeoning budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

The 28-nation bloc’s top court said a Spanish consumer protection authority was wrong to fine Vueling Airlines for demanding a luggage surcharge of 40 euros ($52) for a round-trip between Spain and the Netherlands.

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