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Ryanair baggage allowance: How to avoid Ryanair’s hand luggage fees

Rachel Erdos
24 Jul 2019

Ryanair’s hand luggage policy: Everything you need to know

It's hard to keep track of Ryanair's ever-changing baggage policy. The airline changed its rules twice in 2018, updating the restrictions on the size of the bags that you can travel with for free.

To avoid any confusion (and additional fees), we’ve outlined the main changes to be aware of, as well as rounding up a selection of Ryanair-approved carry-on bags to buy ahead of your next trip.

What is Ryanair’s baggage allowance and what has changed?

From 1 November 2018, Ryanair updated its baggage policy. Non-priority customers can now only take a bag with the dinky dimensions of 40 x 20 x 25cm onboard for free. If you want to travel with a larger bag or suitcase in the cabin (55 x 40 x 20cm, weighing no more than 10kg) you'll need to pay an extra £6 each way for Priority Boarding at the time of booking, or £8 each way if you add it at a later date.

To travel with a bigger bag in the hold (maximum 20kg) you'll need to pay an additional £25 at the time of booking or £40 after that.

Back in January 2018, Ryanair announced that customers could travel with a small cabin bag (35 x 20 x 20cm) and place a larger bag (50 x 40 x 20cm) in the hold without paying any extra fees but the airline has stripped things right back with its new policy.

How can I avoid Ryanair's hand luggage fees?

The only way that you can avoid paying additional fees is to travel very lightly and squish your possessions into a very small bag (essentially the same size as a handbag or a laptop bag). Even if you consider wearing your bulkier items, rolling your clothes instead of folding them, and using vacuum bags you'll be very tight on space for a weekend escape. Scroll down to see our pick of the best Ryanair-approved cabin bag options below. 

How much does Priority Boarding cost and what does it include?

Priority Boarding will set you back £6 each way if you add it at the time of booking or £8 each way by adding it at a later date. If you've booked a Plus fare or a Flexi Plus fare, Priority Boarding is included in the ticket price. Priority Boarding allows you take one small bag (40 x 20 x 25cm) and one larger bag (55 x 40 x 20cm, weighing no more than 10kg) onboard with you.

Are there any other sneaky charges to be aware of?

Ryanair loves imposing charges and there’s a hefty €25 fee per item if you turn up with bags that fail to comply with the size and weight restrictions above. This fee also applies if you don’t add Priority Boarding to your booking within the time limit set by the airline.

Want to avoid extra hand luggage charges altogether? Consider buying one of these carry-on bags.

The best hand luggage for a Ryanair flight

1. John Lewis & Partners Geneva small weekend holdall

Price: £65 Size: 40 x 21 x 25cm | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

This stylish suede-effect holdall is just the ticket for a weekend escape. Once you master the art of rolling your clothes, you can cram a couple of outfits and your essential toiletries into the main compartment and there's a zipped internal pocket for your travel documents. The straps, edges and zip fastening are finished in faux leather and you can either carry it by the handles or sling it across your body using the adjustable shoulder strap.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

2. Members Essential On-Board Bag

Price: £14 | Size: 35 x 20 x 20cm | Buy now from Amazon 

This simple holdall features double carry handles and a removable shoulder strap, and fits neatly under the seat in front of you. The main compartment seems surprisingly roomy (although you’ll need to really hone your packing skills) and you can store your passport and travel documents in the front pocket. It’s available in a range of retro polka-dot designs.

Buy now from Amazon

3. Aerolite Carry-on Holdall

Price: £7 | Size: 35 x 20 x 20cm | Buy now from Amazon 

Made from tough nylon, this smart black holdall comes with a two-year guarantee. It features a top carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap for travellers of all sizes, and the front pocket is handy for easy-to-grab items. A strap at the back lets you slide it over suitcase handles if you’re travelling with an additional case.

Buy now from Amazon

4. Cabin Max Arezzo Stowaway Bag

Price: £15 | Size: 35 x 20 x 20cm | Buy now from Amazon 

Weighing 400g, this small “stowaway” bag has been designed specifically to comply with Ryanair’s hand-luggage rules and you can score extra brownie points with the airline by opting for the on-brand blue-and-yellow design. It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap and a front pocket for your travel documents.

Buy now from Amazon 

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