Low-cost airline easyJet has announced a new cabin bag policy, meaning passengers can no longer bring a wheelie case or large rucksack on board for free.
The new policy means that people can only take a “small under seat cabin bag” free of charge. A spokesperson for easyJet said: “This will enable them to bring all the essentials for their journey or enough for a short trip.”
This brings easyJet in line with the stringent cabin bag policies of Ryanair and Wizz, which have each shrunk their free cabin bag allowances in recent years. Passengers booking with these airlines must pay for ‘Priority’ in order to take a bigger bag on board.
While the move has received criticism on social media, the airline is spinning the move as an improvement for passengers. Robert Carey, Chief Commercial and Customer Officer for easyJet, said: “Punctuality is important to our customers and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space on board this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too.
“Our new policy will improve boarding and punctuality for everyone, as well as give our customers certainty of what they will have with them on board.”
Those wanting to use the overhead locker space will need to book an ‘Up front’ or ‘Extra legroom’ seat, starting from £7.99. Other benefits of booking these seat types include speedy boarding and quicker bag drop for hold luggage.
On a one-way flight from London Gatwick to Barcelona on April 16, the cheapest option for adding extra cabin bag space is £16.49, adding almost 50 per cent to the value of the ticket (£34.99).
This announcement could hit the pockets of holidaymakers who have already booked flights after February 10 2021. Anyone who has already booked a regular flight ticket (not ‘Up front’ or ‘Extra legroom’) for after this date will be restricted to one under-seat bag for free, although they will have the option to place their larger cabin bag into the bag drop for free should they wish. This ‘Hands Free’ service typically costs £7 per bag per flight, or £16 for three to six bags.
There are 42 to 63 ‘Up front’ and ‘Extra legroom’ seats on each easyJet flight. However, these are all at the front of the aircraft, and it is not yet clear how the overhead locker space will be allocated. You can see easyJet’s full cabin bag policy, here.
The news has faced criticism on social media. Marta B (@heyratolina) said: “It’s outrageous! You needed the extra money from us having to check in our luggage. Next step will be selling lottery [tickets] on board, won’t it? So disappointed.”
Mark Hodson, co-founder of 101 Holidays, said: “Big decision now for airlines: do they try to attract more passengers back on board, or milk existing customers for more revenue? EasyJet appears to be favouring the latter. Shame.”
Another Twitter user, Alasdair Murray, said: “Anything to make a few more pounds, eh easyJet?” while Newcastle Flyer said: “Very disappointed to see that easyJet have decided to follow Ryanair on the race to the bottom."
Skiers have bemoaned the move. Sianisian said on Twitter: “Damn annoying for skiing. I could just cram my stuff in on carry-on bags.”
Size of bag allowed on-board for free
45 x 36 x 20cm
40 x 25 x 20cm
40 x 30 x 20cm
The winner? EasyJet will allow the biggest under-seat bags.
Permissible overhead bag (at a fee)
56 x 45 x 25cm
55 x 40 x 20cm
55 x 40 x 23cm
Winner? It's tight, but easyJet will allow the biggest bags in the overhead lockers.
Cost to take a larger bag on board
From £7.99 per bag
From £6 per bag
From €5 (£5) per bag
Winner? The prices are similar, although Wizz has the lowest starting price for additional luggage.