These are the hand baggage allowances for some of the main airlines in Europe, as of May 2013.
When measuring your bag, be sure to include the wheels. Softer bags will sag in the middle, which may make it difficult to get the bag into the frame at the airline, as happened to this guy: Ryanair Charges Man at Gate Despite His Bag Fitting the Frame.
Baggage restrictions are likely to change, sometimes at short notice.
Click on the relevant link for each airline to get the most up to date information.
British Airways and Iberia
Hand Baggage: The most generous cabin luggage allowance, letting you bring 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8"), as well as a handbag or laptop bag, weighing up to 23kg. They also let you check a bag into the hold for free. But you pay for these luxuries in the much higher priced flights.
Checked Luggage: British Airways has the best-checked luggage allowance of all the airlines here - you can check 23kg and dimensions of 90cm x 75cm x 43cm for free - but it comes at a price as British Airways flights doesn't come cheap.
Iberia also gives a free checked baggage allowance of 23kg, like it's sister company, British Airways, but a far less generous size allowance, with a total of 158cm (length + height + width).
Hand Baggage: easyJet By far the most generous permitted hand baggage dimensions and weight for a budget airline in Europe. easyJet allows 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8") and unlimited weight in your cabin bags.
easyJet, unfortunately, no longer has its "guaranteed cabin baggage size".
Checked Luggage: easyJet Keeps up its good baggage allowances with the cheapest checked allowance of any budget airline, a flexible baggage size (length, width, and height must add up to no more than 275cm) and a good weight allowance of 20kg.
Hand Baggage: Also has the larger hand baggage allowance of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8") but with a weight limit of 10kg.
Checked Luggage: Up to three 22kg cases. Size is unspecified.
Hand Baggage: 10kg and 55 x 35 x 20cm.
Checked Luggage: 20kg, with an unspecified maximum size.
Hand Baggage: One or two pieces, up to a maximum of 56 x 40 x 25cm and 10kg in weight.
Checked Luggage: Monarch's baggage policy allows 20kg and unspecified dimensions.Ryanair
Hand Baggage: Famously strict on their tiny allowance of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.9") and 10kg in weight. But the new extra allowance of taking a second, smaller case with you (of 35cm x 20cm x 20cm) has lifted Ryanair out of the 'worst hand baggage allowance' category.
Checked Luggage: On a good day, Ryanair isn't the most expensive, with 15kg of baggage for a reasonable 15€ - but that's only on selected flights and in the off-season.
Bags can be an astonishing 50€ to check - and for a second bag, it's even higher! Dimensions not specified.
Hand Baggage: Only allows 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.9") and 10kg in weight. Pack light!
Checked Luggage: 23kg with an unspecified size.
Fly Thomas Cook
Hand Baggage: Allows just 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.9") and 6kg.
Checked Luggage: Thomas Cook flies all over the world, with different allowances on different routes. To be sure of the price and dimensions for your flight, check their website. For a short-haul flight in Europe, you are normally allowed 15kg for £19 (22.50€).
Hand Baggage: Allows 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.9") and a mere 5 to 7kg, depending on the flight.
The worst hand baggage allowance in Europe.
Checked Luggage: 15 to 20kg, depending on the flight.
And Don't Forget the Security Restrictions
Restrictions on your baggage aren't just about dimensions and weight: there are also security measures to remember too
The following cannot be carried onto a flight in Europe. They might be permitted as checked luggage, but you should check with the airline first.
- lighters and matches (when travelling from the USA); explosives (including fireworks, flares, toy guns, caps and party poppers); flammable and non-flammable gas such as aerosols (over 2kg or 2 liters) or camping gas cylinders), carbon dioxide cylinders for soda siphons, lighter refills, butane gas cylinders, filled aqualung cylinders, mace, deeply refrigerated gases - liquid nitrogen, flammable liquids or solids - paints, thinners, solvents, cooking oil, firelighters, oxidising materials - bleaches; organic peroxides - resin kits poisons - arsenic, cyanide, weed killer, tear gas; infectious substances - viruses and bacteria (which would affect humans and animals); radioactive materials - instruments containing radioactive source radioisotopes for research; corrosive materials - acids, alkalis, metallic mercury, thermometers containing mercury, barometers; magnetised materials, formalin etc; firearms.
Note that this includes cooking oil, so no Spanish olive oil allowed!
Limited Quantities of Liquids Allowed in Hand Luggage
Limited quantities of liquids, gels or pastes must be held in individual containers not exceeding 100ml (approximately 3.5 fl. oz).
The containers must be carried in a separate clear plastic, a zip-top or re-sealable bag that does not exceed 20 cm x 20cm (8 inches x 8 inches) or equivalent to one-litre capacity. The bag must be clear plastic, no bigger than 20 cm x 20 cm (8 inches x 8 inches) or equivalent to one-litre capacity and must have a zip top. The liquids must fit comfortably in the bag and the bag must close. You cannot 'combine allowances' and have, say, 200ml of one liquid. If in doubt, pack it in your checked luggage.
Permitted liquids (as long as they fit the above criteria) may include:
- Hair gel, hair spay
- Suntan lotions
- Liquid or aerosol deodorants
- Cosmetics such as mascara and lip gloss
- Water and other drinks, soups and syrups