Hand Luggage: Where is the Line Drawn?

Eli Zekaria Travel Advice Leave a Comment

I remember when budget airlines’ popularity grew exponentially. It allowed the people with a little less disposable income to travel for a small percentage of the cost of a more traditional major airline. Recently however it seems that it may be a lot easier to just go with British Airways and the rest, especially when the budget airlines such as: Ryanair and Easy Jet, bump the price up for everything they possibly can. One of the main problems is hand luggage.

What is Hand Luggage?

Untitled-300x198Hand luggage, or carry-on luggage, is apparently an ambiguous term for these budget airlines. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) gives the size guidelines for carry-on luggage as 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, which is what a lot of airlines use, including British Airways. However, Ryanair’s rules for hand luggage are that they have to meet these measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. It may not sound like a big difference, however it can be quite a lot, especially when you are lumped with an unexpected bill for your hand luggage.

This in itself isn’t a major problem, however if the budget airlines have been known to charge extra even when someone is within their stricter guidelines. Yes, these airlines are cheaper on paper, but in reality if you happen to have to pay all the extra charges, it racks the price up.

Easy Jet follows the IATA guidelines, however they have what they call ‘guaranteed’ luggage measurements. These are as follows 50cm x 40cm x 20cm, not a huge difference but can be misleading when you expect to be allowed on, no questions asked.

What Can You Do?

Try and keep up with the changing guidelines. There are luggage brands out there that pay attention to the fluctuating and sometimes baffling rules of airlines. Brands like Redland and their ‘NextGen‘ range that have a case that is 55cm x 35cm x 20cm or Benetton and their smaller cabin range.

All airlines will post their guidelines on the websites. Just make sure that you are extra careful when it comes to budget airlines. Don’t be stung by their (sometimes) unfair additional costs. They won’t break the bank when you get an extra charge, but it’s more about the principle then the cost.

One more note. Be sure to check out the governments guidelines on what you can and cannot take aboard in your hand luggage. A lot of people can be surprised by what is banned on flights – especially if you’re not a frequent flier. It may be a pain but at least it is for our own protection, unlike additional luggage costs.

Image Courtesy of:

Arvind Balaraman @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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