Hand luggage: How to avoid cabin baggage fees – your phone could be the key

Airlines across the world are now enforcing stringent hand luggage policies for passengers. Often this results in travellers unexpectedly being lumped with fees for oversized and overweight bags, some of which have to be checked in at the last minute.


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Of course, the one way to make sure you don’t end up out of pocket is to plan in advance.

Frustratingly, across the board airlines have varying policies, meaning what might be given the green light with one airline, could have costly consequences with another.

Take easyJet, for example, who boasts an unlimited weight allowance and a baggage dimension guide of size 56x45x25cm, including handles and wheels.

In contrast, Irish-carrier Ryanair state customers without priority tickets are only allowed to take either a personal item or a small bag measuring 25 x 40 x 20cm. These items must weigh no more than 10kg.

Nicky Kelvin Director of Content for The Points Guy UK recommending planning ahead.

He says: “Planning ahead, organising what bags you’ll need and purchasing whatever carry-on bags (and hold baggage) you need during booking can help you avoid unwanted additional charges later.

“If you’re planning on getting a new carry-on, we recommend taking your airline’s carry-on measurements along with you so ensure it meets the requirements. That way, you won’t have to pay extra in the long run.”

This can be more difficult if you are making a connection flight with a different airline.

The key here is to be sure of the measurements for the most stringent of the airlines, and ensure your luggage fits the requirements.


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So, how exactly can you measure your luggage?

You can go old school, manually weighing and measuring your bags at home before getting to the airport.

When it comes to measuring your case, be sure to measure the total linear inches of your bag.

As luggage comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, most airlines just give a linear inch guide. Measure the length, height and depth of your bag, being sure to include handles and wheels.

Household scales can be used to weigh smaller bags, meanwhile, there are luggage scales widely available for larger items. These scales simply clip to the handle of your bag and when lifted determine its weight.


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Luckily, in the age of modern technology, you may not even have to pick up a tape measure in order to be sure your bag fits the requirements.

Mobile phone apps such as InTheAir use your phone camera and specialist augmented reality technology to check your bag dimensions are correct for any given airline.

Users can simply select their airline and then use the app to measure up their bag.

“Save the awkward tape measure moments by using augmented reality technology to check bag dimensions relating to the flight you are travelling on, utilising the phone camera,” boasts an InTheAir spokesperson.

Additionally, both easyJet and Ryanair offer their own apps complete with handy bag sizing tools.

Again, both apps do all the work for you, simply using the camera on your phone.

According to easyJet the app is easy to use and allows for last-minute flexibility.

The easyJet website states: “Simply open the app and click on your trip itinerary to find the bag sizing tool. You can then use your mobile phone camera to size your cabin bag.

“If it fits inside the maximum cabin bag dimensions you’re good to go! If it doesn’t fit, don’t worry! You can always add hold luggage quickly and easily through the app.”

What’s more, the airline apps also allow you to check-in, make additional purchases such as food or seat selections, and keep you up to date with flight delays and arrivals.

The only downside of these apps is that they will only work for the associated airline.

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