Our guide to cabin bags and carry-on luggage

 

What is a cabin bag? Is it different to hand baggage?

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic call it “hand baggage “, EasyJet and Ryanair call them “cabin bags”, Wizzair calls them “carry-on bags” and Emirates calls it “cabin baggage”. Most travellers however call it hand luggage! 

 Confused? Don’t be as they are all totally interchangeable terms for the same thing, and as far as the airlines are concerned the rules relating to these compact pieces of luggage cover any bag or case which you plan to take on board, be this a small suitcase, a backpack or holdall or indeed your personal handbag or business bag. 

These small pieces of luggage are of course super useful for carrying everything you need for your boarding process or your flight.  As well as being an extension of your main luggage for major trips they can double up as your primary piece of luggage for shorter trips. A versatile carry-on bag or holdall can also be a great investment if you are heading off for a long weekend or a short city break. Taking just hand luggage can save you money on budget flights as well as reduce the airport delays at baggage carousels.  Of course, they are perfect for travelling by car or train too, making the most of precious boot space and fitting neatly into overhead storage areas on trains.

 

So what do we need to bear in mind when purchasing one of these essential little travel companions? 

 

What size is a cabin bag? What should it weigh? How many items can I take? Questions, questions..

 

 

The majority of airlines allow one piece per passenger plus a smaller piece (i.e. a handbag or laptop bag). However some budget airlines count a handbag as a piece of hand luggage so if you want to take both, you will need to pack your handbag or laptop bag inside until you have boarded.

Overall dimensions and weight allowances also apply to hand luggage but they do vary considerably from airline to airline and can also change from time to time. You will find a list of the current restrictions for most major airlines on this page of our website by clicking here. However see below for full details for the UK’s most frequently used airlines, B.A, Easy Jet,  Ryan Air, and TUI.

 

British Airways 

What are cabin bag restrictions for British airways? Firstly, all British Airways travellers can carry one piece of hand luggage and one smaller piece (laptop or handbag etc). 

 

  • BA Hand luggage size: 56cm x 45cm x 25cm

  • BA Small item size: 40cm x 30cm x 15cm

  • BA Hand luggage weight: Each of the two above items must not exceed 23kg

 

What if my British Airways hand luggage is too big or heavy?

If your hand luggage is found to exceed the above limits, it can be placed with your hold luggage to ensure it travels with you. If by adding this extra item your checked baggage allowance is exceeded you will be charged extra. 


View our selection of cabin bags that are perfect for taking on board British Airways flights here.

 

Ryanair

What size cabin bag can you take on Ryanair? Ryanair’s baggage allowance differs slightly from many other airlines, with an initial small baggage allowance but an easily purchased upgrade.

  • Ryanair non-priority cabin baggage restrictions

1 x small bag - 40 x 20 x 25cm

  • Priority Boarding Pass baggage restrictions

This optional paid upgrade will allow you to take an extra cabin bag with you, prices start from £6.

Hand baggage allowance - Priority Boarding.

1 x small bag - 40 x 20 x 25cm

1 x larger bag - 55 x 40 x 20cm cabin bag with a weight limit of 10kg

How strict are Ryanair on cabin bag size?  Ryanair is very strict when it comes to cabin luggage. Non Priority Boarding passenger bags that do not fit into the sizer to be stored under the seat in front will not be allowed into the cabin without a Priority upgrade. 

Does Ryanair weigh cabin bags? Yes, they can and do weigh cabin bags, with any bags weighing over the limit of 10kg subject to an excess baggage fee.

View our selection of cabin bags that are perfect for Ryanair Priority flights here.

 

easyJet

All easyJet passengers can bring one small cabin bag onboard their flight for free. Hand baggage restrictions allow a slightly larger bag to be taken on board, but for those looking to take more, there are a couple of extra paid options. If you are an easyJet Plus cardholder or a customer who has booked a FLEXI fare, you can take a large cabin bag with you also. Please note that the maximum number of cabin bags per person on easyJet is two. 

 

What is a small easyJet cabin bag?

  • Maximum size:  45 x 36 x 20cm (including any handles or wheels).

  • Maximum weight:  15kg. You must also be able to lift the bag yourself.

  • This standard carry-on allocation includes a handbag, laptop bag, rucksack or small trolley case.

 

How big is a large easyJet cabin bag?

  • Maximum size:  56 x 45 x 25 cm (including any handles or wheels)

  • Maximum weight: 15kg. Again, you need to be able to lift and carry the bag yourself.

  • Depending upon their dimensions, this includes a large rucksack or trolley bag.

 

How strict is easyJet on cabin luggage?

easyJet states that unless you pay for extra luggage you will be limited to just one bag that must fit underneath the seat in front of you. This means that your cabin bag MUST fit through the sizer at the airport check-in desk.

View our selection of cabin bags that are perfect for easyJet Flexi/up-front passengers here.

 

TUI hand luggage size restrictions

If you are travelling with TUI as part of one of their package holidays or as a flight only passenger, as default you only take 1 piece of hand luggage. The exception to this is if you pay extra by adding extra luggage on their Flight Extras website

 

 

TUI Package Holiday Cabin Luggage Allowance

  • Number of luggage pieces: 1

  • Maximum Dimensions: 55x40x20cm 

  • Maximum Weight: 10kg 

 

TUI Flight Only Cabin Luggage allowance

  • Number of luggage pieces: 1

  • Maximum Dimensions: 55x40x20cm 

  • Maximum Weight: 10kg

 

Can you take hair straighteners in TUI hand luggage?

The answer thankfully is yes,  you can carry hair straighteners in your TUI hand luggage. Straighteners, hairdryers and other small electronics such as tablets and cameras can be taken on board.

 

 

Does a handbag count as TUI hand luggage?

Yes, handbags do count as your one piece of hand luggage. The best way to get around this is to place your handbag within your cabin bag/luggage piece and remove it to use once onboard. The same rule applies to items such as laptops and items bought at the airport.

How strict are TUI with hand luggage?

Like all airlines, TUI is very strict when it comes to hand luggage. You will be limited to just one item of cabin baggage, which must fit through their sizer. 

 

Discover our collection of cabin suitcases that are suitable for taking on board TUI flights by clicking here

 

What to pack and what not to pack in your hand luggage

So you’ve checked the size of cabin bag your airline will permit and you’ve chosen one of our fabulously stylish bags. So now let’s look at what you should and what you definitely should not pack!

 

 

 

Liquids

 

Even though restrictions have been in place for a very long time for liquids in cabin luggage, many travellers are still confused about what they can bring and how to store them.

100ml is the number to remember.

The top rule to follow is that you cannot take any more than 100ml of a restricted liquid onto a flight, should you require more than 100ml of a liquid, it should be packed within your hold luggage. Not only does the 100ml limit apply to the amount of liquid, but also to the containers that the liquid is in.

When heading through security you will have to ensure that all liquids are placed within a clear polythene bag that is no bigger than 20cm x 20xm. These bags are normally available for free at the airport.  The exception to this is if you buy something larger than 100ml after you pass security, this can be taken with you on board as long as it stays sealed.

These restrictions are not only limited to liquids, products that we take for granted such as creams. lotions and pastes also count as liquids. This means that beauty products such as mascara and many other common forms of makeup will need to be placed within a single plastic bag for security.

It's so important to note that if any restricted items are found they will be confiscated! So double-check sizes of items such as fragrances or cosmetics to avoid any expensive surprises. As mentioned earlier, items purchased after passing security are not subject to these restrictions. 

 

Electrical items & gadgets

Gadgets are an important part of life and an important part of journeys for many! Generally taking small electrical items in your cabin bag is ok. You may find that each item will need to be placed through the scanner separately, but apart from that, you should have no problems with tablets, handheld devices, headphones, electric toothbrushes etc. 

 

Medicine

You are allowed to carry any essential medicines within your cabin bag but if they are over 100ml you will need supporting evidence from a medical professional such as your doctor. Medical equipment can also be taken on board if it is essential to your journey. You may find that airport staff may need to screen both liquids and medical equipment before boarding. You can of course take EpiPens and hypodermic needles with you in your hand baggage as long as you have a medical note.

Something to consider also is that you need to ensure that any medication you take with you is not prohibited in the country you are travelling to. If so you may need to get the necessary approval to travel with them. 

 

Baby food and milk

If you are travelling with a little one you are of course allowed to bring milk, food, and sterilised water for your journey. Milk is allowed in both hold and hand luggage in containers of up to 2,000ml, whilst there is no limit to the amount that you can take, it is best to check with your airport before you travel.

 

You can find the most up to date information on baby milk and food restrictions on the Gov.uk website by clicking here

 

Travelling with sharp objects

We have already covered carrying sharp objects such as hypodermic needles for medical reasons within hand luggage. Other sharp items that you can take on board include:

  • Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm)

  • Fixed-cartridge razor blades (disposable razor)

  • Round-ended/blunt scissors

  • Nail clippers/nail file

  • Tweezers

  • Knitting/sewing needles

 

Items to definitely not take

There are a number of prohibited items that you cannot take within your hand luggage when flying. The list below is not exhaustive, for a full list refer to the Gov.uk website, and if in doubt contact the airport that you are flying from.

  • Razor blades

  • Knives and scissors with a sharp or pointed blade longer than 6cm

  • Hypodermic syringes (unless for medical reasons)

  • Items that could be used as a potential weapon

  • Non-safety matches

  • Party Poppers

 

What to definitely/maybe pack

Definitely, your travel documents, passports and cash and credit cards, travel insurance policy details/contacts, mobile phone and charger. Maybe a note of your suitcase lock code? Any medication you might need on the journey

Any valuables such as jewellery, home and car keys rather than putting in your checked luggage.

Maybe entertainment and comfort items for the journey - a book perhaps or a kindle, earphones particularly noise-cancelling ones if you have them for a night flight, eye mask, travel pillow perhaps particularly if long haul economy. A warm layer for the flight is also a good idea – cabins can be chilly places even if you are flying to balmier climes and are dressing with a plan to head straight to the beach! A warm wrap that doubles as a blanket or a pillow can be useful, especially on a budget flight 

Consider a change of underwear, and /or tee-shirt if travelling afar in case of potential luggage delays at the other end particularly if your destination is remote or undeveloped.  What about some swimwear if you are due to arrive at your destination in the morning but will not be able to check-in until later? Or maybe your pyjamas if arriving very late and just want to collapse straight into bed without having to faff around opening and rummaging through your suitcase in public?

And don’t forget your sunglasses and/or a sunhat for a stylish and squint-free arrival!

 

Time for a cabin bag upgrade?

 

 

 

Now that you have found out how important cabin luggage is, and exactly what you need to take, is it time to invest in a Tripp cabin bag? We have a fabulous selection of cabin suitcases and bags that are stylish and incredibly practical to take on your journeys. Not only will you find our cabin bags perfect travelling partners, but they will also ensure you get the best out of your baggage allowance! 

 

Posted by Emma Smith
8th June 2022

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