How Strict is Ryanair's Baggage Allowance?

Ryanair boarding
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We've all been there: packing in a hurry, rushing to the airport, stuffing our carry-on with as much as possible and praying its bulging contents are miraculously overlooked by the check-in people at the airline gate. More often than not, you're stuck either paying some ridiculous fee, or frantically repacking your baggage on the airport floor, deflecting judging stares from your fellow passengers.

Let it be said, it pays to come prepared, especially when flying Ryanair. The popular budget airline famously has one of the strictest baggage allowances in Europe—and sometimes, even if you do stick to their rules, you may still be penalized for tiny infractions.

Luckily, a little research goes a long way, and in this post, we will show you step-by-step how to avoid baggage fees while flying with Ryanair. You can also see how their baggage allowance rules compare with other European airlines here. Heed our warnings, lest you get denied!

Size Is Everything

The IATA (International Air Transport Association) standard hand baggage allowance is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8"), but Ryanair allows just 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.8"). This means that the bag you may have used on easyJet or British Airways won't be allowed on a Ryanair flight.

For Less Hassle, Carry a Hardcase

As these pictures show, sometimes even when your hand baggage does meet the size requirements, the airport staff still charge you for having oversized hand luggage.

As you can see in the picture on the left, this man put his baggage in the metal frame with no problem. And then, in the picture on the right, you see him waiting to pay for "oversized luggage".

Why? His bag is made of a soft material and sags when stood upright. He had to squeeze the bag for it to fit, which was deemed unacceptable.

However, the bag is clearly of the correct size and has not been overfilled.

One solution would be to buy a hard case, which (if it starts off within Ryanair's size limits) will always fit the metal frame, no matter how full it is. But these weigh more, drastically eating into your 10kg allowance. Our favorite little tip is to research the best bags for Ryanair flights, which will provide you with the niftiest luggage to avoid random fees on your trip.

Research, Research, Research!

Ryanair has the reputation of being the cheapest airline available in Europe, but you never know until you check your travel dates and see what kind of offers are available. Who knows, you might luck out! You can compare prices on flights to Spain via Priceline and see what the least expensive option is. 

We've also put together a little cheat sheet on how to circumvent other Ryanair fees and penalties: you can read it here