When planning your holiday, it’s vital to be clear about the baggage allowance you’re entitled to. This ensures you can pack efficiently and avoid hefty charges at check-in when you arrive at the airport.
We researched 10 of the most popular airlines in the UK to find out exactly what you’re entitled to before you lift off.
Ryanair allows one “small personal bag” per passenger in its cabins. This must fit under the seat in front of you and measure around 40cm x 20cm. To take more onboard you’ll have to pay from £7-27 (depending on route) for a Priority seat with two cabin bags – the second bag allowed can be a wheelie case up to 10kg. This must not exceed 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size.
You can also pay between £11 and £35 in advance to add a 10kg checked bag for the hold. There is no cabin bag allowance for an infant (aged 8 days to 23 months) travelling on an adult’s lap, but the airline does allow a baby bag weighing up to 5kg (dimensions: 45x35x20cms) per child.
Duty free bags are permitted in the cabin along with your cabin baggage. Of your “small personal bag”, Ryanair warns: “If a customer’s free small bag doesn’t fit in the bag sizer, the customer will have to pay a gate bag fee £45.99 and their bag will be tagged and placed in the aircraft hold and will be collected at the baggage belt in the destination.”
EasyJet passengers can take one bag on board as hand luggage. There’s no weight limit, but it must not exceed 45cm x 36cm x 20cm in size (including handles and wheels).
If you want to bring another cabin bag onboard, you have the option to buy an Upfront or Extra Legroom seat (from £7.99), if available, which include an extra cabin bag of 56 x 45 x 25 cm. Alternatively you can pay to bring a second cabin bag when booking or through Manage My Booking in advance of travel.
Each customer, including children and infants, can buy up to three hold bags. A standard hold bag is 23kg. No single item can weigh more than 32kg and the maximum total size (length + width + height) must be under 275cm.
Says easyJet: “If you’re unsure whether your cabin bag fits within our maximum dimensions, you can use our handy bag sizing tool on our app (iOS only).”
The free hand baggage allowance that British Airways offers varies depending on your destination.
Broadly speaking, passengers are allowed one handbag or laptop bag not exceeding 40cm x 30cm x 15cm in size and 23kg in weight, plus one additional cabin bag not exceeding 56cm x 45cm x 25cm in size and 23kg in weight. Infants under two years old are allowed one cabin bag for items required during the flight, not exceeding 56cm x 45cm x 25cm in size and 23kg in weight.
Similar to cabin bags, the amount of hold luggage each passenger is entitled to varies depending on your destination and ticket type. A checked bag cannot exceed 90cm x 75cm x 43cm in size, including handles, pockets and wheels, and 23kg in weight. The weight limit applies to each bag and it’s not possible to split the total weight across multiple bags. Check what you’re entitled to in the “Manage My Booking” section of BA’s website.
Of flight legs that may be operated by a different (codeshare) airline, British Airways says: “Flying with a partner airline? Your hand baggage allowance may be different – please take a moment to check the airline’s baggage policy.”
On Jet2 flights passengers can take one piece of hand baggage on board at a maximum weight of 10kg and not exceeding 56cm x 45cm x 25cm in size, including any wheels and handles.
Says the airline: “You can also bring a small, personal item on board (such as a handbag, laptop bag or airport purchase), as long as it is placed underneath the seat in front of you.”
You can also pre-book “Guaranteed Cabin Luggage” for an extra charge – if you have purchased this service, you will not be asked to put your hand baggage in the hold.
Customers are also entitled to purchase up to three 22kg checked bags (£8-45 each depending on route) per person.
The baggage allowance available on Emirates flights varies depending on the class of travel, fare type and membership tier (if applicable). Economy Class passengers are permitted one piece of carry-on baggage not exceeding 55cm x 38cm x 20cm in size and 7kg in weight.
Economy Class customers can check in up to 32kg depending on the fare type, paying around £13-34 per bag dependent on route. Passengers in all three classes can check in up to 10 pieces of baggage as long as it stays within the checked weight limit for their cabin class.
Hand luggage is included as part of all Virgin Atlantic tickets. Depending on your fare type, you may be entitled to take more than just one bag.
Whichever class you’re in, the size of your bag must not exceed 23cm x 36cm x 56cm. For all economy types and Premium, that can weigh up to 10kg. For Upper class you can take two hand luggage bags of 12kg or one of 16kg. Parents of babies and toddlers aged 0-23 months are entitled to one extra bag per child weighing up to 6kg.
Of its three economy classes, “Economy Light” fares do not include a checked bag, while “Economy Classic” and “Delight” tickets do. This can be up to 90 x 75 x 43cm in size and weigh up to 23kg. Premium and Upper Class passengers are entitled to more.
The airline says: “If you’re travelling with other people, you can’t combine your luggage allowance, so you’ll need separate cases for each person that fit within the allowance.”
All Flybe passengers are entitled to one standard cabin bag not exceeding 45cm x 36cm x 20cm in size, including wheels and handles, and weighing up to 7kg. This should fit under the seat in front of you.
Any other luggage comes with a more expensive “bundle”. To check in a 15kg bag, you can purchase the flybe Smart Bundle, while the Plus Bundle comes with a 23kg checked bag. Each single bag in the hold should weigh 32kg or less. Or you can pay from £15 to add a 15kg checked bag to your booking; 23kgs costs £20.
It also offers a “valet bag” service, which allows you to leave and collect a 12kg bag from the aircraft steps which means you can skip baggage reclaim on arrival, and get priority boarding.
Economy Class customers flying with Qatar are allowed to carry one piece of cabin baggage not exceeding 7kg. Checked baggage varies depending on destination and fare type, but must not exceed 158cm in combined length + width + height, or weigh more than 32kg.
Economy passengers flying with Qantas are entitled to a single cabin bag weighing no more than 10kg per piece or two weighing up to 14kg, although your entitlement depends upon your ticket type. This could be one 10kg bag sized at 56cm x 36cm x 23cm, or two pieces of 48cm x 34cm x 23cm, weighing no more than 10kg each and 14kg total. Qantas has handy diagrams on its website showing you how you could distribute this allowance. On flights from Delhi, India, the economy weight limit is 7kg.
The airline says: “For infants, there is no carry-on baggage allowance. Food and nappies required during a flight may be carried in addition to the accompanying adult’s carry-on baggage allowance.”
Economy passengers on international flights (excluding North and South America) are entitled to 30kg of hold luggage, not exceeding 158cm in size, while premium and business passengers get 40kg. No single piece can exceed 32kg; while total dimensions for each piece must not exceed 158cm.