Charges for taking hand luggage on flights could become more widespread if a recently-adopted policy catches on, adding to the array of fees imposed by airlines.
Holidaymakers trravelling to eastern Europe with Wizz Air Hungary will soon have to pay a hand luggage fee for larger bags, following a trial on one route.
Anybody travelling after 24 October will pay £9 per flight to take larger items on board if they declare their hand luggage in advance.
Travellers who pay at the airport will be landed with even bigger fees of £17 at check-in or £26 at the gate. The fee does not apply to people who booked before 4 October.
Passengers flying from London to Katowice, Poland already pay for hand luggage as this route was used for the trial.
Wizz Air Hungary claims the policy will lead to price cuts of £4.50 per person, per flight.
The charge applies to any bag over 42 x 32 x 25cm – even if only one element of the size restrictions is broken. Hand luggage up to this size remains free.
Many cabin bags will be caught by the charge. Easyjet allows hand luggage of up to 56 x 45 x 25cm – typical of many suitcases designed for cabins.
Budget airlines have been hit by a crackdown on hiding payment charges until the end of the booking process, and will soon be banned from charging more than it costs them to process a payment.
This has led many to predict they will find new revenue sources.
Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: "I've always considered checked baggage to be one of the fairer budget airline added 'extras'.
"Yet hand luggage isn't an optional extra. Airlines need to stop levying more bolt-ons than Frankenstein and treat customers fairly."
US airline Spirit already charges customers to take hand luggage on board.
Wizz Air Hungary operates flights from Doncaster/Sheffield, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool and Luton to many eastern European countries.
It says the policy has been introduced to combat an "excessive number" of bags carried onboard and to stop the overcrowding of aircraft cabins.