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Size does matter

Airport Parking and Hotels compares hand luggage restrictions across 27 airlines

Of the 27 airlines surveyed, eight including American Airlines, BMI and easyJet imposed no maximum weight allowance. However, the remaining airlines' allowances for hand luggage were found to vary greatly.

Flybe recently announced an increase in the size of their complimentary hand luggage allowance seemingly reversing the trend of the last few years. As a result Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has compiled an up to date comprehensive guide to hand luggage regulations for 27 airlines. The research is available in the Know Before You Go section of the website, at

The table highlights the maximum size and weight allocation for hand luggage for both short and long-haul economy class flights. It also outlines restrictions such as the extra allowances available for customers travelling with children and the additional charges that may be imposed should passengers arrive at the departure gate with oversized hand luggage.

Of the 27 airlines surveyed, eight including American Airlines, BMI and easyJet imposed no maximum weight allowance. However, the remaining airlines’ allowances for hand luggage were found to vary greatly, with Virgin Atlantic offering a maximum weight of only 6kg and British Airways offering up to 23kg.

There is a major problem with hand luggage regulations in that different Airlines use inconsistent measurements. Some simply use weight, many list the length, height and width that is allowed for hand luggage and some, bizarrely perhaps, add the total in centimetres of  the 3 sides (l+h+w). Many a GCSE maths student would tut at the thought of this as they would expect to have to multiply rather than add these dimensions to get a volume in cubic centimetres.

British Airways offers the largest pieces of hand luggage in terms of dimensions, allowing passengers to carry on hand luggage within 126cm or 56cm x 45cm x25cm. EasyJet, Lufthansa, Monarch and Thai Airlines also offer 126cm of hand luggage, however the smallest in terms of dimensions was found to be American Airlines, at 114cm or 56cm x 35cm x 23cm.

Out of the 27 airlines reviewed, 18 were found to allow customers to carry-on an additional personal item as well as a standard article of hand luggage. Some airlines specify what this must be, for example Iberia allow a small handbag or briefcase, a laptop or a nursery bag carrying baby food. British Airways allows a laptop or handbag that must be a maximum of 46cm x 36cm x 20cm in dimensions and light enough to lift into an overhead locker. Other airlines such as KLM allow any item that is the size of a handbag or laptop.

Other restrictions and additional allowances for each airline are also highlighted in the research. For example, some airlines such as Air France allow parents to bring pushchairs free of charge and Japan Airlines allows passengers to buy additional seats for an extra fee (from £82) for their comfort (when travelling with breakable carry-on items such as musical instruments or paintings).

Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) is the UK’s award winning long stay airport parking operator and booking agency, after winning the Best Airport Parking Company for a second year running at British Travel Awards 2011. This year APH also celebrates its 32nd year as a retailer and operator of pre-booked airport parking and travel extras. APH offers parking at all major UK airports as well as airport hotels packaged with parking and airport lounges. APH is also a carbon balanced company and has, through support of the World Land Trust, helped purchase more than 1,000 acres of endangered rainforest.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.