So, some armchair lawyer in Galicia in 2010 spotted that under Spanish law, it was illegal for airlines to charge for luggage. A ticket of transport was supposed to cover person and reasonable luggage.
This didn’t go down well with Vueling, who refused to allow him to check his bag for free. He complained to trading standards in Galicia, and they eventually fined Vueling €3000.
Vueling appealed under EU law, and the courts in A Coruña sent it off to Europe for a decision.
It’s come back, and yes, the airlines can charge for luggage, so the Spanish law will have to be changed.
The EU court ruled that not only does EU law contemplate the possibility (meaning the Spanish law infringes EU law) but that it is not fair for all passengers to have to pay for luggage when some may not have any. Luggage is an option extra, and it is fair that airlines charge for those who need the luxury of it.
HOWEVER, the same ruling also says that reasonable hand luggage IS considered to be part of transport, and that as long as the hand luggage is reasonable, and fits in with security measures, no additional charge can be made for it.