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Court bans Ryanair's hand luggage fee in Spain

MADRID, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A Spanish court on Wednesday ruled budget carrier Ryanair's policy of charging an extra fee for hand luggage was "abusive" and could no longer be levied in Spain.

The ruling stemmed from a passenger complaint over the policy, introduced last year, which charges most people an additional fee for bringing anything more than one personal item into the cabin.

Ryanair was not immediately available for comment.

The passenger, traveling from Madrid to Brussels, went to court after airline staff forced her to pay 20 euros to bring her 10 kilo luggage on board.

The court ordered Ryanair to refund her the 20 euros plus interest, but rejected her demand for compensation of a further 10 euros for the suffering she experienced, according to court documents.

The judge ruled that the hand luggage, by size and weight, could be easily carried in the cabin, pointing to a Spanish regulation that allows passengers to take hand luggage on board at no additional cost.

The judge characterized the charge as abusive, adding that it "curtailed the rights that the passenger has recognized by law," and declared it invalid in Spain.

She rejected the demand for compensation, however, saying that while doubtless "the passenger suffered rage and powerlessness in having to pay the extra unforeseen cost at the time of boarding" the discomfort did not reach a level that would justify compensation.

The court said in a statement that its ruling cannot be appealed. (Reporting by Elena Rodriguez and Emma Pinedo, writing by Ashifa Kassam Editing by Alexandra Hudson)