As of January 2018, the Ryanair hand luggage policy was changed drastically. The way the new policy is worded can be confusing to people and makes it sound like you have to pay extra to bring hand luggage. This change has already come into effect but not many people really understand what it means for them. So, before you start accepting these extra changes without really knowing what you’re paying for, I’ll try to explain it in a little easier to understand way.
Ryanair has recently changed their hand luggage policy because too many people were taking large hand luggage bags. There wasn’t enough room for them in the cabin which meant only some people could keep their bags with them. Ryanair staff had to count how many large bags were going into the cabin and when it reached a certain number no more were allowed. They then had to take these large bags off everyone else and put them in hold luggage instead.
The new policy is that now no one can take these large bags into the cabin. They will be taken off everyone at the gate and your bags will then be put in the hold free of charge. This means you can still take the same amount of hand luggage as you could before the policy change but it will have to go in the hold. The only difference from before is that you will now have to wait for your bags to be unloaded at the airport. You will then pick up your hand luggage at the baggage carousel like you would with hold luggage.
If you don’t want to wait for your bags or are taking lots of things you will need whilst on the plane, you will need to pay for priority boarding. This allows you to be one of the first on the plane as well as being able to take a large bag and smaller personal item into the cabin. A personal item can be a small handbag, umbrella, laptop bag or something similar. The way the new Ryanair baggage policy is worded, many people think they have to pay for priority tickets to take any hand luggage but this simply isn’t true.
Often the main reason people travel with only a large hand luggage bag is that they don’t want to pay extra for hold luggage. If this is the case, it doesn’t matter if your hand luggage bag gets put under the plane anyway. If you had been given free hold luggage included in the price of the flight you would of have to wait for your baggage so whats the difference? There’s no point paying extra to keep your hand luggage with you if you don’t mind waiting for it. The changes to the Ryanair hand luggage policy essentially mean that tickets with them now include free baggage allowance even if it’s a lot smaller than other airlines.
On top of this, if your bag does need to go in the hold you can still take a second smaller bag with you. This means you can put anything you will need on the plane, like passports, books and snacks, into this bag to stay with you while the rest of your luggage goes into the hold. Which overall means you don’t need to worry about carrying a heavy bag, finding room for it in the overhead lockers, then finding it again when you land.
The Ryanair hand luggage policy states that you can have a large cabin bag of up to 10kg no more than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm plus a small bag of no more than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm. The larger bag is the one that will be moved into the hold if you do not pay for priority tickets. Often hand luggage bags aren’t weighed or measured since you don’t need to check them in anywhere so you can sometimes get away with slightly more. It is only if it looks obviously larger than it should that it will get picked up. But if your bag is too large or overweight you can be charged high fees for this so overpacking is at your own risk.
Also from my recent experiences with Ryanair flights, the bags that are allowed in the cabin are actually a lot bigger than the official dimensions. It seems that backpacks and hold-alls are acceptable but the small wheeled suitcases are not. It is stated on Ryanair’s site that this is subject to staff discretion though so it might depend on the flight you’re taking. Remember that even though your large bag will be going in the hold, it still has to pass through security first. This means you must still follow all restrictions on what you can carry such as liquid quantity limits.
Despite the confusion regarding it, I do think that the new Ryanair hand luggage policy is a good thing. It saves time meaning there will be fewer flight delays and saves hassle getting large bags on and off the plane. There is no need to pay for priority if you don’t want to so will make no difference to the price. I think the wording of the policy may be a little difficult to understand but once people get used to it the changes will be good. Other budget airlines may even follow suit if it works well so this kind of policy may become even more common.