/ Travel & Leisure

Is Easyjet’s ‘cabin bag guarantee’ really guaranteed?

easyJet plane

When is a guarantee not a guarantee? In the case of Easyjet’s cabin bag guarantee, it’s when the airport departure gate staff ignore it. Has Easyjet put your cabin baggage in the hold?

Easyjet has offered the guarantee to all cabin bags measuring no more than 50 x 40 x 20cm since July last year. All of these petite carriers are supposed to be allowed into overhead lockers, or under the seat in front, no matter how packed the flight.

As the airline puts it: ‘Our cabin bag guarantee means you can make sure your bag travels with you in the cabin, even on the busiest flights.’

The idea is that the maximum cabin bag size remains at 56 x 45 x 25cm, but if space gets tight the larger bags will be put in the hold while anyone with bags meeting the guaranteed size (50 x 40 x 20cm) will be allowed to keep them.

Putting my bag in the hold

So when I showed up at Stansted for a busy flight to Spain this Easter I was confident I’d be keeping hold of my cabin bag, which I knew met the guaranteed size.

Yet I was taken aback at the departure gate when I was told I’d have to put my bag in the hold because it was too big. Annoyed, I pointed out it met the guarantee, and was immediately waved through.

It was a brief victory because as we approached the aircraft I saw people in front of me being told to give up cabin bags that were far smaller than mine. I began to worry that my bag and I were soon to be parted.

And sure enough I was told to leave my bag at the aircraft entrance as it had to go in the hold. I don’t like to cause a fuss, but a guarantee is guarantee, so again I stated it met those sizes. And again, there was no quibbling; I was allowed to keep my bag.

But if I hadn’t known about the guarantee, my bag would have been down in the hold, worrying me because it had cameras, tablets and other breakables that I wanted to keep close.

Easyjet stands by its guarantee

Once home, I asked Easyjet if the guarantee was in fact worthless, and the company insisted it still stood but ground staff had not followed the correct process for my flight.

What they should have done was to use a gauge to measure bags before telling passengers to give them up. So the guarantee is there, but only if ground staff remember to offer it correctly.

The lesson? Stand your ground if you know your bag meets the guaranteed size. Don’t be pushed into giving it up.

A guarantee is a guarantee, and Easyjet HQ is standing by it, even if some airport staff don’t.


I think it would take a lot of the annoyance and uncertainty out of the system if all airlines enforced their cabin bag dimension rules at all times at the check-in desk. In the first place the airlines need to see just how many cabin bags conforming to their existing rules can be stowed safely in the overhead lockers – I suspect there is not enough capacity on some airlines with a full passenger complement [because they have reduced the seating pitch] and they will need to down-scale the permitted sizes.


Are you seriously suggesting that every passenger should have to visit a check-in desk? Most passengers, particularly on budget airlines like Easyjet, check in online or increasingly via mobile apps which display boarding passes. Clogging up check-in desks with passengers without hold baggage, just for a cabin baggage size check, would be absurd. Most airlines, particularly budget airlines, already carry out cabin baggage size checks at the gate. I’m not sure what you are suggesting should change.

On busy flights, Easyjet could easily entice passengers to volunteer to put their cabin baggage in the hold. Free in-flight drinks for such volunteers would be such an incentive. Easyjet could manage this in such a way that everyone is happy with the outcome. Offering incentives is good customer service; confronting compliant passengers (as happened above) is very poor.

David Judge says:
11 July 2014

In Geneva (flying Easyjet back to the UK in June 2014) I have seen ground staff offering speedy boarding at no cost in exchange for putting carry-ons in the hold. I think the offer was made to the large carry ons rather than those meeting the size for the guarantee.

GJO says:
11 July 2014

I, too, observed fellow passengers at Zurich Airport with the larger sized carry-on bags being persuaded at the Departure Gate to exchange them for Speedy Boarding. I am fairly convinced that some passengers were allowed into the cabin on the same flight with oversized bags, so bulky were they. This makes no sense at all.
I have more than once responded to EasyJet’s customer surveys, also saying that I now conform to the smaller standard sized bag, as I always carry camera and tech equipment which could be in danger of being damaged or stolen in the later handling of hold baggage.

Vibe says:
12 July 2014

My husband and I was recently told at an Easyjet fly to Nice that we could not take our bags on board. We didn’t accept this as far as my husband’s bag was concerned as it is within the new guidelines. Easyjet then immediately reversed their demand. My bag is bigger, so no fuss about this not being allowed in the cabin this time (it often is, though).


I always travel with a correct size bag on Easyjet, but I am amazed by the size of some of the bags and rucksacks that are allowed into the cabin. It is obvious that some of these are well over the permitted size and are ignored by ground and cabin staff – why ?


I appreciate the points NFH made above in response to my opening comment. I have very little experience of budget airlines but I can see that it would not be helpful to impose compulsory attendance at a staffed check-in for a cabin baggage compliance examination as the additional costs would negate the price advantage of travelling budget-style.

Various commenters have made the point that they need to take valuable, sensitive or fragile articles with them on board the aeroplane to protect them against handling damage. That is a reasonable requirement but I should be surprised if the per passenger allowance of one conforming piece of baggage in the overhead locker and one small bag under the seat in front is not sufficient for that purpose nearly all of the time. Passengers sitting adjacent to the emergency escape doors have to put all of their baggage in the overhead lockers on take-off and landing but there never seems to be any aditional space for that in those positions.

I would suggest that the point at which to check that cabin baggage conforms to the size restrictions is at the security check – well before the boarding gate. It seems to me that the oversize cases are one cause of the lengthy queuing problem as they take so much longer to pass through the scanner and often require a repass or further manual examination.

Al Minar says:
17 July 2014

There is always a baggage size check at the boarding gate on Ryanair. So what’s the problem with Easyjet. The kinder caring Ryanair has relaxed this and some travellers really take the biscuit with the stuff they take onboard as cabin baggage. Give an inch…….and those complying are penalised.

MJ says:
14 July 2014

I use Rufus Roo wearable luggage for iPad ,camera, items of value and any tablets plus other items that I choose. Then the correct sized bag can then go in the cabin or even in the hold if required without fear of significant loss or damage by ground staff handling.