The Essential Guide to Popular Budget Airline Carry On Rules

The Essential Guide to Popular Budget Airline Carry On Rules

20 years ago, flying was definitely not cheap and only a few lucky (and wealthy) people could afford it. Nowadays, travelling by plane is child’s play… well, almost! Flights are usually the most expensive part of our travels and staying on budget is often a challenge. Low-cost companies give you the chance to travel cheap, BUT with some “costs” like less legroom and super strict hand luggage policies… let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to understand all the different rules! Don’t worry, we got your back! This is our ultimate guide of the most famous/used airline companies and their policies so you will never find yourself paying extra money again.

Before you take a look at our guide, the most frequently asked question is often: how much liquid can I take on a plane? Well, the answer is simple: 1 litre in total, but the liquid has to be in different bottles with a maximum capacity of 100ml each (bigger sizes will be thrown away even if they are not full). As long as the liquids you have in your hand luggage are not flammable or above 100ml you are good to go! If you have any particular liquid you intend to bring on board, we suggest you check the TSA website.

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @mrtakeiteazy

Ryanair 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @giuliciu

Ryanair is an Irish airline and it’s one of the cheapest and most popular airline companies in Europe. Ryanair takes you pretty much everywhere in Europe and Morocco for low prices!

UPDATE: Starting from November 1st 2018, only Priority Booking customers (Plus, Flexi Plus and Family Plus fares included) can bring two cabin bags on board. Non-priority customer who wants to bring a second larger bag, such as a trolley, have to purchase the 10kg Check-in bag (€/£8 purchased during the initial flight booking; €/£10 if added online after booking; €/£ 20 at the check-in desk; €/£25 at the gate) and you’ll have to go to the check-in desk to drop it off. 

🎒Hand luggage policies:

  • One small bag e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc. not exceeding 35cm x 20cm x 20cm
  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight (see update above).

💵 Potential extra costs: if you bring your hand luggage to the gate or your smaller item doesn’t fit the measurements, you’ll have to pay €25, and it will be put in the hold. This is a waste of money and a waste of time when you land… you don’t want that, right?

💼 Hold luggage policies:

Bags are not included in the price. You can purchase up to 3 checked bags of either 15kg or 20kg for €25 online and €40 at the airport! The fee could vary depending on the route and type of season by €10.

💵 Potential extra costs: if your bag is overweight, and you’re not able to make it lighter, it will cost you €10 per kilo!  

🕙 Timings:

Online check-in: Opens 4 days before, closes 2hrs before departure.

Check-in desks open: 2 hrs before the scheduled departure time, go to the desks only if you need to drop off your bags or if you don’t hold a European passport, they’ll need to put a stamp on your boarding pass!

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before the scheduled departure time (even if the flight is delayed).

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 20 mins before the scheduled departure time. Be punctual, because if you are late they won’t wait for you!

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Try to be one of the first passengers in the queue, why? Because, due to cabin space limitations only 90 large cabin bags (55 x 40 x 20 cms) can be carried in the cabin, any bags remaining will be carried free of charge in the aircraft hold. But, if you have purchased Priority Boarding (€5 at the time of the flight booking or €6 after), you won’t be asked to do so!

An early online check-in opens 30 days from the time of departure and is available only if you are buying your seat, while, the standard (free) check-in opens 4 days before your departure. Check-in online closes 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. We suggest you to check-in online and to have a hard copy, just in case! If you arrive at the airport without your boarding pass the staff will reprint it for you, but you’ll have to pay €15! Forgot to check-in online? You will be required to pay €50! We know it’s crazy, but Ryanair’s flights are really really cheap!

Snacks and beverages are served on board, but they are not for free.

Easyjet 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @giuliciu

Easyjet, another beloved low-cost company in Europe. It takes you not only around Europe but also in Egypt (Hurghada), Israel (Tel Aviv), Turkey (Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman and Izmir) and Kosovo (Pristina).

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including handles and wheels. NO WEIGHT LIMIT!

💵 Potential extra costs: if you have a small bag (e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc) you will be required to put it in your cabin bag! In case it doesn’t fit or compromises the size of your bag, you will be required to check it in with an additional 47€ at the bags drop off desks and €60 at the gate! Again, waste of time and waste of money.

There is the chance to buy the Speedy Boarding at €16,99 – €33,99 (first row, extra legroom) or €12,49 – € 27,49 (upfront seats/emergency exits)  and you could choose have a second small bag to put underneath the seat in front of you, dedicated bag drop and priority boarding.

💼 Hold luggage policies:

Starting from 15th November 2017 it’s possible to buy up to 3 hold bags with a standard weight limit of 15kg or 23kg, but you can always buy extra kilos with €15 every 3kg (maximum of 32kg per bag for safety and legal reasons).

💵 Potential extra costs: Every exceeding kilo it’s going to cost you €14 at the airport! Instead, if you need to buy an extra bag at the airport, it will cost you €47. Buy it online, it’s cheaper and you can add bags to your booking up to 2 hrs before the scheduled departure time.

🕙 Timings:

Online check-in: opens 30 days before the day of your departure and up to 2 hours before.

Check-in desks open: around 2hrs/2.5hrs before the scheduled time of departure.

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before the scheduled time of departure (even if the flight is delayed).

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 30 mins before the departure time. Be punctual, because if you are late they won’t wait for you!

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Space in the overhead lockers is limited and easyJet accepts on board maximum 55/65 cabin bags (depending on the aircraft type), the rest will be put in the hold free of charge (if they respect the hand luggage policies). If you want to avoid this, queue up early!

Snacks and beverages are served on board, but they are not for free.

If you are not in a rush upon arrival, you can check-in your hand luggage for €5 with the option “Free Hands”.

We suggest you download their app, easy to use, it keeps you updated about your flight status, it sends a notification with the gate number and you can manage your booking directly from the app!

Vueling 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On Rules

IG 📸: @astaclivo

Vueling is a Spanish airline, it moves people across Europe but it also flies to Israel, Gambia, Lebanon, Russia, Senegal, Tunisia, Ukraine, and United States. Check it out!

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One small bag e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc. not exceeding 35cm x 20cm x 20cm
  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight

💵 Potential extra costs: €35 if the bag does not comply with the airline’s policies.

 Hold luggage policies:

Online, you can buy up to 3 bags weighing up to 23kg each starting from €13 for the first one. If you forget this step, buying checked baggage it will cost you €35.

💵 Potential extra costs: If your bags exceed the weight limit, you will be charged €12 each extra kilo.

🕙 Timings:

Online check-in: opens 7 days before up to 4hrs before your departure time, but if you are flying from Cardiff, Lyon, London Heathrow or Prague you can only check in online up to 24hrs before your flight. (If you paid for your seat or flying with special fares, you can check-in online right after your purchase).

Check-in desks open: 2hrs before the scheduled time of departure.

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before the scheduled time of departure (even if the flight is delayed). There are some exceptions, so you might check on their website.

Gate opens: 40 mins before departure.

Gate closes: 30 mins before the departure time. Be punctual, because if you are late they won’t wait for you!

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Food and drinks are not included in the price of the ticket.

TAP 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @briannadamjanovic

TAP is a Portuguese airline company that travels within Europe but also in Africa, Asia, North and South America.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 8kg in weight (Economy Class)
  • A personal item, such as a computer bag or shoulder bag of 40cm x 30cm x 15cm

💵 Potential extra costs: TAP is quite expensive when it comes to fees. On domestic and European flights (including Morocco and Algeria) you will be charged €90. If you’re on an intercontinental flight you will be charged €200!!

💼 Hold luggage policies:

Since 1st September 2017, your first hold luggage is free of charge on all intercontinental flights and for tickets booked after 4th April 2017! Weight allowance: 23kg. If you buy a ticket with a “Discount” fare, hold luggage will not be included.  Buying extra luggage online is always cheaper: €15 to €20 on flights to Europe and North Africa and a discount of up to €35 on intercontinental flights on the price available during the check-in period (online or at the airport).

💵 Potential extra costs: Excess weight from 23kg to 32kg is going to cost you €50 on flights between Europe and North Africa, €110 for intercontinental flights. In case your luggage is bigger than 158cm (height+width+depth) you are going to be charged €75 on flights between Europe and North Africa and €150 for the intercontinental ones. The situation worsens if your luggage exceeds in weight and measures: €125 on flights between Europe and North Africa and €250 for the intercontinental ones. So, watch out!

🕙 Timings:

Online check-in: opens 36hrs before departure time and 24h before if you are flying to and from the USA.

Check-in desks: the cut-off times for checking-in and dropping off hold baggage depends on the departure airport. Check on the official website. https://www.flytap.com/en-us/check-in/check-in-times

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 20 mins before departure time.

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Your ticket fare, because there are some differences!

Jet2 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @emma.v.martell

This English low-cost company is only 14 years old and is cheap AF! Destinations include Europe, Morocco, Israel, Turkey and New York (don’t ask why).

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 56cm x 45cm x 25cm including wheels and handles and 10kg in weight
  • A personal item, such as a computer bag or shoulder bag (measures not mentioned in their T&Cs)

💼 Hold luggage policies:

You can book up to a maximum of 3 bags but they cannot exceed 22kg.

 💵 Potential extra costs: €15 each exceeding kilo. If you haven’t booked your hold luggage is going to cost you €56 at the airport!

🕙 Timings:

Online check-in: from 28 days and up to 5 hours before your departure.

Check-in desks open: 2hrs prior the flight. Be careful, in some airports they open earlier… check their website!

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before departure.

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to board, Jet2 suggests passengers be at the gate at least 30 mins prior the scheduled time of departure.

Iberia Express 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On Rules

IG 📸: @lovelyforliving

Iberia Express, owned by Iberia, is a Spanish low-cost airline that flies across Europe. It’s not really famous but the prices are a shining star!

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (126 cm), including handles, pockets and wheels.
  • A personal item, such as a computer bag or shoulder bag etc. is allowed

💵 Potential extra costs: N/A

💼 Hold luggage polices: 

Bags in the hold are not included and the first one will cost you from €20 to €40 each flight, depending on the season. Maximum weight: 23kg.

 💵 Potential extra costs:  fees change depending on the class you are travelling in and what route are you flying.

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: available from the day before up until 1 hour prior your departure.

Check-in desks open: around 2hrs prior departure time.

Check-in desks close: 45 mins before departure. For flights from Madrid-Barajas airport, flights close 55 mins before.

Gate closes: 20 minutes before the departure time.

🤔Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

On busy flights, cabin space could be insufficient and hand luggage may be placed in the hold at no additional cost. Try to be one of the first passengers in the line when boarding!

Air Arabia 🇦🇪

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @losingthemamakilos

For those of you who want to have the time of their life in the Middle East and North Africa, this is one of the cheapest airline companies you can find.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm including wheels, pockets and handles and 10kg in weight.
  • As a personal item, you can bring a handbag and a laptop.

💵 Potential extra costs: Unfortunately, Air Arabia doesn’t share its excess baggage charges in advance and fees and charges can vary by flight. We suggest to pre-book online all of your luggage.

💼 Hold luggage policies:

There is no limit on the number of bags you can check-in. You can buy 20kg,30kg, 40kg of baggage allowance but every piece cannot exceed 32kg.

 💵 Potential extra costs: Unfortunately, Air Arabia doesn’t share its excess baggage charges in advance and fees and charges can vary by flight. We suggest pre-booking all of your luggage online.

🕙 Timings:

Online check- in: from 24hrs up to 4hrs before your flight.

Check- in desks open: 3hrs before departure time.

Check- in desks close: 1 hour before departure time.

Gate opens: 1 hour before departure.

Gate closes: 15 mins before departure.

🤔Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Air Arabia considers duty-free shopping as luggage, be careful!

Transavia 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @lola.photography

Transavia it’s a Dutch low-cost airline that goes throughout the major European capitals, Morocco, UEA, Jordan and Turkey.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

Transavia allows on board just ONE piece of hand luggage on board so, if you have a laptop bag or a personal item, you will be required to put it in your trolley/backpack.

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, including handles and wheels. This piece will be labelled with a red tag and it has to be stowed in the overhead compartments.
  • If your luggage is really small and its size don’t exceed 45x40x25cm you will be required to put it underneath the seat in front of you and it will get a green label.

💵 Potential extra costs: If your luggage is too large or you have more than one piece, you will be charged €40 and the suitcase will be put in the hold.

💼 Hold luggage polices:

The first hold luggage is included in the ticket ONLY if you purchase the “Plus Fare”(20kg) and the “Max Fare” (30kg). The fares for your extra luggage online are between €9 and €26 for 15kg or €13-€33 for 20kg.

 💵 Potential extra costs: at the airport, it will be way more expensive: €40 for 15kg and €50 for 20kg!

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: from 30hrs up to 4hrs before your flight departure.

Check-in desks: the cut-off times for checking-in and dropping off hold baggage depends on the departure airport. Check on the official website.

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes:  15 mins before departure time.

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

On busy flights, you might be required to put your luggage in the hold due to insufficient space in the cabin. Try to be one of the first passenger in the line when boarding!

Volotea 🇪🇺

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @koolkarl

Volotea is a really young Spanish airline that operates mainly in the Mediterranean area. Flights are quite cheap but policies are strict.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
  • One handbag not exceeding 35cm x 20cm x20cm and it must be placed under the seat in front of you

💵 Potential extra costs: if you exceed your baggage allowance, you will be asked to pay €60 at the gate or €28-€55 at the check-in counters, and the bag will be put in the hold.

💼 Hold luggage polices:

Hold luggage is not included in the price of your ticket but it’s considered an extra service. The weight must not exceed 20kg and you can buy it online for €12-€55.

 💵 Potential extra costs: every extra kilo is going to cost you €12.

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: If you didn’t purchase your seat, check.in online will open 4 days up to 2.5hrs before departure time.

Check-in desks open: 2hrs before the departure time.

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before departure time.

Gate opens: 45 mins before departure time.

Gate closes: 15 mins before departure time.

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

We highly recommend to check-in online. If you want to check-in at the airport you will be charged €10 online or, if you forget to pay this fee, in order to check-in at the counters you will pay €30! Each flight!

On busy flights, you might be required to put your luggage in the hold due to insufficient space in the cabin. Try to be one of the first passenger in the line when boarding!

JetBlue 🇺🇸

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @giuliciu

Jetblue is an American low-cost airline that travels around the US, Central America and the Caribbean.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One carry-on bag not exceeding 22″ L (55.88 cm) x 14″ W (35.56 cm) x 9″ H (22.86 cm), including wheels/handles. NO WEIGHT LIMIT.
  • One extra personal item such as handbag, briefcase or laptop is permitted.

💵 Potential extra costs: N/A

💼 Hold luggage polices:

Hold luggage is NOT included in the price of your flight if you purchase the ticket with the “Blue” fare and the first bag will cost you $25 for the 23kg weight limit.

 💵 Potential extra costs: Between 24 and 45kg: $100 per bag

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: up to 24 hours in advance, but no less than 90 minutes prior to your flight’s scheduled departure time.

Check-in desks open: 6hrs before departure time.

Check-in desks close: 40 mins before departure time (domestic flights); 60 mins before departure time (international flights)

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 15 mins before departure time (domestic flights); 20mins (international flights).

Spirit 🇺🇸

Airline Carry On Rules📸: Veronica Battistelli

Spirit is one of the cheapest American airlines you could find but anything else apart from your seat, it has a cost. It travels throughout North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One personal item with maximum dimensions of 45cm x 35cm x 25cm. YUP, THAT’S IT.

💵 Potential extra costs: any additional item is permitted only when paying a fee and it varies according to when this item is bought (initial booking, before/during check-in/at the airport/at the gate). Usually is $37 one way if purchased during the booking process or before the online check-in; $47 during online check-in; $57 at the airport; $100 at the gate.

💼 Hold luggage polices

There is no checked baggage included in the price of your ticket. You can purchase up to 5 bags and they don’t have to exceed a total dimension of 158cm and 18kg in weight.

The prices changes according to when you make the purchase: initial booking, before/during check-in/at the airport and they are not cheap.

 💵 Potential extra costs: if the bag weighs between 18kg and 23kg the fee will be $30 per bag; between 23kg and 32kg the fee will be $55!

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: opens 24hrs up to 1 hour prior the flight departure.

Check-in desks open: 2hrs before departure for domestic flights and 3hrs for international flights.

Check-in desks close: 45mins before departure for domestic flights; 60mins before for international flights.

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 15 mins before for domestic flights and 30 mins before for the international ones.

🤔 Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind: Kiosk check-in will cost you $2 and $10 at the counter!

Southwest 🇺🇸

Airline Carry On Rules📸: The Travelling Light

Southwest, another US low-cost company that will take you, not only throughout North America but also to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One cabin bag not exceeding 60cm x 40cm x 25. No weight limit.
  • One small item not exceeding 46cm x 34cm x 21cm

💵 Potential extra costs: around $50 if your carry-on is oversized!

💼 Hold luggage polices:

Southwest allows 2 checked pieces of baggage with a weight limit of 23kg per bag.

 💵 Potential extra costs: if your bag will exceed the limit you’ll be charged $75 per item!

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: 24hrs before and up to 1 hour before departure time.

Check-in desks open: 3hrs before departure time but it depends on the airport you are leaving from.

Check-in desks close:  30 mins before departure time for domestic flights; 60 minutes before departure time for international flights.

Gate opens: When the plane is ready to receive passenger on board.

Gate closes: 30 mins before departure time both for domestic and international flights.

🤔Other Airline Carry On Rules to Keep in Mind:

Southwest does not assign seats, which means that they are not selectable.

Azul 🇧🇷

Airline Carry On RulesIG 📸: @giuliciu

What about a trip to South America? Azul is a Brazilian low cost company that travels across the whole continent, plus it touches Florida, USA and Lisbon, Portugal!

🎒 Hand luggage policies:

  • One piece only that has not to exceed 10kg in terms of weight and 155cm in measurement (sum of width, height and depth)

💵 Potential extra costs:

💼 Hold luggage polices: checked baggage policies differ according to the fare you buy. The cheaper fare (Azul) doesn’t have any bags included.

💵 Potential extra costs: if you want to add bags of 23kg to your Azul fare you will be charged R$40 (€10) online and R$60 (€15) at the airport. If you exceed weight wise, you will be charged an extra fee that is different depending on the city of departure.

🕙 Timings:

Check-in online: starting 72hrs and ending 90mins before the departure time.

Check-in desks open: 1 hour before departure time.

Check-in desks close: 30 mins before departure time.

Gate opens: N/A

Gate closes: N/A

Do you find our guide to airline carry on rules useful? Would you like to know more about airlines’ policies? Let us know in the comments below! 👇

 

 

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About The Author

Giulia Salerno (Hostelworld)

I'm Giulia, Italian, and I'm an insatiable traveller obsessed with sunsets, photography, and marketing. Social Media & Content Executive and #HostelworldInsider at Hostelworld. 🌍 Favourite place on earth: Nubian Village - Aswan, Egypt 🏠 Favourite hostel: Bet El Kerem Hostel - Aswan, Egypt Follow my adventures on Instagram @giuliciu ✨

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6 Responses to “The Essential Guide to Popular Budget Airline Carry On Rules”

  1. This is amazing and is going to make travelling so much smoother. I love how detailed this guide is. Thank you!

  2. What a great guide, so helpful to have all of this information in a single place. I do wish it included frontier. It would be helpful to have one for major airlines as well, since so many of those now have severe restrictions.

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