/ Travel & Leisure

Flying with Easyjet – are new hand luggage restrictions fair?

An orange suitcase

Easyjet is changing its size restrictions for hand luggage as more travellers opt to avoid paying to check in a bag. Would you buy new luggage to fit the rules or take a chance on a bigger bag?

Recently EasyJet announced that from July 2, anyone travelling with hand luggage would need to make sure their bag meets the no-frills airline’s new cabin bag rules. The only way passengers will be able to guarantee their baggage is allowed in the cabin is for it to be no bigger than 50 x 40 x 20cm.

Travellers can still bring along luggage meeting the current size permitted – 56 x 45 x 25cm – but if the flight is busy, you could be asked to put your bag in the hold.

Why change the rules?

More travellers are choosing the cheaper option of flying with just hand luggage. EasyJet’s new size rules have been prompted by overhead locker space on flights becoming increasingly limited as a result.

I know that on a recent flight from Glasgow to London Gatwick, while sitting at the departure gate, volunteers were being asked to come forward and offer to put their bags in the hold. With a full flight, luggage space on board would be limited. It was a late flight on a Sunday night, and people were eager to get to connecting trains as soon as the plane landed. Very few passengers were coming forward.

From July 2, if an EasyJet flight is busy, only those with bags meeting the new size restrictions will be guaranteed to be stored in the cabin. That covers the overhead lockers as well as keeping your bag under the seat in front of you. Anyone else could risk having their bags taken from them and put in the hold – though not at any additional cost.

Will I buy a new suitcase?

I still need to measure my trusty suitcase. It’s the one that comes with me when I fly to Scotland to visit family at weekends and when I’m off on short city breaks to Europe. The suitcase has done me well over the years, it’s still in good nick, and I wasn’t planning to replace it any time soon.

That said, I regularly travel with EasyJet. If I do find myself having to wait at a baggage carousel to pick up my hand luggage, I may have to reconsider. When you travel on the last flight of the day and need to catch public transport to get you to your final destination, you don’t want to be wasting any time hanging around inside an airport.

EasyJet says that Delsey and Tesco sell bags that fit the new size rules, but the team at Which? Travel has not tested these. We have put three fitting suitcases through their paces from Flylite, Samsonite and Tripp, costing from £35 up to £108. A Best Buy bag is currently on offer at £50, which is a fairly good price.

But do I really want to buy a new case when there’s nothing wrong with my old one – other than not fitting the new EasyJet hand luggage rules?

[UPDATE 2 JULY 2013] – EasyJet’s new cabin baggage restrictions came into force today, meaning that only passengers with hand luggage no bigger than 50 x 40 x 20cm will definitely be able to keep their bag with them in the cabin.

Yet despite the new tighter restrictions, our latest research found that 40% of passengers will fly with a bag that fits EasyJet’s previous larger allowance, and risk having their bag put into the hold on busy flights.

M Yule says:
10 August 2014

Annoys me that on Easyjet I have the required new size for cabin luggage but I’m not allowed a small handbag . Travelling alone it’s difficult to have relevant paper work , passport and purse as there is no front pocket on front of case. Yet some people are struggling with the size of bags they get on the flight with.

Nick D says:
31 August 2014

I ALWAYS put my carry on bag (i never have a checked bag) under the seat in front – that way I can access it and get off the plane easily.

So these rules don’t make sense for me.

Barbara Williams says:
24 February 2015

I am getting the impression ,as long as your cabin bag is 50x40x20 there is no weight restriction is this correct !

Hi Barbara, you’re indeed correct – According to Easyjet’s official website, they’ve stated no weight limit on their cabin luggage 🙂 :


Hold that thought Barbara! – scrolling further down the page it states:

“No single piece of hold baggage can weigh more than 32kg, due to health and safety restrictions”.

Andrew – Your quotation from the Easyjet website refers to hold baggage, not cabin baggage which was the point of Barbara’s enquiry. It would appear that there is no weight limit on cabin baggage on Easyjet other than what the passenger can physically manage. I would suggest that the maximum weight that most adults could lift up into the overhead lockers is well under 20 kg [the weight of a DIY cement bag]. I have seen many worrying situations on planes as people struggle to get their bags in the lockers and further problems when people open the lockers mid-flight or on arrival. The budget airlines can get a speedier turn-round if the passengers handle most of the luggage themselves but this should not be at the risk of aircraft or passenger safety.

Barbara Williams says:
26 February 2015

Hi Andrew thanks for the information ,I am fine with that it’s only cabin bags I needed , will be sticking to the 20kg for the hold !

Good to hear Barbara 🙂 Off to any faraway, exotic locations?

Lesley Lloyd says:
12 April 2015

I bought a new case complying with the smaller measurements before flying from Stansted to Nice to make sure I could take it on board. Unfortunately the ground staff at the gate told me there were too many (larger size!) bags already on the plane so I would not be allowed to take mine on – and that there was no such thing as guaranteed carry on size. Clarification needed please.

The airlines are dodging this issue. They seem unwilling to enforce the restrictions they impose and they let people take oversize cabin luggage on board to the detriment of those with compliant bags. This also leads to difficulties in finding an overhead locker near your seat with enough space for your case. You will observe that the scramble at the boarding gate is often precipitated by those with the biggest bags and they get quite anxious on board the shuttle buses as they try to be the first off.

tony says:
31 August 2015

Is there any rule with easyjet that allows you to volunteer to put hand luggage in the hold just because you want to? i.e. if I want to take liquids to my destination?

You can put everything in the hold and take nothing onto the plane if you want to, but there might be a limit on the number of bags you can put in the hold, and there is also the overall weight restriction before punitive excess charges arise. Will you be submitting your question to easyjet? It would be interesting to see their response.

andrew quinn says:
1 September 2015

hi can anyone tell me can i put my camera in my hand luggage or should it goes to the hold,

There is no reason why your camera cannot go in your carry-on bag and that is the preferred method.

Check your camera’s operating instructions to see if there is a warning about sensitivity to x-rays [unlikely]. Modern digital cameras should be OK and the memory card will not be affected.

Some advanced cameras have a magnetic storage drive that could be affected by the powerful magnets used in the motors that drive the conveyor belts so check to see if there is a warning about magnetic fields.

If necessary, or if you are worried, ask to have your camera inspected manually at security.

Putting your camera in your hold baggage would not be as good as keeping it with you; your luggage goes through a scanner and on a long journey on conveyor belts and baggage wagons at each end of the journey so is at greater risk of damage.

Aileen Stewart says:
25 November 2019

Travelling to Spain with handluggage only. I have always taken a handbag too for passport purse Ted and put under seat is this still allowed??

That’s good article. Is anybody have Samsonite 55/20 (first one here https://www.bestadvisers.co.uk/cabin-luggage )? Is it handy?