easyJet reduces guaranteed cabin luggage towards the size of a handbag

Travellers are slowly coming to terms with the unfortunate reality that most European airlines are quietly raising their fees for checked-in baggage. In many respects this gradual move is like a stealth tax on travel and there is no sign of it getting better anytime soon.

The latest negative development comes from easyJet in the form of a new even smaller size of guaranteed in-cabin baggage, making them the strictest low-cost airline when it comes to luggage size.

easyJet's new measures for reducing baggage size were first quietly implemented in July 2013. Basically, the greatest size number which a traveller is assured to be able to carry his bag on board has been diminished from:

56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm
50 cm x 40 cm x 20cms

If you have not yet seen the new size, we recommend for a laugh that you take a look at the incredibly small cases that are now being made in line with the move by easyJet. There is just enough room for a pair of of light trousers, a shirt, 1 set of underwear, toiletries a small Macbook Air and a pen. No chance of extra shoes, unless there are flip flops replacing the trousers! My wife has bigger handbags than the new size allowance!

Nevertheless, at least easyJet has no weight limit, unlike other airlines, and charges less than the majority of the latter for exceeding the prescribed luggage size (although its main rival, RyanAir, has recently allowed customers to carry a second “small” carry-on bag and has reduced the fee for checking baggage upon arrival by 50%).

There is no evidence suggesting that easyJet's sales have been negatively affected thus far, since its decision to reduce luggage size allowance. This might be due to the fact that the new measures were cleverly marketed at increasing customer satisfaction, by ensuring customers that their bag will 'fly' with them. This is why the new measure is called 'cabin bag guarantee' after all.

The reality is however all travellers have to purchase another newly sized carry on bag to guarantee their luggage. Otherwise they can take the risk with the latest old size hoping that the flight is not a full.

On balance it should also be noted that easyJet transfers 40 more people every time it flies, than its competitors. This means that when its planes are full of passengers it cannot ensure that all cabin luggage will fly on board. This also explains why other airlines did not follow its example by reducing their luggage size allowance so far, by travellers are still hoping there are no new developments, as they always turn out to be negative towards the passenger. It is important to reiterate that travellers can still carry a kind of larger bag, although on several crowded flights it may not be allowed to fly on board.

The gap of comfort between low cost and quality scheduled airlines is ever widening, yet the difference in pricing is narrowing.

The best advice we can give is to think twice and check all factors including the hassle barometer, before going low cost.