The Confusion That is Carry-On Luggage or The Great Carry-On Luggage Flimflam

If you have flown to a holiday destination with any of the budget airlines we have here in the UK, and also in the EU, you know two things:

1) How fortunate we are to have so many low cost airlines going to so many destinations.

2) How confusing it can be regarding their baggage allowances and policies.

Why can’t they all be standardised and all get on the same page.

I may write/say this, but many are on the same page.

For what you pay for a price of a ticket on some of these airlines and the flights they operate, you have to ask yourself, how do they make money?

Trust me they do make money, millions of pounds worth of it.

For me at the prices they charge, I don’t expect to get much, which is a good thing, as these airlines live up to my very low expectations.

The Confusion That is Carry-On Luggage or The Great Carry-On Luggage Flimflam

In all honesty, I have flown many of these airlines, and it has been an OK to enjoyable experience. Once you know what you are and are not getting, and the bottom line is to just get us there and back safely, on this they deliver!

If you have ever flown an international or “long-haul” flight than you know many of these airlines allow one (1) if not two (2) carry on bags, and one piece of checked baggage for free. Free, or it is somehow absorbed into the cost of the ticket.

These are also larger plans as well, so more room for bags onboard.

The Confusion That is Carry-On Luggage or The Great Carry-On Luggage Flimflam

Our budget carriers do seem to be consistent in one thing, they charge for any checked bags. Most carriers allow you to check a bag weighing up to 25kg, as an average, however the variations amongst airlines can be 23kg to up to 30kg.

This is if you pay for the bag and do this online prior to flying. The fees to do this again vary, but on average are £25, and this is for one-way, so you would be paying £50 for a return ticket if you checked a bag each way.

If you have to check a bag at the airport, the fee increases to £40 or more!

This I assume as you are having a representative do this for you.

We are not going to debate the “nickel and dime” philosophy these airlines have in order to make money. The fact is they are cheap, somewhat cheerful, and they gets us to where we want to go and back safely.

Just what it says on the package.

So in reviewing some airlines baggage policies, this is what I found:

WowAir: You are allowed 1 personal item (42x32x25cm/ 17x13x10in (10kg/22 lbs)) and 1 carry-on bag (56x45x25cm/ 22x18x10in, including handles and wheels and no more than 12 kg/26 lbs).

Easyjet: You are allowed 1 cabin bag (56cm x 45cm x 25cm ) this includes handles and wheels. If you pay extra you are allowed an under seat bag as well (45cm x 36cm x 20cm).

Ryanair: Ryanair allows a carry-on bag and a personal item as well. (one 10kg bag (max. size: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm) and one small personal bag (max. size: 35cm x 20cm x 20cm). The issue with Ryanair is that only the first 90 bags are allowed as carry-on, due to space limitations.

This means on full flights you may be asked, or required, to check your bag, and this is then for free.

This policy almost forces you to either be the first in the queue to get onboard, or pay the extra fee for priority boarding. They think they are slick, Ryanair.

If a plane holds 180 passengers, this means half will not be allowed to carry their carry-on bags onboard.

This makes no sense to me and I welcome a spokesperson for Ryanair to explain the logic in this to me. (However, read on, as Ryanair has made even more changes)

Jet2: Jet2 allows 1 carry-on bag (10kg in weight and no larger than 56cmx45cmx25cm, including all wheels and handles).

Thomas Cook: Thomas Cook allows 1 carry-on bag weighing no more than 6kgs, or 10kgs if a premium customer, and the dimensions need to be ((H) 55cm x (W) 40cm x (D) 20cm.)

Flybe: Flybe allows 1 carry-on bag (55 x 35 x 20cm (including wheels and handles). They however, also allow a second bag if it fits under the seat in front of you.

It would seem that Flybe is pretty strict in their baggage policies as this fellow was “caught out” by this on a recent trip.

It should noted that many of these carriers in addition to your carry-on bag, do allow a Duty Free purchase to be carried onboard as well, in addition to your carry-on.

As always, check with the airline you are flying with prior to your flight to make sure you are aware of their carry-on allowances and restrictions.

The Confusion That is Carry-On Luggage or The Great Carry-On Luggage Flimflam

A New Twist

In a recent move the government has followed an EU directive and as of January all surcharges and fees that are accessed on using credit and debit cards will be banned.

One of the many industries that will feel the effect of this is the airline industry.

It is estimated that we as consumes pay over £450 million a year in credit and debit card charges, just for the privilege of using the cards. And when you are purchasing airline tickets online, how else can you pay?

Once this ban goes into effect, there have been concerns about the loss of revenue to some of the businesses that will be affected.

One option the companies have is to raise their prices to offset this loss.

It would seem that the airline industry, or one airline for now, may have found a solution.

Jet2 is raising the bar or lowering the hammer, depending on how you view things by “introducing a fee” to “guarantee” your carry-on bag does not go into the hold.

The prices will start at £2.99 per person per bag. Which in theory, could add an additional £10 to a couple’s cost of tickets for a holiday.

If you recall Ryanair has stated only the first 90 passengers are “guaranteed” their bags as carry-on can stay with them. Any other passenger’s bags, after the initial 90, may be placed in the hold.

Unless you opt and pay for priority boarding.

One huge issue with this baggage policy is if you travel with a computer/laptop.

Many people if told when they are boarding that their bag must be checked, and it will be checked for free, may feel that’s fine. Here’s my bag, and bag I’ll see you at our holiday destination.

However, if you have a laptop you may not want it checked as any travel insurance policy you have in place may not pay for damages unless the computer stays with you as carry-on luggage at all times.

Once the bag with the computer is checked and placed in the hold, the insurance policy is no longer in effect.

So if your laptop were to be damaged, you would need to take that up with the airlines, and good luck with that.

If you are not travelling with a computer, or other delicate electronic device, or any valuables you may be concerned with, checking a bag for free may be just fine.

Which begs the question….are we not moving full circle with these baggage policies?

Soon checking bags will be free, and to keep your bags with you as carry-on there will be fees.

Airlines will have planes modified just to hold all the carry-on bags. Manufacturers will build planes to specifically carry more bags with their passengers and not in the hold or cargo areas.

Moneysavingexpert.com’s Guy Anker has stated,Gone are the days when passengers pay the headline price for a flight. I think people will be quite rightly annoyed by this.”

“Especially because you are doing it yourself, you are carrying the bag on to the plane yourself.”

“I can understand the size restrictions so they can all fit, but people will be angry at having to pay extra for the privilege.”


Jet2 states on its web site regarding the guaranteed bag option,
“On busy flights, we may need to ask you to put your 10kg hand luggage in the hold if we’ve run out of space in the cabin.”

“If you want to be certain of keeping your hand baggage with you, simply add guaranteed cabin luggage now.”

Ryanair has stated, “Ryanair customers enjoy one of the most generous cabin bag rules in Europe and may bring one free 10kg cabin bag and one free smaller bag on board.”

“Due to overhead locker cabin space limitations, only 90 normal cabin bags can be carried in the cabin and any remaining normal cabin bags can be carried free of charge in the aircraft hold.”


As we can see, the airlines are changing, as are the fees and charges they can access to pay by credit or debit card.

I am unsure what is next that the airline industry can charge us for once we are in the air, however, a few years back there was chatter about Ryanair charging £1 to use the loos.

Talk about a captive audience. Charge you an outrageous amount for a drink, and then if you needed to use the toilet, charge you for that as well.

Passengers Strike Back

With all this confusion that is going on with the airline industry and baggage, and what you can and cannot carry onboard, there has been one constant, and that is if you want to save money do not check a bag.

Carry everything you need onboard with you.

Even with the new £2.99 and £5 extra charges for early boarding and “guaranteeing” yoru bag stays with you, it is much cheaper than £40 or more to check a bag.

And the airlines may think they are clever, but if you want to catch a mouse and use a smart mouse trap, the mice will get smarter to avoid being caught.

Passengers are looking at loopholes in the baggage policies of the airlines, Ryanair in particular, and are having the children and toddlers, drag bags onboard plans to avoid having to check a bag.

Why not??

Have little Johnny Jr. or little Miss Ann, drag a bag onboard as their carry-on luggage. Of course mum and dad will help put in in the overhead compartments.

The Chief Financial Officer for Ryanair, Neil Sorahan has said passengers were beginning to “take the piss”.

He adds, “We’re very generous with our cabin baggage allowance; a 10kg case and a second small carry-on. If everyone does that there’s no issue. It’s the people coming with the kitchen sink that could change the policy.”

Regarding the taking the piss comment he said, “Some are… The vast majority of people play by the rules but some don’t. Unfortunately some bring massive backpacks and things that don’t fit under the seat. We’ve been a little bit lax or nice – we are victims of our own niceness.”

I am unsure about “victims” of their own niceness here, but Ryanair does allow a small second bag, which can be helpful.

In the end though it may be Ryanair who gets the last laugh, or last bag.

In 2019 Ryanair is to take delivery of some new planes, Boeing 737 Max aircraft to be exact. These planes will have the capacity to fit an extra eight (8) people on board, but not room for the extra bags they may carry.

The new planes will be the same size as the fleet’s current 737-800’s, but will hold more passengers, but not more bags.

Mr. Sorahan said regarding the new planes and regarding space for “cabin baggage”, “You might get one or two more on.”

Update: Ryanair Makes a Change

Another new twist to this story, or writing about how confusing baggage and luggage is with the airlines, now Ryanair is making a change, and making things more confusing, or maybe less confusing.

Ryanair is cutting the number of bags you can carry-on as luggage into the cabin of the plane.

You are still allowed a bag and a personal item, but bags, usually of the rolling type, will be taken and placed in the hold of the plane, for free.

OK, doesn’t this bring us back around to why have a plane hold almost 200 people, and then allow 2 bags, but only allow half to take their bags on board?

And now even less or not many people get to take bags on board.

I said years ago, charge for carry-on luggage, then you will see a reduction in carry-ons.

Ryanair states the new policy will speed up the boarding process as people will not be looking for a place to stow their bags.

I agree with this, and it makes sense and should speed things up. But they have come full-circle in their thinking.

Graciously Ryanair is also reducing their checked bag fees from £35 to £25, and increasing the weight allowance from 15g to 20g.

Both these are nice things, and may encourage people to pay to check a bag more often.

Sometimes being limited in what you can pack for trips is a hindrance.

The Chief Marketing Officer for Ryanair, Kenny Jacobs stated, “These bag policy changes will cost Ryanair over 50m euros (£46m) per annum in reduced checked bag fees.

“However, we believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking-in a bag, which will reduce the high volume of customers we have with two carry-on bags at the boarding gates.”

Of course the carry-on confusion is the last of your worries with Ryanair these days. You have to have a flight to put your luggage on to be concerned about it.

Currently Ryanair is cancelling flights right, left and centre, so no need to worry about their luggage policy, just if they are flying policy.

The Confusion That is Carry-On Luggage or The Great Carry-On Luggage Flimflam

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