Britain's biggest budget airline is halving its cabin baggage allowance for passengers paying cheaper fares. From 10 February 2021, most easyJet passengers will be restricted to a small bag that fits under the seat in front.
The airline says: "This will enable them to bring all the essentials for their journey or enough for a short trip.”
The move follows Ryanair’s downsizing of hand luggage, but is even more drastic – because there is no option for an ordinary passenger to pay extra to bring a larger bag into the cabin.
As is currently the case on easyJet flights, travellers who pay extra for an “upfront" or extra legroom seat will be able to bring a larger bag in addition to the smaller one. Passengers holding easyJet Plus cards, or who pay higher “flexi” fares will also be allowed two bags.
For everyone else, the new easyJet limit for cabin baggage is 45x36x20cm, a volume of 32.4 litres – barely half the current limit of 63 litres, with a bag measuring 56x45x25cm.
The rule applies to all new bookings. On a one-way flight from Manchester to Faro on 1 April, the standard fare is £62. The minimum extra charge allowing two cabin bags is £21 – increasing the cost by one-third.
The airline is portraying the move as a passenger benefit, saying: “The limited overhead locker space on aircraft has meant that customers can’t always be certain they will have their cabin bag onboard with them.
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“The new policy will also reduce queue times during boarding and other associated delays which occur due to putting excess cabin bags in the hold and so the move will lead to improved punctuality for all customers.”
There are between 42 and 63 upfront and extra legroom seats on each easyJet flight. All the seats that allow extra bags to be brought are in the front of the aircraft, and it is unclear how the overhead locker space will be allocated.
Passengers who have an existing booking for travel from 10 February will be offered the chance to check in a bag up to the existing hand-luggage dimensions for free.
Ryanair has a limit of 40x25x20cm, with a volume of 20 litres. It offers “priority plus two cabin bags” at extra cost.
Rob Burgess, editor of the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website, Head for Points, said: “It is disappointing to see easyJet following Ryanair and Wizz Air with charges for using the overhead bins.
" A lot of their core business passengers will find that their laptop bag does not meet the guidelines for fitting under their seat.
"With passenger demand not predicted to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023, it seems foolish to alienate customers in this way. British Airways will be delighted to see some clear water opening up between their policies and their biggest UK competitor for short-haul business passengers.“
BA allows two piece of cabin baggage, each weighing up to 23kg.