Hand Luggage Restrictions 'Eased' But Rules Defy Logic

From 7 January, the 1 bag only limitation for hand luggage will be eased. But not at all airports and not by all airlines

By TTM on 06 January 2008 in Travel Articles

The lifting of luggage restrictions sounds like welcome news, but because it is not applied at all airports, or all airlines air passengers are facing a maze of confusion.

The relaxation of restrictions by the Department of Transport means the one bag limit on hand luggage is being lifted at 22 airports that have been deemed competent at processing passengers (see the list here of Dft-approved airports). The Department of Transport says that these airports have "sufficient screening capacity whilst being able to maintain the security standards that we require". The list of airports crowned with this accolade include Heathrow, Stansted, Edinburgh and Manchester. But it does not include other major airports such as Gatwick, Luton, Exter, East Midlands or Liverpool.

Some airlines are relaxing their one bag policies to allow passengers to carry on two bags, but some are not. It now falls on the passenger to check firstly that their chosen aiport has been approved for the new two-bag rule and if it has, that the hand baggage policiy of their airline they are flying with is in line with this.

In effect, though you can travel from Glasgow airport for example, carrying two bags and carry these onto your BA flight, the easyjet passenger also travelling from Glasgow will still be restricted to one bag.

It is also important to be aware that even though you may be able to travel out with two bags you may not be able to on your return journey.

easyjet chief Executive Andy Harrison said that they are sticking with their one bag allowance policy to 'avoid confusion' while Deputy Chair of the Airport Operators Association, Neil Pakey admits it will cause confusion: "... different rules for different airlines and airports means that it is essential passengers check the situation before they fly.

“Other restrictions, such as on the carrying of liquids, remain in force. I would urge passengers to check ahead and plan ahead, to avoid any unnecessary last-minute hassle. If in doubt, passengers should make sure that they only take on board items of baggage needed in the aircraft cabin.”

The rules governing the carriage of liquids in hand luggage remain unchanged. This means passengers may carry liquid in a container with a capacity no greater than 100ml (or equivalent), and that all containers of liquid must be placed in a re-sealable plastic bag, which is no larger than 1 litre or 20cm x 20cm.

Here’s a summary of what the major UK airlines will allow as cabin baggage from January 7:

British Airways
The airline is adhering to the new DfT rules, allowing two carry-on bags at Heathrow, London City, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, and one bag at Gatwick, Jersey, Newcastle and Newquay. 

The hand luggage items must be no larger than 56 x 45 x 25cm, weigh no more than 23kg and be light enough to be lifted into overhead lockers. 

Business and economy class passengers can take two pieces of cabin baggage. Economy class passengers are allowed just one plus a personal item such as a small handbag, purse, small briefcase, laptop or baby-change bag. Bmi have final say though on what is a personal item. Though they alliw a small laptop case, a bulky computer bag is not permissable. The single larger piece of baggage as a size limit of 55 x 40 x 23cm and passengers should be able to lift their bags unaided into the overhead lockers.

Virgin Atlantic
Passengers travelling from Gatwick are limited to one item of hand luggage each, no bigger than 56 x 36 x 23 cm and weighs no more than 6kg.

For those departing Heathrow and Manchester and flying in Economy or Premium Economy, the rules are the same, but Upper Class passengers from either of these airports are allowed two pieces of hand luggage up to the same dimensions and weighing no more than 8kg each.

Passengers are limited to one item of hand luggage. A weight limit of 10kg applies and size limit of 55 x 40 x 20cm.

Only one piece of hand baggage is allowed per passenger. Dimensions should not exceed 55 x 40 x 20cm. There is no weight limit.

Passengers flying economy are allowed on piece of hand baggage. Weight limit: 10kg and size limit: 50 x 35 x 23cm.

Those flying Economy Plus can also take a laptop at Dft-approved airports.

One item of hand baggage per passenger. Weight limit 10kg and size limit 46 x 30 x 23cm.

One piece of hand luggage for all passengers. Weight limit 10kg and size limit 56 x 45 x 25cm.


The Travel Magazine

This article dates to 2008, so information published may be out of date. Anyways, we still see 10kg on http://www.monarch.co.uk/faq/flights/baggage/hold-checked-in-baggage-charges-scheduled#hand%20baggage - which page are you looking at?

6 January, 2014

hilary, malaga

You state Monarch weight limit is 10kg but their website states 5kg????

1 January, 2014

Jim Henry, Lutterworth

I work for a luggage delivery service Direct Baggage and we often hear from disgruntled passengers who get confused by the Airlines policy. As we eliminate the Airline having any contact with your luggage we also eliminate all the stress and confusion involved in travelling.
If you use a service like ours you have no worries about extra charges being applied by the Airline as you have
No luggage to book in
No baggage charge
No excess baggage fees to worry about
No check-in as you can now book on-line with most Airlines
No baggage reclaim
What you get is a walk on walk off service.
So there is an alternative to using the Airline and an alternative to being left dazed and confused.

7 October, 2010

Trish, Australia

My husband and I flew first flew Easyjet from Paris to Rome in September 2009. I ensured our carry-ons were the correct dimensions (including the wheels in the measurement size). At the gate the staff were making most passengers place (not push - not allowed) their carry-ons into the measuring unit. If you push your carry-on, as we saw one guy do, you will be told to check it in the hold (and pay an exhorbitant fee for doing so). We saw a couple distressed passengers having their carry-ons refused, one because the wheels were about a centimetre too long! We couldn't believe it. They seemed to be checking the first about 25-odd passengers's carryons and then just let the rest go. Maybe there is method to hanging back in the line if you might be a little over and make sure it looks, when you are carrying it, like it is light in weight also helps otherwise you might get singled out. It seems the low-cost air companies are really trying to get those extra Euros out of their passengers. Maybe the check-in people get a bonus for everyone their catch out, who knows.

18 April, 2010

Rhiannon, London

I agree, airlines are making more money out of shoddy information for passengers flight departures. They have failed to answer questions about liquids and hand baggage accurately, fully and responsibly.

Their robotic responses and insistance that we can find all restrictions when reading through terms and conditions are unacceptable. It is impossible to get your head around all of the t and cs prior to booking and flights.

Why they can't send an email out to customers with common problems and how to over come them I don't know, may be it is because they make more money by not letting passengers know. This would be common courtesy and I for on would find it helpful as all airports and carriers seem to have slightly different rules and regulations with regards to hand luggage for example.

Easyjet customer service has failed to answer my question about when the 1 litre max rule and when and why it exists. Why not 1.5 litres? They say they don't want to prioritise terms and conditions but a simple helpful email making customers aware of common check in problems and how to overcome them would be simple and cheap for them to implement. They easily can add on travel insurance options and car hire etc but that is because it makes them more money. Helping customers and clarifying confusing regulations does not. Disappointing but just what we expect of 'big' companies who care more about cheap add ons and profits.

I will look into taking my complaint further as they surely are not treating customers fairly or decently. Easyjet's excuse is it is a low cost airline yet it seems to be profiting out of a lack of clarity for customers. Not impressed, disappointed but equally not surprised.

4 August, 2009

Joyce Tanner, Dorset

I traveled with easyjet earlier this year with new handluggage, spot on the size or so i thought!, infact two of the measurements were smaller and one exact. nowere on its site does it mention it has to include the wheels (one inch max) anyway had to put it in that sizeing thingy and the wheels made it akward, and all the other passangers looking on. Had to pay £32 SO THEY COULD GO IN THE HOLD, not before emptying them of valubles money etc and getting in a flap and not to mention holding up the queue. What made it so unfair was my daughter and her hubby had gone on an easyjet flight with the very same bags! same airport same destination only three weeks earlier no problem. 8 july 2009

8 July, 2009

Vanessa M, Central London

I have just flown with easyjet with their one piece of hand luggage rules. They told me that although they have no limit on the weight of hand luggage that it had to be less than 10kg to be allowed through security and that I must put all my papers in my suitcase, thus incurring a 60 GBP fine. However, when I got to security I was told that there is no security weight limit at Stansted. The check in clerk wanted me to check in my hand luggage but I did not want to put valuables in the hold or pay for a second bag. So, I´d say they specialise in making as much money for the airline as possible and will even lie. Very unimpressed.

26 March, 2009

Gerry Martin, South East London

Rather than 'avoiding confusion' I think that Easyjet and the few others that limit hand baggage to one item only are being particularly obstructive to the clients. Most of the main airline carriers have relaxed their restrictions so that handbags and laptops can be taken and it is more confusing having to remember to check with each company you fly with 'just in case' - particularly as you cannot speak to a human being at Easyjet just to clarify odd points.

I have accessed various parts of the Easyjet website and one place says you can take a handbag and other items, i.e. laptop, umbrella, etc and another says only one piece - so how can they not be confusing their travellers?

In addition, on the Easyjet website it extremely difficult to get a definitive answer to whether there is a weight restriction on the hand baggage if there is no hold luggage, some places say unlimited as long as you can lift the case onto the luggage rack and others say 5kg only!

6 November, 2008

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