/ 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.

Comments
Member

Of all the budget airlines, Easyjet has the most pragmatic approach to cabin baggage with no weight limit and practical size limits. Clearly its new rules are likewise intended to be practical rather than a revenue-generating mechanism. Nevertheless I’ll stick to flying on British Airways whenever possible as I really don’t want the stress of flying on a budget airline.

Member

Never flown on Easyjet but last year flew with Virgin Atlantic who have reduced the weight of their baggage allowance. What a nightmare.

We had just bought 2 new suitcases that we did not even consider to be a problem as they were between the sizes of the previous 2 cases (one larger, one smaller) we used.

At the check-ins, people had their bags open trying to make them lighter. It was perfectly ok to stuff your pockets with the extra weight just not put them in your baggage !!!

Member

It is sensible to have size limits on cabin bags. Once you have a suitable bag you can be sure that it will be acceptable. Airlines need to agree on a common standard for size limits.

Member

Agreed, and the European Commission is looking at a common standard. However, we also need a removal of limits (or sensible limits) on weight. It’s absurd that a 70kg passenger with a 15kg regulation-size case can’t travel but a 110kg passenger with a small 5kg case can. As Alfa points out above, if airlines impose weight limits on cabin baggage, passengers simply move items to their pockets. All airlines should adopt no weight limit (like Easyjet) or a weight limit that’s more than adequate (like 23kg on British Airways).

Airlines don’t handle the cabin baggage so there’s no good reason for them to restrict its weight. It makes no difference to an airline whether excess weight is carried as body fat, in the passenger’s pockets or in a regulation-size case.

Member

Sorry, I meant to make this point. If you are packing to return home after a holiday you might not be able to check the weight of your cabin bag, though its size will be the same as before unless it has been seriously over-fed.

Member

23kg is no problem on a 2 week summer holiday, but if you are going on an extended holiday where you need clothes for cold and heat, it is not enough and does not leave spare for any purchases.

They should remove these ridiculous weight limits.

Member

If you’re going on a two-week summer holiday or longer, then you’re more likely than not to have at least some hold baggage. We’re talking here about cabin baggage, and 23kg within regulation-size cabin baggage would only be some very dense material such as a lot of liquid.

Member

Sorry, lost the line of this comment. I was referring to 23 kg for hold allowance.