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Airlines with the most generous hand luggage policies

From easyJet to Jet2 cabin bag sizes, how to max out your allowance this summer

Thousands of travellers have had their holidays ruined by last-minute flight disruption and hellish queues at UK airports this summer. 

There has also been a spike in lost and delayed luggage because of a shortage of baggage handlers.

Holidaymakers are being advised to travel with hand luggage where possible to limit the chance of hold-ups at the airport. 

Not only can you check in online and avoid one extra queue on departure, but you won’t have the wait and worry when you land that your bag might not show up on the carousel. 

The downside is you’ll have a lot less space to pack all your essentials. That’s why it’s savvy to avoid the airlines with the stingiest luggage limits - and the highest charges for adding extra bags.

Here we reveal the airlines with the most generous carry-on allowances - and share our top packing tips to maximise the space in your cabin bag.

Ranked - the best and worst airlines for 2022

Hand luggage allowances compared: budget airlines are stingiest

Free cabin bag allowance (cm)
Weight limit if applies (kg)Volume (litres)
British Airways56x45x25 plus handbag/laptop bag
Wizz Air40x30x201024

Our research shows that adding extra bags to your booking can more than double the cost of your flight. 

In 2018, Ryanair slashed the volume of its cabin bag allowance by 65% to a 40 x 20 x 25cm bag to fit under the seat in front. 

At 20 litres, that’s the size of a laptop bag - manufacturers don’t even make wheelie cases this small. 

But, when we added extra bags to return flights to Palma de Majorca, the £30 fare increased by almost £50.

Wizz Air’s maximum bag size is 5cm bigger; or for another £20 you can upgrade to priority and get an extra bag for the overhead compartment (55 x 40 x 23cm and 10kg). 

When we checked a round trip to Majorca, this was £46 - the cheapest option with a decent size bag we found.

EasyJet was once lauded for its generous cabin allowance, but this has now shrunk to a single 45 x 36 x 20cm bag. With a volume of 32.4 litres, that’s virtually half the previous 63-litre limit. 

Looking for a case that’s lightweight and durable? Here are the five best cabin bags we tested

BA hand luggage size is most generous

British Airlines has the most generous allowance of all the airlines we checked - but you’ll pay for it.

With a volume of 63 litres, the permitted 56 x 45 x 25cm case can fit three Ryanair-sized bags inside. 

Passengers are allowed 23kg of weight plus an extra handbag or laptop bag. 

Yet when we checked, a return flight to Majorca was £131 with BA – £100 more than Ryanair. 

Jet2’s cabin bag dimensions match BA’s but the weight limit is capped at 10kg. It was also the priciest fare we found at £145.

You don’t have to pay through the nose for decent luggage. These are the best cabin brands for 2022

Expert packing tips: how to maximise the space in your cabin bag

To avoid paying for extra luggage, roll (rather than fold) clothes to squeeze as much as possible in your hand luggage.

You should also fill every inch of space, for example stuffing your footwear with socks. Packing cubes and compression bags can also help. 

Our research

In January 2022, we looked at the cheapest return flight for one adult from London to Palma de Majorca for the same week in May. We compared the cheapest option available with a decent sized case (55 x 40 x 20cm minimum).