We’ve all been there. You get to the airport after triple checking that you’ve got all of your passports and luggage, only to be met with airline staff informing you that your hand luggage is too heavy and it needs to be checked in.
All major airlines across the UK carry different cabin baggage policies, so it’s easy to get confused. Here is a round-up of the top ten carriers in the UK, and their hand baggage allowances.
Don’t forget, as is the case with all departures from the UK, liquid items are only permitted if their capacity is no greater than 100ml, and they all fit within one closed transparent resealable bag (approximately 20cm x 20cm). Where possible, it would be sensible to put any liquids you don’t need for the flights in your hold baggage if you have them.
|Airline||Baggage Weight (standard/economy)||Baggage Size|
|British Airways||23kg||56 x 45 x 25cm|
|easyJet||No limit||45 x 36 x 20cm|
|Ryanair||10kg||55 x 40 x 20cm|
|Jet2||10kg||56 x 45 x 25cm|
|Emirates Airlines||7kg||55 x 38 x 20 cm|
|Etihad Airways||7kg||56 x 36 x 23cm|
|Lufthansa||8kg||55 x 40 x 23cm|
|TUI||10kg||55 x 40 x 20cm|
|Virgin Atlantic||10kg||56 x 36 x 23cm|
|KLM||12kg||55 x 35 x 25cm|
British Airways perhaps have one of the most generous cabin baggage policies. All customers are permitted to carry one piece of hand luggage and one small item on board. Hand luggage must not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm and the small item must be no bigger than 40cm x 30cm x 15cm. Both items can weigh up to 23kg each.
If your hand baggage exceeds the limit, it will be checked into hold. This can be added to your checked baggage allowance. However, if it exceeds this, you will be charged the airport’s excess baggage fees.
Everyone can take one small cabin bag per person onboard (maximum size 45 x 36 x 20cm, including any handles or wheels), which must fit under the seat in front of you. There’s no weight limit, but easyJet does ask that you are able to lift and carry your bag yourself.
If you have booked upfront or extra legroom seat you can also bring an additional large cabin bag on board, which can be a maximum size of 56 x 45 x 25cm (including any handles or wheels) and must fit in the overhead locker.
Ryanair’s policy is perhaps one of the most complex. All passenger fare types include a small personal bag, which must fit under the seat in front of you.
If you pay for priority boarding, you are allowed to board the plane via the priority queue and can carry a small personal bag (40 x 20 x 25cm) and 10kg wheelie bag (55 x 40 x 20cm) on board with you. If priority is sold out, you can purchase our 10kg Check-in Bag.
Oversized cabin baggage will be refused at the boarding gate, or where available, placed in the hold of the aircraft for a fee of €/£69.99, so it’s definitely worth getting the tape measure out for!
Jet2 allows passengers to carry one piece of hand luggage on board free of charge, as long as it weighs no more than 10kg and is no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including any wheels and handles. If your hand luggage weighs more or is larger than this, it will need to be checked into the aircraft hold, and you may have to pay an additional charge.
You can also bring a small, personal item onboard (such as a handbag, laptop bag or airport purchase), as long as it is placed underneath the seat in front of you.
Those travelling in economy class are permitted to travel with a 7kg carry on bag, although the dimensions should not exceed 55 x 38 x 20 cm. Travelling with a baby? You’re permitted to bring one carry-cot or one fully collapsible stroller into the cabin if there is room. Business travellers are allowed a 7kg carry on bag and another 7kg personal bag such as a handbag or laptop case.
Cabin baggage allowances may vary depending on your route, class of travel and Emirates Skywards membership tier.
Etihad have complicated their policy slightly, as it depends entirely on where you’re travelling and your ticket type as to what you’re entitled to carry.
If you book hand baggage only, or economy fare, your cabin bag can weigh up to 7kg. You can also bring one personal item on board with you, although it must fit under the seat in front of you and weigh no more than 5kg.
If you’re a business or first passenger, you’re entitled to 2 cabin bags with a maximum of 12kg and each bag must be no larger than 56 x 36 x 23cm.
Lufthansa’s carry-on baggage policy is very simple and easy to understand. You can take one item of baggage with you, such as a trolley case, a compact, foldable baby buggy or a foldable garment bag, or two items in Business or First Class.
Dimensions for the carry on baggage must not exceed 55 x 40 x 23cm and foldable garment bags must be no bigger than 57 x 54 x 15cm. All class types are entitled to 8kg of cabin baggage.
All passengers are entitled to another small item of baggage (max. 30 x 40 x 10cm) such as a handbag or a laptop bag.
There are a few minor variations with TUI, depending on whether you’re solely flying with TUI, or if you’ve booked a package holiday with them.
All passengers can take 1 piece of hand luggage per person (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg and with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm on a TUI Airways flight. Dissimilar to other airlines, things such as laptops, handbags and items bought at the airport must fit within your one piece of hand luggage.
You are permitted to bring a Trunki case as hand luggage, as long as it weighs no more than 10kg.
If you're flying with TUI Airways, you can take a pushchair for infants under 2 years old, for free. And if your flight is part of a package holiday, under-2s will also have a check-in luggage allowance of 10kg.
All ticket types with Virgin Atlantic come with a free hand baggage allowance, and most include a free checked in bag allowance too. Economy Light is the exception to the rule, as it doesn't include a checked bag.
All cabin bags must be a maximum of 56 x 36 x 23cm. Passengers flying Economy or Premium cabins can take one piece of hand luggage per person weighing up to 10kg. Those flying Upper Class are permitted to take up to two pieces of hand luggage per person, weighing up to 12kg for one bag, or 16kg combined weight.
Babies and toddlers aged 0-23 months are entitled to one bag each weighing up to 6kg (or 13lb). Any children aged 2+ years are entitled to the same amount of hand baggage as an adult in the cabin allowances shown above.
Your cabin baggage allowance when flying KLM depends solely on your class type. Those flying economy are entitled to one item of hand baggage, max 55 x 35 x 25cm and must weigh no more than 12kg. You’re also permitted to carry another small bag, max 40 x 30 x 15cm.
Business-class passengers are allowed 2 items of hand baggage which in total can weigh up to 18kg. A small bag of the same size as above is permitted also.
Always double check baggage allowances for your airline before you fly, just in case anything changes.
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