UK’s best airline for free hand luggage has been named

Flying with hand luggage is almost always cheaper than paying extra for a hold suitcase but not all flights offer the allowance for free. While some include an under-seat bag, the likes of easyJet now charge customers for larger cabin bags which can quickly inflate the total booking cost. But according to new research, there is one airline that offers the best deals for budget travellers.

Choosing the best airline depends on many factors including the destination and price, but one of the most important things to consider is the cost of hand luggage.

For those looking to cut travel costs by flying with minimal baggage, new research from finance experts at NimbleFins has revealed that Jet2 offers the best deals.

The low-cost carrier beat the likes of easyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air for their free luggage allowance, despite the latter being known for their cheap prices.

And even luxury airlines like Emirates ranked lowly for their onboard luggage offerings.

Best airlines for hand luggage

Personal finance experts at NimbleFins looked at the top 10 most-used UK-based airlines, plus the most popular among flyers to rank 15 carriers for their hand luggage allowances.

  1. Jet2
  2. British Airways
  3. Qantas
  4. KLM 
  5. Loganair
  6. Lufthansa
  7. Aurigny
  8. Virgin
  9. Qata
  10. TUI
  11. Emirates
  12. easyJet
  13. Wizz Air
  14. Ryanair
  15. Aer Lingus

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Jet2 allows all passengers to board with a free large carry-on plus a smaller, under-seat bag.

British Airways allows the same, however, Jet2 outranked the carrier because it had unspecified dimensions for the under-seat bag, meaning travellers could bring larger items than BA’s restricted size.

While easyJet ranked lowly for free hand luggage, the budget airline’s allowance for total hand luggage capacity per customer, meant it topped the chart as the best airline.

According to the finance experts, the total allowance for free and paid cabin bags amounted to 95,400cm3, compared to Jet2 at 87,000cm3.

Customers travelling with Qantas are entitled to 70,368cm3 of free hand luggage, earning it a spot in third place.

The airline’s website states that Economy passengers are entitled to carry on one 115cm bag which must not exceed the dimensions of 56cmx36cmx23cm and weigh more than 7kg, or a 185cm non-rigid garment bag which must not exceed the weight restriction.

According to the research, “no-frills” and budget airlines easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and Aer Lingus allow a small under-seat bag for free, but all charge extra for a larger bag.

Ryanair has the strictest size limits for paid luggage at 55 x 40 x 20cm.

However, easyJet does offer the most generous paid-for cabin bag allowance at 56 x 45 x 25cm. 

Erin Yurday, CEO and co-founder of NimbleFins said: “Anyone who’s booked a flight will have at some point got that niggling feeling about whether their hand luggage will follow an airline’s regulations.”

Getting the dimensions wrong by even a few centimetres can cost customers close to £100 on some airlines, including Ryanair. The budget carrier charges £45.99 if your bag is found to be too big at the boarding gate, plus £35.99 to put the bag in the hold on the return journey – or face another £45.99 fee at the gate.

Erin added: “It’s worth bearing these volumes in mind when it comes to booking your next flight. A journey that looks cheap can quite easily become pretty expensive once you’ve added the hidden cost of luggage into the mix.”

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