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Thread: European Budget Carry-on limits

  1. #1
    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    European Budget Carry-on limits

    Before I bought my Aeronaut recently, I researched the four budget airlines that I fly with most often, and one more that I may use, in order to see which of the three principle Tom Bihn travel bags were compatible with the allowances. I thought that this might be interesting for others who may be contemplating some European travel in the near future.

    I should say that, in the main, these are all similar to the 45" rule (115c.m.), but here they are very strict about the ratio of the lengths e.g. Ryanair's 55x45x20 is 115c.m., but if you turn up with a bag 50x50x15 or 55x35x25 they will make you check it - and charge you. Anything close will be tested and your bag may also be weighed and one kilo over will not go down well! All of these airlines limit you to 10kilos (22lb). And its strictly, absolutely one bag, nothing extra. A friend tried to get on a Ryanair flight in January with a cup of coffee in her hand. She had two options; ditch the coffee, or put it in her bag. She put it in her bag with inevitable consequences!

    Note all of the airlines use those metal framed testers. Some, however are vertical in operation (e.g. Ryanair, Flybe) so height and depth are more critical, whereas others are horizontal (e.g. Easyjet, Jet2) so length and depth matter more. Always depth matters most so don't over pack.

    On the plus side, and the reason I went for the Aeronaut, despite what you're just about to read, is that all Tom Bihn bags, and especially the Aeronaut are squash-able, and therefore I hope it can be squeezed it to the baggage testers so long as its not over stuffed. This wouldn't be the case with rigid cases. I'm flying with Easyjet on Wednesday, which should be fine, as they are the most generous, but while I'm at the airport, I intend to try all of the size testers out. I'll try to get photos, but I believe its frowned upon to take photos in the airport so we'll have to see.

    Although Flybe is the most restrictive, to date they have been the least strict about enforcement. Last time I went with them, I had an overstuffed 30 ltr rucksack that wouldn't have gone near their tester simply because of its round section, plus I had my iPad Ristretto (a second bag is an absolute no-no here) and not only did no-one stop me, but the hostie put it in the bin for me.
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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your research results. As so many airlines are strictly enforcing their own set of rules, it really helps to know what bag to pack and the true limits of one-bag and knowing if one can be able to sneak on a small purse, or even a cup of coffee! Yikes.

    Also, I was not aware - or never clued in - that different airlines may use a vertical or a horizontal tester. That will certainly make a difference even if one's bag technically would fit the measurement restrictions.

    I do hope they allow you to take a few photos!

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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Thanks, Eric. Since I fly only the budget airlines within Europe that is very helpful. Last time I was there they were very inconsistent about enforcing the one piece rule, but they DO love to charge extra. It is amazing how many people try to get away with ridiculous things by arguing. My favorite was a musician with an instrument case (fairly large) who tried to get a huge bag of music by them as well. Yelling didn't work to get it through but he gave it a good try!

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Pics taken, story coming soon. Good news or bad? A bit of both? Wait and see!

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Well I took a trip down to Bristol last Wednesday and got back yesterday. Whilst at the airport, I took the opportunity to try my new Aeronaut in a few of the hand luggage testers. I got spotted, and got a bit of chat, but I still have the snaps!

    I was flying with Easyjet, but, very oddly, they won't let you near their tester till you're about to fly, when there is a big queue and so no chance for a pic. However, its the same size as British Airways, and the largest allowance. Also Easyjet has no weight restriction, so long as you can put it up in the overhead bin unaided.

    Ryanair is 20% thinner and has a 10Kg (22lb) weight restriction and it takes the bags vertically, meaning that the length is less critical, but the height and thickness matter more.

    Finally, Flybe. They are back to the full 25cm (10"), but only 50cm (20") length. A bit of a problem as the Aeronaut is 55.5cm long!

    However, the Aeronaut passed all tests with flying colours! This was due totally to the non rigid nature of the bag. Granted, I hadn't stuffed it 100% full. It had a full 10Kg loaded, but there was a bit of space left. in the main compartment, I'd put in four shirts, four t-shirts, four pairs of sock, four pairs of under pants, one pair of trousers, a large organiser pouch with paperwork in it (1" thick), my ristretto (containing my iPod, 1 med, 2 small, 1 mini organiser pouches, an organiser wallet, my change purse, a small torch, and a pen), a woollen scarf, my flat cap and a shoe horn. The end pouches had a clear organiser cube, a small pouch containing my razor kit, a small padded pouch with computer dongles wires etc, a superdrive sized padded pouch containing my camera, an A5 Black & Red hardbound note book, a folding grabber and a well stuffed Filofax.

    So, here's the pics. Apologies for the quality as I had to use my phone to be discreet. Also, there isn't much of the Aeronaut showing, which is a shame!
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    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    Hi Fat Crip,
    The fact that we can't see much of the bag is a good thing. That means it fit in the sizer with some to spare. No bag checking required, works for me. Thanks for the photos.
    Happy travels,
    Moose
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your research efforts, the detailed listings and photos of your results. Very grateful!

    Surprised to learn that Easyjet won't let you try the tester until you are about to fly. So they can slap you with a fee at the last minute when you have no time to rearrange anything?

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maria View Post
    Surprised to learn that Easyjet won't let you try the tester until you are about to fly. So they can slap you with a fee at the last minute when you have no time to rearrange anything?
    They, unlike most of the other airlines, lock them away as soon as the flight takes off. Actually, so does BMIbaby. Though I haven't flown with them for years.

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Maybe they are afraid someone will try to steal them?!

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Just thought I'd add that another contributor, bchaplain, reports that Helvetic airlines have a 5Kg ( 11lb) weight limit. He didn't mention size, but, unless you're carrying a bag full of helium balloons, your 5Kg bag will never be big enough to cause much concern!

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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Icelandair has a 6kg carry on limit. Boohoo, I'll have to check a bag for the 2nd time in about 6 years. I will however take pics of my tom Bihn bag in Iceland.
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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    I was in Alicante's new airport terminal today (total chaos for us wheelchair users!), and took a look at the hand-luggage testers for a couple of more airlines. Unfortunately I couldn't get any pictures as I was waiting for the Sin Bareras girl, but both BMIBaby.com and AirLingus both have the same size limits as EasyJet/British Airways, above i.e. what I would call 'full-size' Aeronaut size. Both have a 10Kg (22lb) allowance.

    I was flying with RyanAir, and I noticed that everyone whose bag looked even close to the limit was put in the tester. If it failed they gate checked. Plus they were very, very strict on the one bag and nothing extra rule. No hand-bags, coats, carrier bags, food, cameras or anything got passed the gate staff, and many complained that they'd brought the same bag out without a problem! My Aeronaut was fine. They didn't even check it, despite their tester being 5c.m. (2") shallower than 'standard' i.e. 20c.m. (8") rather than 25 c.m. (10").

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    I travel quite a lot within Europe (mostly UK, Ireland and Italy) always with low-cost companies. In my experience RyanAir is the most strict, they do try in the hand-luggage testers every bag before right before departure. I travel with my Aeronaut and usually manage to pass the flight assistant scrutiny without having to test the bag! A trick I have learned: they don't usually weight your hand baggage (if it looks ok), so if you manage to stay in the dimension limits you can sneak in a kilo or two more (those massive Toblerone you only find in the airport).

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipCurl View Post
    I travel quite a lot within Europe (mostly UK, Ireland and Italy) always with low-cost companies. In my experience RyanAir is the most strict, they do try in the hand-luggage testers every bag before right before departure. I travel with my Aeronaut and usually manage to pass the flight assistant scrutiny without having to test the bag! A trick I have learned: they don't usually weight your hand baggage (if it looks ok), so if you manage to stay in the dimension limits you can sneak in a kilo or two more (those massive Toblerone you only find in the airport).
    It depends on the airport. I've never seen them weigh a bag in Edinburgh, for example, but in Alicante they frequently weigh hand luggage at the main check-in desk. This, of course is bizzar! You can add anything you like in the two hours between then and take-off as they don't have scales at the gate! You're quite right about the size checks though, anything dodgy and they test it.

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    Per Fat Crip's request, here's the picture I took of my Aeronaut in the Allegiant Air sizer. Allegiant is a US carrier so its restrictions are not nearly as stringent as those of the European airlines. I will say that I was surprised at how easily the Aeronaut slid in and out of the sizer. I was expecting to have to squeeze the bag to get it to fit but I didn't need to. Yay Aeronaut!


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