Booking budget flights can be a nightmare! What looks like a £50 flight suddenly costs £110 by the time you’ve added “extras” like booked seats and a suitcase. And that leaves you wondering if you should have taken a different option. Alternatively, you may have booked a flight and you just want to know what the luggage allowance is. Read on…

And then there are all the different rules around what bags you can take into the cabin, and what size and weight they can be!

Finally, we have a definitive list of what luggage allowance you get in the standard fare, what you can get in terms of extras and how much each of them costs.

They do vary from flight to flight, but we’ve used a standard flight from London to Tenerife as a benchmark, so the comparison is fair, and we’ll endeavour to keep this up to date as things change.

Ryanair

Non Priority Boarding Customers

Customers without priority boarding are only be allowed to bring one small bag into the cabin and it must fit under the seat in front of you. The maximum size is 40X20X25 CM. Note this is one bag only, so if you also carry a handbag, it will have to fit inside that one. If you want to take a wheelie bag bigger than those dimensions, you will need to either upgrade to priority or pay to have it put in the hold.

If you want to take a normal 10KG wheelie bag you can add that to your booking at £8 at the time of booking or £10 afterwards. It will be taken off you at check in, placed in the hold of the aircraft and you will collect it with other luggage in the baggage hall.

Priority Boarding Customers

As well as the small 40X20X25 bag, customers with priority boarding will be allowed to bring an additional 10KG wheelie case, and a further small bag, like a handbag, into the cabin.

Priority boarding costs £6 at the time of booking, and £8 afterwards. It’s worth noting that Ryanair only allow up to a maximum of 90 people to have priority boarding on their 180 seat 737’s.

Extras

Reserved seats start at £7 per journey

Priority Boarding starts at £6 per journey

Hold suitcases start at £25 per journey and you can have up to three per passenger.

easyJet

easyJet have limited their hand luggage policy to those passengers pre booking allocated seats up front or with extra legroom, and easyJet Plus cardholders. For these passengers a small suitcase sized 56cmX45cmX25cm without a weight limit is allowed, although you must be able to lift it into the overhead locker.

For all other passengers they can take a small bag to fit under the seat in front, with maximum size 45 x 36 x 20 cm.

It’s worth noting that easyJet Holidays clients can usually only add allocated seating at 30 days prior to departure when check in opens.

Extras

Reserved seats start at £4.99 each journey

You can only get speedy boarding with the more expensive “up front” seats which start at £20.49 per journey

Hold suitcases are £28.49 per journey for 15KG, £32.24 for 23 KG and £44.24 for 26KG

Note: Easyjet offer a “flexi” fare, which includes all of the above and adds fast track security and a €7 on  board bistro voucher.

Jet 2

Jet 2 allows you to bring one piece of luggage into the aircraft – it must weigh less than 10KG and the maximum size is 56cmX45cmX25cm.

Passengers are allowed a small second piece of hand luggage “Where possible,” such as a hand bag, but it’s not guaranteed that you will be able to store it on the overhead lockers.

Extras

Jet 2’s standard suitcase weight is generous at 22KG, and passengers can take up to three cases.

Prices are typically £28 per journey.

Reserved seats start at £10 for a standard seat and £26.50 per journey for an extra legroom seat.

Pre reserved hot meals are typically £10, and they are surprisingly good!

Jet 2 offer a 10% discount if you reserve seats, reserve hot meals and book a suitcase on a flight – this effectively makes the meal free.

Jet 2 don’t currently offer any kind of speedy boarding service.

TUI

TUI, formerly Thomson, offer 10KG maximum weight for your hand luggage, with dimensions of 55cmX40cmX20CM. They also do not allow an additional piece of luggage – stating “Things like laptops, handbags and items bought at the airport must fit within your 1 piece of hand luggage. You must be able to lift your hand luggage into the overhead storage compartments yourself. ”

Extras

A 20KG suitcase is £23 per journey and a 25KG is £31.

Seats are £10 per journey for a standard reserved seat, extra space seats are £20, and extra legroom seats are £25.

If you pre book seats you get priority access at check in, but not boarding.

TUI don’t offer any kind of package or pre booked meal service.

British Airways

BA have recently started competing in the budget space, so we’ve included them in this comparison. They offer both economy and a business class service, but we’ve stuck with economy for comparison purposes.

BA allow you two pieces of hand luggage – one case of up to 56cmX45cmX25cm and up to a whopping 23 KG, and second hand  bag or laptop bag up to 40cmX30cmX15cm, again, up to 23 KG.

Extras

BA don’t offer a paid-for luggage allowance option, you either elect for a standard fare without a case, or you can go for an economy plus fare which includes free seat choice 48 hours before departure, and 23KG luggage. On our standard flight this came to an additional £20 per journey, so is excellent value.

Reserved seats start at £11 towards the rear of the aircraft, rising to £16 for the middle section and £24 per journey for extra legroom seats.

Aer Lingus

The Irish flag carrier allows passengers to carry hold luggage, weighing no more than 10KG, and no larger than 55cmX40cmX24cm. Additionally, passengers are allowed one small “small personal item” like a handbag or laptop bag.

Extras

Suitcases are €50 per journey for 15KG, €55 for 20KG and €60 for 25KG. They also offer a two case option, each of 20KG at €85 – perhaps aimed at cruise passengers.

Reserved seats start at €12.99 per journey for standard and go up to €17.99 for one near the front with priority boarding. Extra legroom seats are €24.99.

Aer Lingus also offer a “Plus” fare which combines seat selection, priority boarding and a 20KG suitcase. For our benchmark flight, that added €72 to the fare.

Luggage Allowance Summary

We hope that helps you decide on the airline you choose for your next trip. It’s been a really interesting exercise to do and our summary would be that Ryanair are actually pretty good value, BA can be a good choice if you need luggage allowance and both Thomson and Thomas Cook are very tight on weights in the cabin.

If you see a “Package” deal, offering to add seats, luggage and / or food, it’s generally worth ticking the option.

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