In Depth

Hand luggage size rules: what can you carry on a plane?

New specifications for hand luggage set to clear up the confusion over carry-on baggage allowances

150610-luggage.jpg

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) is introducing an "optimal" hand-luggage size for plane passengers in a bid to avoid confusion, arguments and bulging overhead lockers.

The industry trade body, which represents 260 major scheduled carriers, is in talks with baggage manufacturers to produce a new line of cases that fit the new dimensions, designed to make the best use of cabin storage space. These will be stamped with an "Iata Cabin OK" logo so passengers can be sure that their baggage will be allowed on board.

Several major international airlines have indicated that they will sign up to the new guidelines, but critics say the new size is smaller than many of the current maximum bag sizes stipulated by airlines.

"There has to be a size that if the passenger buys it, they know they can take it on board with them," said Thomas Windmuller, Iata's senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security. "It should speed the boarding process. We see this as a win, win, win for everybody."

Here is a breakdown of what you can take on board:

What are the present rules?

Airlines operate different specifications for passengers, which means travellers have to check with their carrier to see what is permitted. For example, maximum hand-luggage volumes can range from 41,800cm3 with Emirates to 63,000cm3 with British Airways. Windmuller says this confusion causes a "nuisance for everyone". He adds: "It is not only passengers that are suffering from not knowing which size of bag they have. You have all seen the fights at gates over whether a passenger can bring a bag on or not."

So what is Iata proposing?

Under the new guidelines, carry-on bags must be no more than 55cm tall, 35cm wide and 20cm deep. QZ says the new volume is 39 per cent down from the existing suggested standard of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. The new size was decided following consultations with Boeing and Airbus, the two biggest aircraft manufacturers. Luggage manufacturers have been sent the measurements, to enable them to design future products to the specifications. The announcement comes a week after it was reported that aircraft manufacturers are looking at ways to increase overhead locker capacity.

How are airlines responding?

Several industry giants including Emirates, Qatar and Lufthansa say that they will sign up to the guidelines. More carriers are expected to follow in the coming months. However, The Times notes that the new guidelines are smaller than the maximum allowance permitted by some leading airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic – who have yet to sign up to the standard.

What items are you allowed to carry in your hand luggage?

The government has provided an overview of items permitted and banned when boarding a plane in the UK. It advises that liquids are packed into hold baggage. However, passengers can take containers of no more than 100ml in their hand luggage. These containers must fit into a "single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm". Reassuringly, hand grenades and gunpowder are among the items completely banned.

Recommended

Will European countries follow France to ban UK travel?
President Macron at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Behind the scenes

Will European countries follow France to ban UK travel?

MH370: Godfrey theory ‘closest anyone has come’ to solving aviation mystery
Tribute to MH370 passengers
The latest on . . .

MH370: Godfrey theory ‘closest anyone has come’ to solving aviation mystery

Why is Transport for London facing a financial black hole?
London Underground
Today’s big question

Why is Transport for London facing a financial black hole?

What the HS2 U-turn means for the levelling-up agenda
Boris Johnson visits a Network Rail hub
Why we’re talking about . . .

What the HS2 U-turn means for the levelling-up agenda

Popular articles

What would a Russian ‘lightning war’ against Ukraine look like?
Members of the Kiev territorial defence forces take part in drills outside Kiev, Ukraine
Getting to grips with . . .

What would a Russian ‘lightning war’ against Ukraine look like?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Vicky McClure in Trigger Point
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik
In Depth

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?

The Week Footer Banner