Overview of the UK budget airline baggage scenario
Airline baggage charges and allowances vary widely between UK budget carriers, some of which are more generous than others in what they provide. The allowances we consider to be especially miserly are highlighted in red.
Experience demonstrates that some UK budget airlines are more rigorous than others in enforcing baggage rules. Ryanair and Jet2, in particular, are harsher than, for example, Monarch and Easyjet. We once spotted Jet2 check-in staff weighing a passenger’s passport and house keys, and a toddler’s die cast cars! However, as baggage rules tend to be applied in an annoyingly arbitrary manner, it can be down to the check-in assistant you encounter at the time. Woe betide passengers who find themselves standing in front of the new recruit who wants to prove they can enforce baggage rules… in that scenario, the scales of justice don’t weigh into it!
Before departure, we advise passengers to check their bags with their own luggage scales (these can be bought cheaply in discount stores or on eBay) to ensure that they don’t exceed the permitted weight. Also, make sure the size of your particular cabin bag is accepted by the carrier, as the dimensions certainly aren’t uniform. Remember that check-in staff may be on commission for charging excess fees for ‘borderline’ bags and their scales may not have been calibrated anyway and may err on the side of the airline! Some carriers will charge £50 for checking a cabin bag that is too heavy or large into the hold, especially if they spot the ‘borderline’ bag at the gate.
The ‘safest’ size of cabin bag for flying with most carriers is 55 x 40 x 20cm. Note that Flybe’s allowed size is smaller, at 50 x 35 x 23cm (probably because the planes and, hence, their luggage racks are smaller). Unless you actively enjoy forcing your cabin bag into a test cage it doesn’t fit, don’t pack the kitchen sink in there with your laptop (forcing it might break the laptop anyway!). And remember, if you’re flying with Thomson Airways, your bag might hold 10kg but you’re only allowed 5kg.
Hand baggage allowances
|Carrier||Allowed weight||Permitted dimensions||Cost for checking non-compliant bag into hold||More info|
|Aer Lingus||10kg||55cm x 40cm x 20cm||Airport check-in fee not published||Aer Lingus fees page|
|Easyjet||No weight restriction applies but you must be able to place the bag in the overhead lockers without assistance.||56 x 45 x 25cm||£25 if apprehended at check in; £40 if at the gate||Easyjet's baggage allowances page |
and fees page
|Flybe||10kg||50 x 35 x 23cm||£30 / 40 Euros (note the unrealistic exchange rate)||Flybe baggage rules|
and tariff page
|Jet2||10kg||56 x 45 x 25cm||£30||Jet2's baggage FAQ|
|Monarch Airlines||10kg||One piece of hand baggage no bigger than 56 x 40 x 25cm and no heavier than 10 kilos, plus a small duty free bag from the departure airport.|
Two separate pieces of hand baggage, as long as the combined size is no bigger than 56 x 40 x 25cm and the combined weight no heavier than 10 kilos, plus a small duty free bag from the departure airport.
|£50 / 60 Euros if apprehended at the gate||Monarch's baggage FAQ|
|Ryanair||10kg||55cm x 40cm x 20cm||£40||Ryanair's fees|
|Thomson Airways||5kg||55cm x 40cm x 20cm||Not published||Thomson's luggage FAQ|
|Wizzair||Two sizes: "small" cabin bag free of charge or "large cabin bag" costing 10 Euros||Small cabin bag: 42 x 32 x 25cm Large cabin bag: 56 x 45 x 25cm||£26 if apprehended at check-in; £52 if at the gate.||Wizzair's baggage page |
and Service fees page
Charges for hold bags and other checked items
|Carrier||Hold bag, booked online, per sector||Allowed weight||Excess charge at airport per kg||Infant equipment carriage., per sector||Sporting equipment carriage, per sector|
|Aer Lingus||£12 / 15 Euros (£18 / 20 Euros for flights out of Dublin) short-haul|
£45 / 50 Euros long-haul
|20kg||£12||“A fully collapsible push-chair is allowed free of charge for an infant booking only. All other baggage must be included in the accompanying adult’s baggage allowance.”||30-40 Euros per item. Max weight of 15kg.|
|Easyjet||£9-16, depending on route||20kg||£10||Two baby items (from a selection that could include pushchair. car seat, back carrier, travel cot) carried free of charge.||£25 per item|
|Flybe||'Essentials fare' - 'New Economy' includes a 20kg hold bag: 15kg - £11.99 20kg - £13.99 23kg - £30.99 40kg (in two bags) - £43.99||Different options available||Up to 3kg - £12|
4-6kg - £15
more than 6kg, £20
|Passengers may carry, free of charge, one pushchair or pram and one car seat for each child or infant.||£30 per item (can't be booked online)|
|Jet2||£14.99 for one way flight (the price increases to £16.49 per sector or £32 for whole trip when booked as a return flight)||22kg||£12 per kg||Collapsible pushchairs/buggies or children's car seats up to a total maximum weight of 10kg (for both items) carried free of charge for any infant or child on the booking.||£25 per item|
|Monarch Airlines||£11.99 (14.99 Euros) to £18.99 (23.99 Euros), according to route||20kg||£10||An adult travelling with an infant, who has paid for a checked bag, receives an extra 10kg allowance. The pushchair is carried free of charge.Travel cots are weighed as part of the free 10kg infant allowance.||£19.99 per item|
1st bag, 15kg: £15-30
1st bag, 20kg: £25-30
2nd bag, 15kg: £35-40
1st bag, 15kg: £25-£30,
1st bag, 20kg: £35-40,
2nd bag, 15kg: £45-50
* The higher price stated is for International Canary Islands, International Greek and International Cyprus routes.
|Different options available||£20||£10 per item if booked online but £20 if you turn up at the airport with it.||£50 per item (also applies to musical instruments)|
|Thomson Airways||£10 one way short haul|
£12.50 one way medium haul
£20 one way long haul
|20kg||£10 short haul|
£15 long haul
|Pushchairs and car seats carried free of charge. Cots form part of the hold baggage allowance.|
|Wizzair||15 Euro for flights under 2hrs, low season |
20 Euro for flights over 2hrs, low season
20 Euros for flights under 2hrs, peak season
25 Euros for flights over 2hrs, peak season
|15kg (extra weight can be bought at quite a high extra cost)||£9 / 10 Euro||Infant's pushchair is carried free of charge.||£26 per item|
*Fees are per item per sector, unless otherwise stated. All information correct as of April 17, 2012.