Too big, too heavy, too many -- European travellers are being taken for a ride by airlines charging what they like for carry-on baggage and the EU should standardise the rules, MEPs said Thursday.

"We must protect consumers from the abusive commercial practices that airlines use to generate extra income," said Georges Bach of the biggest, conservative EPP party grouping in the European Parliament.

"Citizens have lost a lot of confidence in the EU -- here's a chance to do something to restore it," added Wolf Klinz, a German MEP.

Travellers are often bewildered by the variety of rules applied by different airlines, especially low-cost carriers, as to what they can or cannot carry on board and how much they will have to pay for the privilege.

But it appeared the European Commission is unlikely to heed calls for change.

EU Internal Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told Parliament it was clear that hand luggage restrictions varied greatly.

However, "the Commission sees this as the reflection of diversity in a very competitive market" and accordingly, De Gucht said he was not in favour of more regulatory action.