easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air are the largest and the most popular low-cost carriers in Europe, and travelers who have visited the continent are quite familiar with them.
Each of these low-cost giants stack up against each other based on various factors including their fleet, route network, free baggage allowance, and onboard service. We will take a look at their slightly different rules on hand luggage allowance in the following article.
When passengers are traveling with a low cost carrier, they must especially be very mindful about their hand luggage allowance. These budget airlines charge extra for checking in an extra bag, selecting your seat, or having something to eat and drink on board as these are the key source of ancillary revenue for the airlines.
With tickets as low as $28, passengers are either happy to let go of these benefits for their flights or are ready to pay extra for the services that they require.
Moving on, it is worth noting that there are also some ultra-low-cost carriers that require passengers to even pay for carrying a full-sized carry-on bag on board.
Carrying a small personal item that can be stored under the seat in front of you such as a handbag or laptop bag is allowed for free, but in case you want to take a larger carry on bag on board that will fit in the overhead locker, you will need to pay extra for it.
Keeping this in mind, let’s move on and see how the rules carry on luggage differ between Europe’s three low-cost giants: easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air hand luggage comparison
Starting with the Luton-headquartered orange-clad carrier, easyJet offers the largest free hand luggage allowance of Europe’s three major low-cost carriers.
All passengers are allowed to carry one small personal bag onboard for no charge, with its dimensions measuring up to maximum size of 45 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm. These measurements include aspects like the bag’s handles and, if applicable, its wheels.
In terms of weight, it is allowed to weigh up to 15 kg. To avoid the demand for the overhead lockers exceeding the space available, the airline asks the passengers to place their free carry on baggage under the seat in front of them.
In case passengers want to carry more hand luggage onboard, the airline charges a supplementary fee to add a second, large cabin bag to the booking. These cabin bags are to be stored in the plane’s overhead locker and can measure 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm, with the maximum weight once again being 15 kg.
Moving on to the extra fee, easyJet charges $21 for additional carry-on bags for both long and short route flights and also includes priority boarding and a choice of premium seat, which could mean an extra legroom seat. These prices are quite high even for the shortest flight and passengers need to pay to select the most expensive seats on the plane if they want to take a full-sized carry-on bag onboard.
The Irish low-cost giant allows passengers to bring one free cabin bag with them, whose dimensions are not to exceed 40 cm x 25 cm x 20 cm.
Compared to easyJet’s allowance, this is a significant reduction in terms of volume as these dimensions multiply to make a capacity of 20 liters while easyJet’s aforementioned free bag dimensions yield a volume of 32.4 liters, representing over 60% more capacity.
If passengers want to carry more than one bag, they have the option to add a second cabin bag to their booking which also includes priority boarding, with the dimensions for this bag measuring 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm.
The cost of adding a second bag depends on the flight in question, with $8 for a short route flight and up to $14 for a long route. These prices are by far the lowest and will keep your costs down even on its longest routes. Before 2018, small suitcases used to be free but then this changed with excessive demand for overhead lockers playing a role.
Also, be mindful that Ryanair have announced a possible increase of their fares, so their luggage policy might also rise in cost.
The Hungarian carrier Wizz Air’s measurements for free cabin bag are 40 x 30 x 20 cm, slightly larger than those of Ryanair and giving passengers a capacity of 24 liters. These measurements don’t include the hand baggage wheels or handles. However, the airline does state that “wheels must add no more than 5 cm to the size of the bag.”
Wizz Priority fares purchasers in addition to a small personal bag are also entitled to a second, larger cabin bag which is to be stored in the overhead compartments. This can be a small suitcase, with its measurements stretching to 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm.
The cost for adding this bag on a short route is $19, while for a long flight it is $32, and includes priority boarding.
The bottom line
With all three carriers, passengers receive priority boarding if they purchase a full-sized carry-on bag. This might seem like a great perk, but it is important to keep in mind that half the plane might have also purchased the same type of fare, so the priority boarding queue is likely to be quite long. So, priority boarding might sometimes be just a low cost carrier advertising policy or a part of airline marketing campaign.
Finally, if we take a look at the bags that can be easily carried and stored in the overhead lockers, the John Lewis Girona four-wheel cabin case has 55 x 35 x 20cm dimensions, making it suitable for taking it on board if you paid extra with Ryanair, Wizz Air and easyJet.
As a second option, passengers who have paid for Ryanair or Wizz Air priority boarding or easyJet carry-on luggage will be able to use Eastpak’s Morepack bag that measures 50 x 32 x 17cm.
When travelling with a low cost carrier it is always advised to check all cabin bag requirements prior to checking in at a check in desk to avoid unnecessary charges that might sour your travel experience.
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