The big 6 budget airlines: how their luggage rules & prices compare
Hot on the heels of Ryanair, low-cost carrier Wizz have changed their rules about carry-on bags. We take a look at the top six budget airlines to see how their latest luggage regulations measure up….
Back in August Ryanair shook up their cabin baggage rules, and now Hungarian airline Wizz have followed suit. If it's all making your head spin, don’t panic: we’ve come to the rescue with the ultimate guide to baggage allowances, both carry-on and checked luggage, for our favourite budget airlines.
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? From 1 November 2018, every passenger can bring a small cabin case (measuring 40x30x20cm) onboard. However only passengers who opt for Wizz Priority boarding will be able to take a trolley bag into the cabin. Wizz Priority starts from about £4.30 (€5) although this will entitle you to priority check-in and boarding too.
Any size restrictions? Your free trolley bag can't be any larger than 55x40x23cm.
What if I want to check something in? Wizz Air is really trying to simplify the system by introducing new allowances, paid for when you book. You can check in a maximum of one bag of 10 kg, two bags of 20 kg, or three bags of 32 kg. (Wizz has also said that bookings without Wizz Priority made before 10 October for travel after 1 November will be offered a free 10kg checked-in bag. Those bookings with a checked-in bag will be upgraded with Wizz Priority.)
Our verdict: The new rules are certainly straightforward to understand, but with customers being charged for carry-on bags that were previously free, it's unlikely to be a popular decision.
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? Yes, but just the one cabin-sized bag. Flexi, Upfront, Extra Legroom customers or easyJet Plus cardholders can bring a second small bag.
Any size restrictions? No weight restrictions, but it can't be larger than 56x45x25cm.
What if I want to check something in? Fees vary according to route, but going by a randomly-selected date for a London to Amsterdam flight, if you add check-in luggage when booking you'll pay £14 for a bag weighing up to 15kg or £17 for a bag weighing up to 23kg, one way. The website warns that adding check-in bags at the airport will cost more, but doesn't disclose how much.
Our verdict: We love the comparatively generous hand luggage allowance, and, as long as you add them at booking stage, checking in bags won't cost the earth, either.
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? Yes, but only one a very small bag. You'll have to sign up to the Priority & 2 Cabin Bags, Flexi Plus, Plus or Family Plus schemes to take a second bag. If you don't, currently, it will be put into the hold when you board, free of charge.From 1 November, 2018 Ryanair's carry-on allowance will get even smaller and customers who wish to bring a 10kg carry-on bag must pay for Priority boarding (£6 at the time of booking or £8 at anytime after). Cabin crew will no longer stow luggage for free, you'll have to pay £8 at the gate if you turn up with your bag and haven't paid for Priority boarding.
Any size restrictions? Ryanair's carry-on allowance is notoriously tiny and your free bag can't be larger than 35x20x20cm. If you're a member of one of the schemes mentioned above, you're allowed a second carry-on bag weighing up to 10kg and no larger than 55x40x20cm.
READ MORE: Tried & tested: 5 of the best carry-on bags
What if I want to check something in? It's £25 for a 20kg bag. But don't go over as you'll pay an eye-watering £10 per extra kilo.
Our verdict: Ryanair's great if you're travelling alone or for work, but if you're with the kids the costs can soon rack up. The Family Plus tickets may well be worth the extra cost if you're taking checked bags, although prices vary between flights and can be an extra £100 for a family of four. If you don't pay for Family Plus, and there is more than one adult travelling, keep in mind you'll be asked to pay extra when you reserve seats in order to sit together anyway.
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? Yes, just the one bag. Jet2 don't bombard you with ads for upgrade packages which allow for larger luggage allowance either, which is great if you’re travelling light.
Any size restrictions? It can't be larger than 56x45x25 or weigh over 10kg.
What if I want to check something in? Costs vary according to route and time of year. For example, if you fly from London to Salzburg in early December and request one check-in bag of up to 22kg, you'll pay £24, one way.
Our verdict: The check-in allowance weight might seem generous, but fees are more expensive than other airlines.
READ MORE: The airlines with the best free stopovers
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? Yes. There's are Flex and PremiumFlex packages for those who need more weight, but the extra carry-on allowance is only 5kg more.
Any size restrictions? One bag, not larger than 55x40x23cm, and one personal item such as laptop bag. The weight of both items can't exceed 10kg. If you have to check a carry-on bag due to it being overweight, you'll be charged £40 (national flights) or £70 (international).
What if I want to check something in? Your best option (if travelling on a basic ticket) is to upgrade to LowFare+, which allows you to check in one bag weighing up to 20kg. This costs £50 extra on long haul fights and £15 on short haul flights (one way).
Our verdict: Great if you’re travelling on your own but the added extras quickly build up if you're a family travelling with checked baggage.
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock
Is carry-on luggage included as standard? Yes. We also love the fact that baggage-related upgrade options are displayed refreshingly clearly, allowing you to see what's included from the start.
Any size restrictions? One bag no larger than 42x32x25cm or weighing over 10kg. You can add another carry-on bag (no larger than 56x45x25cm) for an additional fee. Prices vary according to route, but adding a second carry-on bag no larger than 56x45x25cm on a September return flight from London to Reykjavik will cost £22.21. Add it at the airport and you'll pay £37.03.
What if I want to check something in? Again, prices vary according to route, but you'll pay around £29 to check in a bag weighing up to 20kg on a September return flight from London Gatwick to Reykjavik. That's if it's added at the booking stage - add it at the check-in desk and you'll pay £51.
Our verdict: Wow Air offers a comprehensive range of add-on options for everything from skis and golf clubs to additional cabin bags, and their fees are pretty reasonable, compared to other airlines - as long as you add checked luggage when you book.
Now tell us what you think...
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