Well, I took a Transavia flight recently, and that's the policy they use. The second bag can only be as big as a laptop case. However, the flight I took was almost empty, and they were clearly not enforcing the rules strictly.
I did look at the rules for checked luggage before taking the flight 'just in case' and they were charging 15 euros per bag if pre-booked, but 50 euros if not.
I have never used Ryanair and thought they were still with their one bag policy. We will be flying on Ryanair to Scotland in March and when I booked the tickets, I saw a checked bag of up to 15 kg would cost 34€. More like 50€ if it weighs 23 kg.
I had one of my best moments of low cost travel when a woman from Easyjet, probably underpaid and quite frustrated came like a ton of bricks on a poor lone old woman. She was in her early 20's she began excitedly to admonish the passenger in her late '70's, telling her she could not have 2 bags. The poor lady had one bag and ... a book. so a guy with a nice suit (the kind of frequent traveler businessman) stooped and told the lady to give him his book and he would put it in his own bag. The young frustrated 'hostess' counter-attacked and said it was not allowed. Before the nice gentleman could answer 3-4 more businessmen came and said 'how that, not allowed' ? And we all rolled our shoulders to look physically menacing. The young bitch retreated.Funny how some put their own clients in a state of near hate when they use their services. Ryanair does that to me. If the hostess is not at least smiling, I become a PITA. Like in Perfect Inertia Towards A(ttendees ?). I don't move and don't understand anything unless spoken in French.
while i agree most things work better when being kind, i think the "following the rules to the letter" might have to do with how much pressure is put upon them by their employers. and younger ones might be newer to the job and thus more worried about losing it again ... of course, i couldn't imagine any employer wanting to count a book as a bag or anything like that, but you never know ...
South African Airways has a one bag policy as far as I can gather from seeing passengers with two bags being directed down a flight of those moveable stairs, which led to baggage handlers stowing the items in the hold. Lucky for me I was allowed to take my two bags on board as I had certainly paid for a pricey seat! Even then the airline scored in the weight department as my suitcase weighed around 9kgs and my vanity/handbag a little over a kilo. I only travel with hand luggage - even for a months holiday. It all went downhill at Munich airport when the check-in man refused to accept my 13kg suitcase(the very same one I arrived with) as hand luggage, so had to stowe it.