A Spanish court has ruled that Ryanair's policy of charging an extra fee for hand luggage is "abusive" and can no longer be levied in Spain.

The ruling follows 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.

The airline only allows small bags into the cabin if they can be stowed under the seat in front. Larger bags of up to 10kg require a luggage fee, or a fee-paying priority boarding pass.

"This ruling will not affect Ryanair's baggage policy, either in the past or in the future, as it is an isolated case that misinterpreted our commercial freedom to determine the size of our cabin baggage," the airline said in a statement.

The passenger, travelling from Madrid to Brussels, went to court after staff forced her to pay €20 to bring her 10kg luggage on board.

The court ordered Ryanair to refund her the €20 plus interest, but rejected her demand for compensation of a further €10 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 characterised the charge as abusive, adding that it "curtailed the rights that the passenger has recognised 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.

When asked if it was planning to ignore the Spanish ruling or appeal it in the European Court of Justice, Ryanair declined to comment.

In February, Italy's antitrust authority fined Ryanair €3m and Hungary's Wizzair €1m over their cabin baggage policy on grounds it was tantamount to raising ticket prices in a "non-transparent" manner.

But last month, an Italian court cancelled the fines following an appeal by the two airlines.