What are the current airline luggage limits, and how do you stay within them?

Packing can add hundreds of euro to the cost of a family holiday, so get it right

1. Only bring what you need. Obviously what you need will depend on who you are and where you are going but an almost universally accepted fact is that we all overpack. To bring less, lay out everything you think you will need on the bed and then only pack half of it.

2. Wear your bulkiest clothes while travelling. You might not be overly comfortable plodding through the airport wearing a couple of tops, a heavy jumper, a jacket, jeans and your bulkiest shoes but you can strip off on the plane smug in the knowledge that you have more packed in your suitcase.

3. Roll rather than fold. Not only will rolling your clothes give you more space in your case, the clothes will come out less creased too. Approach folding logically. Big items – jeans and dresses are rolled first followed by t-shirts and tops. Underwear is squeezed into the gaps left after that and socks should be packed into shoes which should be put into a plastic bag and placed on top of everything.

4. Be ruthless with liquids. They’re likely to be the heaviest items in your suitcase so only pack what you absolutely need. Decant products into plastic bottles rather than carrying glass and contact lens cases are excellent liquid and cream holders if you are only going away for a short break. While they are small they carry a surprising amount.


5. Considering buying the bulkier and heavier items – towels, shower gels, sun creams – when you are overseas. Depending on where you are going such things can be very cheap and will save you space and money as you travel.

6. Make sure you know the rules. They are frequently changing and if you are not prepared the changes can come at a cost. Anyone looking to bring a 10kg bag on a short-haul Aer Lingus flight board must book “carry-on bag with priority boarding” at a cost of €5.99.

But 10kg bags can be checked in for free. If you show up at the boarding gate with your bag without paying in advance you will be charged a €35 fee. Checking in a 20kg bag is between €25 and €60 depending on the length of a flight. Priority boarding with Ryanair gets you your 10kg on board bag for “free” while if you check it in, it can cost between €12.99 and €35.99 depending on the time and distance of the flight.

A 20kg checked-in bag with Ryanair costs between €20.99 and €59.99. The pricing for the Excess baggage is €9 per each added kilogram. Oh, and it is worth noting that customers can pool or share their purchased baggage allowance with other passengers included in the same flight reservation when checking-in together. So if a reservation has two checked bags of 20kg one of the bags could weigh 15kg and the other 25kg.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast