Words by Lizzie Porter
easyJet has removed its two-tier cabin baggage policy meaning that passengers could now face the inconvenience of having their carry-on luggage placed in the hold.
Until recently the low-cost carrier guaranteed that passengers with cabin luggage measuring 50 x 40 x 20cm or less would be able to keep their bags with them throughout their flight.
Customers were able to bring a bag up to a maximum of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, but those with larger bags risked having their luggage taken away and put in the hold at the gate on busy flights.
However, the Luton-based carrier has changed its rules so that passengers might now lose their baggage at the last minute on busy flights, even if bags fall well within the size restrictions.
Although bags that fall within the size limitations are placed in the hold at no extra cost in such situations, it means passengers face a wait at the baggage carousel at their destination airport, and may be left without essentials packed in a carry-on bag.
Standard easyJet passengers are now entitled to bring one cabin bag measuring up to the larger size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm including wheels and handles, but may have to sacrifice it to the hold on busy routes, and face strictly-enforced checks that ensure no additional bags are carried. One bag of duty-free items from shops in the airside departures area is also permitted.
Flyers with privileges are allowed a second bag. “EasyJet Plus” cardholders, as well as those who pay extra for either flexible fares, more legroom, or “Up Front” seats, are allowed to bring another cabin bag of up to 45 x 36 x 20cm.
These customers also stand the best chance of keeping their carry-on luggage in the cabin as they are entitled to “speedy boarding” and so will be the first to board the aircraft before space in the overhead lockers becomes limited.
Up Front seats typically cost £9.99 (A$21) per person, while easyJet Plus membership is from £170 (A$350) a year.
Passengers caught carrying hand luggage larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm face a charge of £30 (A$65) to place it in the hold at the bag drop, or £45 (A$95) at the gate.
easyJet’s removal of its two-tier policy may mean standard passengers could feel better off flying with Ryanair, which allows all customers to bring one standard piece of cabin baggage measuring up to 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, as well as one smaller handbag or laptop case. As with most airlines, however, the Irish carrier does still place some passengers' carry-on bags in the hold on busy flights.
The latest tightening of hand luggage restrictions comes after British Airways decreased on-board allowances. From August 18, the national carrier is reducing the permitted size of second carry-on bags from 45x36x20cm to 40x30x15cm. The size of the main piece of hand luggage – which is often a wheel-on bag – will remain the same at 56x45x25cm.
easyJet customer Philip Wilson said that the two-tier system was “just confusing”, but that the airline should make it clearer that no bag is 100 per cent guaranteed in the cabin: “[This would] spare the air crew having to deal with angry customers quibbling about the exact size of their overfull bags, broken promises and passenger rights – cause for flight delays, in my opinion.”
Mr Wilson is travelling to Greece with easyJet next month and has purchased an extra legroom seat, in the hope this will near-guarantee that his cabin baggage comes on board with him. “We’re fingers crossed that buying queue jumping status, printing out our boarding passes before we leave home and keeping our bags just under the maximum size will ensure speedy passage through the airports both ends, no carousel and first in the taxi queue.”
An easyJet spokesperson did not give a reason why the two-tier policy had been removed, but explained that as of March 19 it had been replaced with a second bag allowance for passengers in Up Front seats and easyJet Plus card holders. “We also have one of the most generous cabin bag policies with no weight limit”, the company added.
This article was written by Lizzie Porter from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.