Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Has easyJet let down its passengers with new on-board travel bag sizes?

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Q.  With the announcement of the new guaranteed on-board travel bag sizes by easyJet from 2 July, it seems the luggage industry has been caught out. It's almost impossible to find luggage 50 x 40x 20. We have also just bought a 55x40x20 case and it will not qualify after 2 July 2013. Would you agree that easyJet has let down its passengers?

Ken Stone

A No. The airline's generous free cabin-baggage allowance, permitting a case of up to 63 litres with no weight limit, will continue. Other budget carriers either allow only modest amounts to be carried in the cabin, or - in the case of Wizz Air - are charging for carrying more than a laptop or handbag on board.

In contrast, easyJet's move is designed to modify the behaviour of a proportion of passengers to solve a familiar problem. Anyone who has flown on a busy easyJet flight, especially with lots of business travellers, will know that a frequent feature of such flights is that there is not sufficient space for "legal" cabin baggage (ie not exceeding the dimensions of 56 x 45 x 25cm). Excess cases are removed either at the gate or on board. There is no charge, but passengers have the inconvenience of no access to their cabin baggage, some risk of damage, and having to wait at the baggage carousel for their possessions.

All easyJet is doing is formalising the reality that, unless you have a bag small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, it will make no guarantees that you will be able to take it on board.

I sympathise with your just having bought a 55x40x20 case - total volume, 44 litres and acceptable on Ryanair. But I wouldn't worry about buying a smaller one; if easyJet has judged it right, other passengers will help relieve the squeeze.

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