Pack Like a Pro: Navigating Cabin Bag Restrictions

The thrill of a bargain break can swiftly sour when faced with a baggage conundrum. Fear not, this guide will equip you to navigate the maze-like world of carry-on constraints and checked baggage options.


Planning a bargain break that involves flying out with Ryanair? Well, buckle up because they're pretty strict about baggage.

The standard Ryanair cabin bag size, which is the same for everyone, is no larger than 40x25x20cm. That’s smaller than a normal sized backpack, but permits a big handbag or a small laptop case. If you don’t have anything suitable a quick web search will return many options, with some sellers keen to highlight bags that meet the Ryanair size restrictions.

If your getaway isn’t just a quick day trip, you might need more than the basic Ryanair hand luggage allowance. Opting for an extra cabin bag lets you bring along a small suitcase, maxing out at 55x40x20cm and weighing up to 8kg. Remember to include the wheels and handles when measuring! While those who choose priority boarding will get the same allowance, though, with everyone jumping on the priority train, it doesn’t mean you’ll get on the plane much faster.

Need a bit more luggage space? There’s also the option of checking a 10kg or 20kg item into the hold. Just remember you’ll need to arrive at the airport a bit earlier in order to drop off your bags.

Now, you might be thinking, "Is it worth getting a new bag just to fly Ryanair?" Consider this: if your bags meet their strict criteria, they'll likely pass muster with most other airlines too. So, it's not just about this trip - it's an investment for future stress-free holidays.


The Easyjet hand luggage policy is similar to Ryanair’s but a bit more lenient. Your personal bag can stretch up to 45x36x20cm – that's roomy enough for a regular sized backpack. Cool, right? But here's the catch: you'll likely need to stash it under the seat in front of you, so if you go for the max size, be ready for a legroom trade-off.

Need an additional carry on? The Easyjet cabin bag size is 56x45x25cm, with a maximum weight of 15kg. Shelling out for that second item scores you speedy boarding too! There’s also the option of adding hold bags - choose from 15kg, 23kg and 32kg. Travelling as a family? Maybe you’ll opt for one large 32kg suitcase for everyone. For solo adventurers, the 15kg option might just hit the sweet spot.

Wizz Air

Like with Ryanair, standard Wizz Air baggage is just the bare minimum. Your personal item needs to be no bigger than 40x25x20cm. You’ll also have the option of booking priority, which comes with an additional cabin bag of up to 55x40x23cm with a 10kg weight limit. You may notice those dimensions are a tiny bit bigger than the permitted sizes on Ryanair, so if you’re buying new bags maybe consider whether it would be a better investment to buy slightly smaller ones that also comply with Ryanair’s requirements.


Jet2 hand luggage is a lot more straightforward. Everyone is allowed to take on a small personal item that fits under the seat in front. There'll be no one with a tape measure at the boarding gate - common sense is used. You can also take on a cabin case up to 56x45x25cm - this is included - you don’t need to pay extra. However, on busy flights the airline reserves the right to ask some passengers to place their carry-on case in the hold, unless you pay for ‘Guaranteed Cabin Baggage’. This is more likely to happen on busy city break flights, where fewer people are paying to add checked suitcases. Therefore, it probably wouldn’t be worth shelling out for Guaranteed Cabin Baggage on a flight to somewhere like Faro or Alicante.

Thinking of checking in a suitcase? There’s a 22kg weight limit per item but you can add up to three checked items per person. Perfect if you’re looking to update your wardrobe with a shopping trip to Milan or maybe you’re planning to bring back loads of wine from the Douro Valley.

Aer Lingus

Flying to Ireland with Aer Lingus? You can take a small personal item on board, such as a laptop, handbag or small backpack. Additionally, you can usually take a second item, no larger than 55x40x24cm and weighing up to 10kg. Go for priority, and that second item can be a nifty carry-on suitcase. No priority? Well, that suitcase might have to take a checked luggage detour. You can also opt to add a checked 20kg suitcase for an additional charge.

Note: Flights advertised as Aer Lingus Regional are operated by Emerald Airlines under a franchise agreement. They use smaller planes, meaning your included item is restricted to 7kg if you travel on one of these flights.

Flying to the USA or Caribbean? The Aer Lingus baggage allowance includes a 23kg checked suitcase on direct flights and you can take your 55x40x24cm item into the cabin. Direct flights to the USA or Caribbean operate from Manchester. However, if you’re travelling via Dublin or Shannon you’ll need to ensure your bags also meet the restrictions for UK to Ireland flights.


If you book a package through Thomas Cook that includes TUI flights you’ll have a 55x40x20cm cabin bag included. There’s also the option of adding hold luggage - choose from a 15kg, 20kg or 23kg allowance.

Hand luggage size infographic for Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air, TUI, Jet2 and Aer Lingus

Shopping for New Luggage

woman at airport with cabin baggage

Want to shop for luggage that meets the requirements of all the main airlines? Consider buying the following:

• A small bag no larger than 40x25x20cm

• A small cabin suitcase or a bigger bag, no larger than 55x40x20cm

• A larger suitcase that’s strong but light, allowing you to make maximum use of the weight restrictions.

Planning to fly with different airlines? Then it’s especially important to ensure you have bags or suitcases that don’t just meet the requirements for one particular airline. A little foresight in your luggage choices can go a long way in making your travel experience a breeze. Bon voyage!

Edmund Myerscough

About the author

Edmund Myerscough loves exploring new destinations. His favourite holiday, so far, was a trip to the Balkans that included Dubrovnik, Mostar and Kotor.