IT SEEMS THAT SIZE MATTERS AFTER ALL. Budget airline easyJet recently announced that it is reducing the size of bags that it guarantees will be allowed on board as ‘hand baggage’ by a whopping 37%.
Currently the size of your ‘cabin bag’ can be anything up to 56 x 45 x 25cm, with a volume (inside space) of 63 litres. But from 2 JULY your bag can be no bigger than 50 x 40 x 20cm, including handles and wheels, with a volume of 40 litres. So on the face of it, that's a cut of over a third.
If you stick to the new size limit, easyJet say they’ll guarantee your bag ‘will travel with you either in the overhead locker or, if necessary, under the seat in front of you. Otherwise, the bag may be placed in the aircraft hold’. So, you may get away with it, you may not, but you have been warned.
So, how do you deal with the new rules? Here are seven suggestions on how to beat the baggage charge.
1. Buy a new bag
You may have cannily invested in an item of luggage specifically designed to get round easyJet’s old baggage rules. But maybe you should bite the bullet and switch to a smaller bag that comes in under the new dimensions limit. You’ll save money on checking in luggage, and stress at the airport worrying about whether your bag is too big, which is priceless. A good example is the Lowe Alpine TT Carry-On 40 which is, as the name suggests, a perfect 40 litres in volume. Put that in your overhead locker, easyJet!
2. Keep calm and carry on using your old bag
Instead of panicking in the face of this revolutionary rule change, you could just carry on with your carry-on, as it were. All easyJet are saying is that they cannot guarantee that there’ll be space for your bag. If the flight is full and you’re last in the queue, you might get to the gate and they say sorry, there’s no room at the inn, it’s going in the hold. And really, what’s so bad about that? You won’t have to pay for it. You’ll just have to wait in the baggage reclaim area for a few minutes. So? You might meet the love of your life at carousel C.
4. Pack light
Do you really need to take a travel iron? Can you swap four pairs of wedges for some versatile day-to-evening flats? When you’re packing for your holidays, adjust to the new rules by correspondingly cutting your stuff down by a third. Reign in the peripherals and stick to reasonably essential items, such as hair straighteners. You can probably get by on one pair of pants for the week. And remember to roll - careful packing can save you a packet.
4. Check in your bag
You could be grown-up about the situation and accept easyJet’s rule change as entirely reasonable, logical and in the interests of its passengers. You could just take the hit and check in your bag. If you’re honest, for far too long you have annoyed people by blocking the aisle while trying to force your case into an overhead locker. But this is loser talk. Check in your bag and you’ve let them win.
5. Become a member
Join the easyJet plus scheme, buy a FLEXI fare, or splash out a few quid on an Upfront or Extra Legroom seat, and there's no need at all to downsize your bag - easyJet will definitely allow your cabin bag on the plane if it is within the current 56 x 45 x 25cm dimensions. You'll also have first dibs at that oh-so valuable overhead locker space, and avoid ugly scenes in the rush for the cheap seats. But that’s all part of the fun of budget air travel, isn’t it?
6. Wear your luggage
Eh? We don’t mean using your suitcase as a makeshift sunhat or stuffing your rucksack down your pants. We’re talking about a new generation of ‘wearable luggage’ or ‘luggage jackets’ – essentially clothing that allows you to carry your belongings about your person. Ok, in some cases you may look like a cleaner, while others are in fact rather stylish. And who cares? People rarely look their best when they’ve been ordered to undress by airport security. You can buy a new outfit with the money you save on check-in fees.
7. Use another airline
If you object to this clampdown on your personal freedom, then make a stand and fly with a different airline. There may well be a choice of carriers operating the route. Of course, this may mean higher prices, or having to check in your bag. EasyJet’s allowance has been and, under the new rules still will be, pretty generous - there's no weight limit on hand baggage. Some airlines, such as WizzAir, have for a while now charged for anything larger than a laptop or a handbag.
Find out more from easyJet.