Current Issues

Air Passenger Rights: One Bag Rule


The duty-free and travel retail industry is addressing


One of its biggest challenges facing our industry is the so-called “one bag rule” with the implementation by some airlines of cabin baggage restrictions allowing passengers only one single carry-on cabin bag. Passengers flying these airlines are required to keep all their personal belongings, including airport purchases, into a single carry-on bag. Those passengers not able to fit their airport purchases into one bag are forced to either pay a fine up to €50, throw the items away, or are denied travel. Such cabin baggage restrictions are creating uncertainty with passengers and many passengers chose not to shop because of this uncertainty.

The implementation of these cabin baggage restrictions has had a dramatic impact on airport sales as well as created confusion and frustration among passengers. Consequently there is a negative impact on our industry. According to Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, the single largest category of non-aeronautical revenues is income from airport retail concessions, accounting for 43% of total non-aeronautical revenues (ACI EUROPE Economics Report 2012).

CEETRA is committed to securing the rights of passengers to bring their airport purchases onboard at no extra cost. CEETRA therefore strongly believes that EU measures are required to support enhanced air passenger rights and in particular, the right for passengers to carry their airside airport purchases on board in addition to their baggage allowance.

In March 2013, the European Commission proposed to revise the current EU legislation on Air Passenger Rights, but did not address the issues related to hand luggage and the carriage of airport shopping. The European Parliament has on many occasions recognized the negative impact of these restrictions on the passenger experience, on airport retail sales and on airport revenues. At a vote in the Transport committee on the report on Air Passenger Rights on 17 December 2013, MEPs adopted an amendment to allow passengers to bring at least one bag of airport shopping for free, in addition to airlines hand luggage allowance. This position was confirmed by a plenary vote at first reading early February 2014.

A study has been undertaken on The economics and regulation of on-board carriage of European airport retail sales Commissioned by the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), and supported by ACI Europe. This study considers the impact that restrictions imposed by some airlines on passengers carrying airport shopping on-board are having on passengers’ experience at airports and on their longer term interests in the level of service and connectivity provided by the European aviation system.

The Study also identifies potential detriments from this practice, considers policy solutions and recommends that proposals from the European Parliament to accord passengers the right to carry on board airport shopping in addition to hand baggage should be pursued as the most effective solution. In order to see the Study in full please download from this link.

CEETRA will continue to monitor developments and collect experiences from our members throughout the region.

Ceetra is a proud member of

The European Travel Retail Confederation

Contact us on phone +32 2 234 6860 or e-mail


Central & Eastern European Travel Retail Association

c/o Hume Brophy

41 Rue de la Science

1040 Brussels


Registered in Belgium, reg. no. 0597.926.905