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Easyjet to cut free hand luggage allowance in February

Easyjet passengers will soon only be able to take a single small bag which fits under the seat in front of them into the cabin unless they pay extra, as the airline's slashing its hand luggage allowance.

The change comes two years after Ryanair and Wizz Air rewrote their cabin baggage rules – both now only allow those with standard seats to take one small bag into the cabin. See our 17 Easyjet Tricks, 20 Ryanair Tips and Cheap Flights guide for more ways to cut costs.

What are Easyjet's new rules on hand luggage?

Here's a quick summary of Easyjet's new hand luggage policy for flights on or after 10 February 2021:

  • Passengers with standard seats will only be able to take a smaller bag into the cabin. Currently, if you don't pay anything extra, you can carry on a larger 56cm x 45cm x 25cm bag – around the size of a standard wheelie suitcase – which can be stored in an overhead locker. For flights booked from today which depart from 10 February onwards, if you don't pay anything extra you'll only be able to take a smaller 45cm x 36cm x 20cm bag – roughly the size of a rucksack – on board, and it must fit under the seat in front of you. 

  • Easyjet Plus cardholders, and those who pay more for Up Front or Extra Legroom (ie, priority) seats or a Flexi fare, won't see any change in their allowance. They'll still be able to bring both a smaller 45cm x 36cm x 20cm and larger 56cm x 45cm x 25cm bag on board.

  • Some extra items, such as medical equipment and baby changing bags, can still be brought into the cabin for free. Those travelling with a child will also still be able to bring two bulkier items, such as pushchairs or a car seat, for free – Easyjet says these can be stored in overhead lockers if there's room, or alternatively they can be put into the hold for free when you're at the gate.

  • If you've already booked a flight, these rules still apply - but you can store a larger bag in the hold for free. If you're flying on or after 10 February 2021 but booked BEFORE the change in policy was announced (ie, up until 30 November 2020), then you'll only still be able to bring a smaller bag into the cabin. But you will also be able to store a larger cabin bag measuring up to the current maximum of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm in the hold for free, using its 'Hands Free' service.

How much will I now have to pay to carry on a bigger bag?

You can still bring a bag of up to 45cm x 36cm x 20cm into the cabin for free after the policy changes, so if you can squeeze your belongings into a smaller bag, that's the MoneySaving option. But while Easyjet insists its new allowance offers enough space to pack essentials for a short trip, many will find themselves needing more room.

If you're booking an Easyjet flight from now on, for travel on or after 10 February 2021, and want to take a bigger bag, you'll have to pay extra – here are the different options:

  • Put a standard cabin-sized bag into the hold – £7 per bag, per flight, or possibly less if travelling in a group. Easyjet's 'Hands Free' service already lets you drop off a bag measuring up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm – so the size of a standard wheelie suitcase – to be stored in the hold. You can drop the bag off when you get to the airport before you go through security, then when you arrive you pick it up on the baggage carousel.

    This costs £7 per bag, but if travelling in a group you can pay £16 for a "family bundle" of between three and six bags, which could mean it works out at as little as £2.67 per piece of luggage. Despite the name, any group travelling together can use a "family bundle" so long as all the passengers are on the same flight booking, and you'll be able to drop off one bag per passenger. 

  • Check a larger suitcase into the hold – from £7 to £42.50 per bag, per flight. This works in the standard way for checking in luggage and allows you to put larger bags in the hold – you check your luggage in at airport departures, then collect it at the baggage carousel when you arrive. Prices vary depending on your route and when you book – it's £6.99 to £35.49 for a bag up to 15kg, and £9.49 to £42.49 for a bag up to 23kg.

  • Pay for priority seating, which allows you to take a larger bag into the cabin – from £8 to £40 extra per seat, per flight. Selecting an Up Front (ie, first row) or Extra Legroom seat will cost you between £7.99 and £39.99 extra per seat, depending on your route and when you book. This allows you to take on a larger wheelie suitcase-sized bag measuring up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm into the cabin with you to store in the overhead lockers, as well as a smaller bag which you can store under your seat. (You also get speedy boarding with these seats, and extra legroom.)

  • Pay to be an Easyjet Plus cardholder - costs £215 a year. This is an expensive option and unlikely to be worth it for casual flyers - but may make sense if you're a regular Easyjet passenger. If you pay to become an Easyjet Plus cardholder, you can take a larger bag into the cabin with you for no extra cost whenever you fly - other perks include allocated seating, dedicated bag drop, fast track security, 

  • Buy a more expensive Flexi fare - costs depend on route and date. Flexi fares let you make changes to your flight dates after booking, but they also offer other perks, including hold luggage, speedy boarding and the ability to take a larger bag into the cabin for no extra cost. Prices vary but they tend to be considerably more expensive - one Flexi fare we saw on a flight to Amsterdam was £85.99, compared to £22.99 for a standard ticket – so it's unlikely to be worth doing this for the cabin baggage alone. 

What does Easyjet say?

Robert Carey, chief commercial and customer officer for Easyjet, said: "Punctuality is important to our customers, and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space onboard this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too.

"Our new policy will improve boarding and punctuality for everyone, as well as give our customers certainty of what they will have with them onboard."

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