Hand luggage: This handy tip could slash baggage costs in half when flying with Ryanair

When it comes to air travel, many airlines now impose luggage fees, including for those who want to take hand luggage. This is particularly true of budget airlines such as Ryanair, who allow for a small personal item, but charge a fee for those who want to take on a larger item.


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Customers who arrive at the airport with bags in excess of the set-out weight or size restrictions can face hefty fees and may even have to check their hand luggage into the hold.

While the additional fees might be a strain on the wallet of budget-conscious travellers, it can still be more cost-efficient than paying for checked luggage.

However, there is one way you can take an oversized cabin bag for a cut of the price – sometimes reducing the cost by as much as half.

The secret is as simple as planning ahead.

“Always be fully aware of baggage limits and charges,” recommends Nicky Kelvin, Editor of Content for The Points Guy UK.

“Think ahead, because it’s always so much cheaper to pay for extra bags or weight ahead of time than at the airport.”

Though every airline’s cost for additional or oversized cabin luggage is different, they nearly all offer a lower price in advance of travel. When arriving at the airport these luggage costs can as much as double.

When flying with Ryanair, travellers are permitted to bring just one small bag measuring 40cm x 20cm x 25cm that must fit into the sizer.

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Customers with luggage found to be larger than this could find themselves paying as much as £40 to check the bag into the hold at the airport, or £11 per additional kg.

However, those who plan ahead can opt for priority boarding, allowing them to take one small bag plus a larger cabin bag measuring 55 x 40 x 20cm, with a weight of up to 10kg.

Priority boarding costs between £6 and £12, plus allows travellers to board before the majority of passengers, so could be well worth it.

According to a Ryanair spokesperson: “A Ryanair spokesman said in response: “Customers who buy priority boarding board the aircraft first.

“Priority boarding customers can bring 2 free carry-on bags (1 x 10kg wheelie bag and 1 small bag). Non-priority customers are entitled to one small bag.”


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Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at travel experts The Points Guy UK told Express.co.uk: “Priority boarding can be crucial if passengers want to ensure their cabin bags are placed on-board, rather than risk being gate-checked if there’s no overhead bin space left.

“If you have no checked luggage and want to ensure a speedy exit when landing it may be worth paying extra for priority boarding whether as an added extra to your ticket price, or an annual membership fee for frequent travellers.”

Alternatively, paying for checked luggage in advance will cost almost half of the airport fee, at around £25 per bag depending on route and destination.

Not only will planning for and paying any fees in advance save you money, but it will also save you time at the airport.

When it comes to Ryanair, priority boarding is likely the best option for those going on short trips or hoping to make the most savings, but it can prove troublesome trying to fit everything you need into your hand luggage.

That’s where problem-solving and savvy packing comes into play.

“When packing your carry-on, it’s best to start by putting in your largest items first,” advised the Points Guy UK expert.

“Then, you can use the extra space to squeeze or fit smaller items in beside the larger items. Remember to best utilise space, by squeezing anything you can into an empty spot. Socks are often easy to pop in where you have some open room.

“Suitcase Tetris is a thing, so don’t think twice about unpacking, rearranging and repacking to best fit your space as many times as it takes.”

While playing suitcase Tetris, also keep in mind any weight restrictions, and be sure you know exactly how heavy your bag is before you grace the check-in desk.

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