Airline Hand Baggage Allowances

Airline Hand Baggage Allowances

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.

AirlineMax bag dimensions (cm)Weight allowance
Iberia56 x 45 x 25Unlimited
British Airways57 x 45 x 2523 kg
Jet 258 x 45 x 2510 kg
Easyjet50 x 45 x 25Unlimited
Monarch56 x 40 x 2510 kg
Norwegian55x 40 x 2310 kg
Lufthansa55x 40 x 248 kg
Scandinavian (SAS)55x 40 x 258 kg
Air France55 x 35 x 2512 kg
KLM56 x 35 x 2512 kg
Virgin Atlantic56 x 36 x 2310kg
Ryanair55 x 40 x 2010 kg
Air Berlin56 x 40 x 208 kg
German Wings57 x 40 x 208 kg
Thomas Cook58 x 40 x 205 kg
Thomson59 x 40 x 205 kg
Flybe55 x 35 x 2010 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 ( 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 may beat the airlines but may risk being arrested by the fashion police.

Happy travels,


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Posted by Mark Wisniewski @markcoolski

Mark Wisniewski @markcoolski
Mark is a co-founder of TripLinks and investor in renewable energy...well he's got to do something to offset all the flights he makes! In his spare time (although he doesn't have much being a dad to two boys) he likes to brew beer, watch F1 and take long walks – walking helps him think apparently. He seems to have an uncanny ability to inspire others to do the things they really want to do, for example his barber Tom wanted to move to Australia and after half hour haircut Tom decided he was going to look into it in more detail. Tom now lives in Adelaide and, rather annoyingly, no longer cuts Mark’s hair!

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