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Apr 08 2013

The Hand Luggage Saga: Baggage

Baggage, hand luggage

The hand luggage saga continues.  Previously, I wrote about liquids and this time it’s the baggage itself.

When airlines say they can’t guarantee to fit all baggage in the cabin, they mean it.  I didn’t realise that until I was getting on an Easyjet flight from Berlin to London.  As I was boarding the plane, the man in front started quizzing a member of the cabin crew who was greeting passengers as they boarded.  Apparently, his carry-on luggage had been put in the hold along with a number of other passengers because they had reached capacity for cabin luggage.  As more and more people travel with hand luggage, the chance of this happening, particularly in peak season, is bound to increase.  So, as they suggest, get to the gate early to make sure you can keep your hand luggage in the cabin.  If not, it will be placed in the hold.

If you are carrying more than one piece of hand luggage, at some point, you will be asked to put the smaller piece inside the larger piece of luggage to prove that it still fits within the specified maximum dimensions by putting it in one of the baggage gauges (the frames) they have dotted about the airports.  That includes laptops and handbags.  The ground staff are definitely getting stricter with hand luggage because, as I went to go through to the departure lounge, I had my laptop out ready to be scanned.  However, I was asked to put it in my suitcase to show that it was still within the maximum dimensions by placing it in a baggage gauge.  Once I proved that, it was tagged with a sticker to show other Easyjet staff that it had been checked.

It’s really important to check the maximum dimensions for the airline you are flying with to avoid being charged extra to put it in the hold when you reach the airport.  It can be really costly otherwise.  At the Easyjet check-in desk, any extra hand luggage will be charged at £25 per item.  If you get to the boarding gate with too many items of hand luggage, you will be charged £40 per item to check them into the hold.  I always get my tape measure out, just to make sure it hasn’t exceeded the maximum dimensions, which for Easyjet as of March 2013, is 56 x 45 x 25cm including wheels.  There is no weight restriction with Easyjet.

If you are flying with Ryanair, your hand luggage can’t be any bigger than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, and weigh no more than 10kg.  It it exceeds this, you will have to put it in the hold.  Purchased at the airport, checked-in luggage can cost anything from £60/60€ up to a whopping £140/140€.  If you get to the boarding gate with too many items, you will be charged £50/50€ + VAT on certain routes per item to check them into the hold.

If you can’t fit everything you want into the maximum dimensions specified for the airline, save yourself some money and stress by checking-in the luggage online.

Have your say

I’d love to hear from you if you have any stories or advice about carry-on luggage so please comment below.

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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