Ryanair is increasing the cost of checking-in suitcases to up to £80 per bag during the summer holiday season.
The airline promotes itself as a budget fare operator but hits passengers with a raft of 'must pay' extra charges that dramatically push up the price of flights.
The charge for a first bag that is checked into the hold via Ryanair's website will rise from £15 to £20 in July and August, while the figure for the second bag goes up from £35 to £40.
But a customer who forgets to check-in online will be charged £40 for the first bag and £80 for a second bag at the airport in July and August.
The same charges will apply if the flight has been booked through a call centre. At present the charges are £35 for a first bag and £70 for a second bag.
The increases will hit families with young children particularly hard as they have no choice but to check-in extra bags with nappies, clothes and other equipment.
And Ryanair has a relatively mean limit of 15kg for checked-in bags, which is lower than many airlines. If a family of four were to check in eight bags at the airport - rather than online - the bill could be as much as £480 each way.
Ryanair is also planning to charge passengers £1 to use lavatories on its planes.
The company has profited from the strikes at British Airways as worried travellers seek alternative carriers to avoid disruption.
The increase in bag charges was condemned by industry experts. Bob Atkinson, of travelsupermarket.com, said: 'This is cynical exploitation from Ryanair and a real blow for families travelling on a budget.'
Rochelle Turner, head of research at Which? Holiday, said: 'Ryanair might claim that they are incentivising people to travel light, but we think it is more a case of penalising those families who can only go away on holiday at this time.
'Having to pay an extra for checking in bags during July and August is unfair.' The airline's controversial chief executive, Michael O'Leary, confirmed the baggage charges yesterday as he revealed profits for the year to March of £281million.
He claimed the figures as a triumph when compared to a loss of £150million the year before. The company reported a 14 per cent increase in travellers to 67million.
Ryanair claims the higher fees are designed to 'incentivise' people to take as little luggage as possible. Mr O'Leary said: 'We are pretty much telling you we don't want your second bag at all. How can we be profiteering when we are making it more affordable for families to go on holiday?'
He said his family had paid100 euros in baggage fees on Ryanair last year.
He will have no problem paying the higher charges this year, for he is in line for a dividend payment of £16.7million on his 4 per cent shareholding in the airline.