/ 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.

P Davies says:
14 July 2014

I was asked if my “guarantee bag” could be put in the hold and I politely refused and they had noticed that I was not carrying a handbag (which was INSIDE my bag). Their terms specifically say that you cannot carry both separate and yet staff were allowing this to happen.

The lockers do accommodate one bag for each passenger if passengers follow the request to place the baggage wheels first.

May be those with smaller baggage should be let through the gate first.

Lorne Bell says:
15 July 2014

For 10 years or more I have carried 2 tennis racquets on Easyjet to Palma. Last November I w as stopped as I left Palma and my racquets were confiscated. They were a couple of inches too long to fit in the baggage measure. I had put my credit cards in my checked bag! To add insult to injury my checked bag was lost and returned 5 days later, damaged! The bag was repaired but the racquets remained in Mallorca. I had a polite letter in reply to my complaint.

June Mc Clinton says:
17 July 2014

I have read through all the emails sent and agree with quite a number.
I am a frequent traveller on Easyjet both from Belfast to London Gatwick, and on to Sharm el Sheikh. I find it an excellent airline, and will continue to travel this way.
I do feel sorry for the airline staff, when they have passengers arriving with very much overweight plastic bags, with too much stuffed into them, and with rucksacks overfilled, and too large!!
There does need to be a better solution at the departure gate, so that those who do not adhere to the rules, will have their oversized baggage put in the hold.

I flew with Easyjet last weekend – and encountered its new rules for different size bags for the first time. On the flight back all passengers were warned that, since the flight was full, some bags would have to be placed in the hold.

So at the departure gate, all passengers had to queue up and demonstrate which bag size (guaranteed or not) their hand luggage was to Easyjet staff (using a metal baggage measure). Those that were not the ‘guaranteed’ size were marked and some went in the hold. Those who were carrying multiple bags had to combine them. It seemed quite a fair process and all passengers were pretty patient but it was very time-consuming (took approx. 30 mins) and must be frustrating for the staff!

I fly regularly with easyJet and have never had a problem with cabin baggage in the past. I was a bit worried when the guaranteed size was reduced since my holidays are usually walking ones and I use my day pack for the cabin rather than take 2 bags. I admit that, when full, it is about an inch longer than the maximum, but nowhere near as big as many I see. I would have no objection to it being put in the hold if necessary. Just in case, I now have a small handbag inside which I can remove and take on the flight if me and my full carry-on are rejected. It hasn’t happened yet.

Surely online check in is a misnomer anyway? I always thought the idea of check in was to issue your boarding pass knowing you were at least at the airport. If you check in online a week before flying, you’re not there at all and may never get there. How does the airline know if you have even turned up until they are calling out your name for final boarding and you don’t arrive? Are you there, not there, in a traffic jam, ill at home or worse? Doesn’t make sense to me!

As of March 19, the guarantee has been withdrawn.


The way to have a better chance of getting your bag in the cabin is “Arrive early at gate to put your cabin bag in overhead locker”. Of course, what they mean is: “Pay extra for Speedy Boading or easyJet Plus so that you will be in the first lot of passengers allowed onto the plane”.

One strategy that might help to get a bag on board is to book seats towards the rear of the plane – low-numbered rows are always much more popular than high-numbered ones, so if there is any space it will probably be at the rear of the overheads.

In any case, it seems all easyJet passengers should pack their carry-on bag carefully just in case it is put in the hold (beware of getting your zip-bag of toiletries squashed!) Also, make sure you have a way of extracting “wanted on flight” items from that bag quickly and easily.

No doubt easyJet have a declared policy of “continually upgrading and improving the customer experience” (and I’ve been a very satisfied customer of easyJet for several years), but in at least some respects they are just one more company engaging in a battle of wits with customers to maximise revenue while minimising the extent to which the customer is annoyed or angered by “gotchas”, extras, or the effect of small-print “terms and conditions”.

Oh, and my thanks to MJ for the mention of Rufus Roo, as I’d never heard of them before. Not cheap, but I’m certainly going to look very carefully at what they offer. (For winter travelling, my Berghaus walking jacket has several capacious pockets, but in summer it would be inconveniently bulky.)


The “blank out any hyperlink” demon strikes again.

support dot easyjet dot com slash case dash 5832

Type into your browser address bar, replacing dot, slash and dash with punctuation, and eliminating spaces.