In my last post I wrote about the excruciating pain of losing your luggage, or more precisely the airline losing your luggage. One of the best solutions to this age old problem is to not trust the airline with you bag and carry it yourself. Packing hand baggage not only reduces the risk of your bag going missing in transit but it also means you don’t have to wait at the baggage return.
Taking only hand baggage can be a bit of a ‘carry-on’ in itself. Airlines set strict limits on how much you can take into the cabin with you. I can understand. The overhead lockers aren’t massive and in the event of an emergency who wants the aisles blocked by giant suitcases?
If you want to avoid checking bags in, it’s worth knowing how much you can carry on before you pack. So which airlines are the most generous and which are the meanest when it comes to hand baggage allowance?
The following table, summarises current hand baggage allowances for the major European airlines. It's ranked from most generous (Iberia) down to meanest (Flybe) and based on standard fares. Certain airlines will increase allowance depending on the grade of ticket.
|Airline||Max bag dimensions (cm)||Weight allowance|
|Iberia||56 x 45 x 25||Unlimited|
|British Airways||57 x 45 x 25||23 kg|
|Jet 2||58 x 45 x 25||10 kg|
|Easyjet||50 x 45 x 25||Unlimited|
|Monarch||56 x 40 x 25||10 kg|
|Norwegian||55x 40 x 23||10 kg|
|Lufthansa||55x 40 x 24||8 kg|
|Scandinavian (SAS)||55x 40 x 25||8 kg|
|Air France||55 x 35 x 25||12 kg|
|KLM||56 x 35 x 25||12 kg|
|Virgin Atlantic||56 x 36 x 23||10kg|
|Ryanair||55 x 40 x 20||10 kg|
|Air Berlin||56 x 40 x 20||8 kg|
|German Wings||57 x 40 x 20||8 kg|
|Thomas Cook||58 x 40 x 20||5 kg|
|Thomson||59 x 40 x 20||5 kg|
|Flybe||55 x 35 x 20||10 kg|
Iberia is by far the most generous...Flybe, Thomas Cook and Thomson the meanest.
Iberia is the most generous, allowing 63 litres and unlimited weight. That said, British Airways isn't exactly sting...BA allows the same volume as Iberia but limits bags to 23kg; which is still massive. So unless you're carrying bricks you should be okay.
Flybe has the smallest volume but a 10kg limit...Thomas Cook and Thomson ever slight bigger volume allowance but a really mean 5kg weight limit.
It is worth noting that these figures have been taken from the respective airlines' websites and are subject to change. I was caught out by Flybe when the reduced their allowances a few years ago. Some airlines allow extra laptop and hand bags, but be careful some will combine them with your other case as part of your allowance.
Finally, here's a thought for you. If you really have to take a lot with you on your next flight and don't want to check it why not invest in a wearable suitcase, for example the Stuffa Jacket (www.stuffa.co.uk). These amazingly ingenious (and bizarre) items of clothing house oversized pockets into which you can stuff your entire wardrobe. As far I know the airlines haven't got any limits...you may beat the airlines but may risk being arrested by the fashion police.