Hand Luggage Allowance Information And Guide

What Is ‘Hand Luggage Allowance’

Rules And Regulations

Hand Luggage Size And Hand Luggage Dimensions

Hand Luggage Weight Allowance Limit

What Is Included In Your Allowance

Ensuring Your Allowance Is Correct

Only One Bag Allowed

Hand Luggage Allowance Guide With The Low Cost Airlines 

What Is ‘Hand Luggage Allowance’

‘Hand Luggage’, is simply the luggage you take on board the plane

‘Hold Luggage’, is the luggage you check-in at the airport check-in desks that travels in the ‘Hold’ of the plane.

Basically, hand luggage allowance is the amount of hand luggage you are allowed to take on board the aircraft. This allowance is limited and can be restricted to both the size of your baggage and also the weight.

All hand luggage that is carried on board the plane will need to pass through the airport security scanners.

With the introduction of the low cost airlines and the ever increasing cost of checking-in hold luggage, more and more people are opting for the cheaper options of traveling light, with only their hand luggage.

Even some of the larger holiday companies have now started to charge an additional fee for check-in baggage. All these allowances and restriction only add to the frustration of booking your flight and then packing for your trip.

Surprisingly enough, it is amazing just how much you can fit in to your hand luggage and how such a small amount is actually adequate for your trip. However, despite this being the case, you still need to know how much hand luggage allowance you are allowed before you actually start packing!

Airline Hand Luggage Allowance Rules And Regulations

Although from 2010 the Department Of Transport no longer actually sets a maximum size restriction regarding hand luggage, all airlines have their own terms and conditions on hand luggage.

Unfortunately, there isn’t ‘one single’ rule that applies to all airlines regarding ‘hand luggage allowance’. If this was the case, it would make it far easier for passengers to understand, especially passengers that fly on a regular basis with many different airlines.

There really does seem to be a considerable amount of confusion regarding how much you can take on board the aircraft in terms of hand luggage’. Each Airlines’ ‘hand luggage allowance’ varies in both size dimensions and weight.

Some airlines allow you to take hand luggage on board FREE of charge, so long as you do not exceed a certain weight. Some airlines allow you to take hand luggage on board with no weight restriction, so long as your hand luggage does not exceed a certain size. Some airlines place restrictions on both size and weight, whilst other airlines do charge for hand luggage.

The bottom line is very simple. If you do not comply with the terms and conditions regarding ‘hand luggage allowance’ of the airline to which you are flying with, you will be charged a fee.

Hand Luggage Size And Hand Luggage Dimensions

As we have discussed earlier, each airline has their own policy with regards to hand luggage size. However, when looking at all the low cost airlines baggage allowance terms and conditions, it seems that the sizes vary from:

55 x 40 x 20cm


56 x 45 x 25cm

As you can see, 55 x 40 x 20cm seems to be the smallest dimensions and if you have a case that is no bigger than these dimensions, you should be ok with most airlines.

The measurements of 55 x 40 x 20cm are the guidelines to what most ‘cabin approved’ bags and suitcases are made to. If you buy one of these ‘Cabin Approved’ bags then you know that your bag will be ok and can travel with the that piece of mind. Cabin Approved Luggage 

Hand Luggage Weight Allowance Limit

Once again, the allowance regarding the weight of your hand luggage is solely down to each airlines’ discretion. The allowance varies between 5kgs and 15kgs depending on airline. However, most of the low cost airlines offer a hand luggage limit of 10kgs, whilst the holiday company airlines and other larger airlines only offer passengers a hand luggage allowance weight of just 5kgs.

One of the best ways to ensure you comply with the weight limit is to use on of the digital Luggage Weighing Scales that are designed specifically for hand luggage. Investing a small amount of money now for a pair of scales will save you ever having to pay excess baggage fees!

What Is Included In Hand Luggage Allowance

Most airlines allow passengers to take hand luggage on board the aircraft and this is normally included in the ticket price. However, most airlines do operate a very strict allowance policy involving baggage size and weight, which passenger must comply with.

Laptops and other electrical items must be carried in your hand luggage and any liquids you wish to carry must be no more than 100ml in size and carried in a transparent bag 20cm x 20cm. For more details on Hand luggage restrictions please click on the link: Hand Luggage Restrictions

Ensuring Your Hand Luggage Allowance Is Correct

The chances are, at some point before boarding your flight you may be required to measure your hand luggage, especially on the low cost airlines!

Even if you have paid for hold luggage and have checked-in, you may be asked to weigh your hand luggage or present your hand luggage to the check-in staff.

Hand Baggage AllowanceIf you are a regular flyer, you will no doubt have seen the chaos at airport departure gates, when passengers are required to measure their hand luggage. Passengers are asked by a member of the airline staff to place their hand luggage in the special measuring frame (baggage Gauge) to prove that their bags comply with the hand luggage allowance. It really is amazing and somewhat comical to see just how big some passengers hand luggage is and then seeing them trying to force it in the measuring frame container.

If you have never experienced this or simply do not know what I am talking about, I will explain. Basically, most of the low cost airlines have a special measuring facility located at each departure gate. I say facility but it is basically a frame that is the exact same dimensions as what your baggage should be and your hand luggage should be able to fit inside it!

If your hand luggage does not comply and fit inside this frame, you will be asked to either take some items out or you will be charged a check-in fee. At most airports, there are a couple of these ‘Baggage Gauge’ frames located in the departures area. It is always a good idea to place your bag in a ‘Baggage Gauge’ when you arrive at the airport just to make sure you comply with the regulations and allowance.

Tip: If you have to take items out, the easiest thing to do is simply take out items of clothes and wear them on the flight. I have seen numerous items being worn on flights by passengers after they have been removed from hand luggage and the most recent one I saw was a lady having to wear a towel! 

Only One Bag Allowed

When you travel with one of the low cost airlines that charge additional fees for hold luggage, you are only normally allowed one piece of hand luggage.

*However, some of the airlines such as Ryanair now allow you two bags so you can take on board your Duty Free in a separate bag.

If you buy any Duty Free or any other items at the airport, these will be classed as part of your ‘hand luggage allowance’ and must be carried in your hand luggage. You will not be able to carry 2 bags on board the aircraft.

If you are seen carrying 2 bags, you may be asked to put one inside your main hand luggage and if your hand luggage is already full to its maximum, you could find yourself in a bit of a tricky situation. If you intend buying any extra items at the airport, ensure you leave enough room in your hand luggage to accommodate the extra luggage.

For Example: i.e. Your hand luggage and a separate carrier bag with your bought items inside.

Hand Luggage Allowance Guide and Comparison Table For The Low Cost Airlines

To try and make it easier for you, we have included a list of the most popular low cost airlines and have provided a link to their ‘Hand Luggage Allowance’ page. This will allow you to quickly and easily check how much ‘hand luggage allowance’ you are allowed with each of the airlines to who you may be flying with.

Please Note: All the following hand luggage allowances for the low cost airlines listed were correct at the time of writing. However, these are subject to change and it is always advisable to check with the airline to which you are traveling with prior to flying. We have provided a link to the relevant page for each one of the airlines to make it as easy as possible for you to check.

I guess the easiest way to ensure that you comply with your airlines’ hand luggage allowance policy is to visit their webpage and double check the amount you are allowed to take on board.