How to make sense of the Ryanair hand luggage rules

Most of the flights on my upcoming trip will be with Ryanair. Unfortunately, the day before I booked those flights they changed their luggage policy ‘to make it simpler to understand’. I can’t say they achieved their goal because my head was left spinning after trying to figure out the rules. In the end, I turned to Quora for help and managed to get great clarification from someone called Gary Collings.

“I fly with Ryanair four times a month on average so have seen the new policy in action quite a few times now. In a nutshell, you can take one large bag and one small bag with you onto the plane without paying for checked luggage, so long as they fit the following dimensions:

1x big bag at no more than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm including wheels – must be under 10kg of weight, although in my 150+ flights I have never seen a bag weighed at the gate.

1x small bag that must be able to fit under the seat in front of you, (35cm x 20cm x 20cm). Examples include a handbag, a laptop bag or small backpack.

However, if you do not wish to pay for priority boarding + 2 cabin bags (approx. £7), then you MAY have a tag put on your big bag at the gate and when you get to the airplane there will be some ground staff there with a trolley for you to put your big bag onto, so that they can put it in the hold for you free of charge. You can, however, keep still take your small bag into the cabin. Please make sure you take any lithium batteries out of your big bag if this happens.

So, pay priority boarding and 2 cabin bags = guaranteed to keep both your bags with you inside the cabin, avoiding the wait at the carousel on the other side

Do not pay the extra, and you may have to have the bag put in the hold free of charge. Despite what the cynics among us would say, Ryanair has done this primarily to free up space in the cabin, as there is not enough room in the overhead lockers for everyone to bring their entire allowance into the cabin.

One last thing, they only put tags on bags if the flight is nearly full, otherwise they do not bother. Also, in my experience, if you have just a rucksack and a small bag, they tend to ignore you and go for the people who have those annoying little suitcases on wheels.”

Thanks, Gary!

But wait, there’s more! Literally, the day after Gary answered my question the BBC published this headline: Ryanair brings in new rules on cabin bags

So Gary’s advice is only valid until November 2018:

“From November, passengers will still be allowed to take one “small personal bag” into the cabin, as long as it will fit under the seat in front.

But they will have to pay £6 if they also want to take a 10kg bag, such as a pull-along suitcase, on board.

And they’ll still have to pay up to £10 if they want to check that bag into the hold instead.

Under the new policy only 95 passengers per flight – around half of the total – will be permitted to pay for the right to take the extra bag on board.

Other travellers will have to pay £8 to £10 for their 10kg bag to go into the hold. Larger checked-in luggage will still cost £25 per bag.

From November, if passengers turn up at the boarding gate with more than the 20 litre carry-on bag but haven’t paid for the priority boarding status, the bag will be placed in the hold at a charge of £25.”

Confused? Me too! Erm…back to you Gary!


Credit: Photo by Lucas Davies on Unsplash

Sources: Quora & BBC

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