How strict are BA with hand luggage 2022?

Last Updated on June 6, 2022 by Henry @ The Getaway Lounge

This post is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure a high level of accuracy.

How strict are British Airways with hand luggage?

Just how strict are BA with hand luggage size and weight?

As the first to specialise in short haul flight alerts in the UK, it’s a question we’re often asked by our members, and here’s the latest.

British Airways are fairly lenient and state that if you’re travelling with hand luggage only, you’ll be allowed to take one main bag on board as well as a smaller personal item. According to them, your main bag must fit in the sizer and so be easily stowed in the overhead compartment. Your smaller item must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.

And if you’re looking for a bag which is a great fit for BA hand luggage and superb value for money – we recommend this Maximum Allowance Suitcase on Amazon.

The Getaway Lounge

British Airways main hand luggage policy

As one of the nation’s favourite airlines in terms of quality and tradition – British Airways have a generous main hand luggage allowance as follows:

56 x 45 x 25 cm (including any wheels or handles) – weighing no more than 23kg

British Airways smaller bag policy

In addition to your main bag, British Airways also allow a smaller bag which must fit under the seat in front of you.

BA state that the smaller bag must not exceed the following dimensions:

40 x 30 x 15cm – weighing no more than 23kg

Examples include a small backpack, handbag, or an airport purchase.

This therefore leaves you with even more room in your main bag to fit in clothes, toiletries and other essentials you might need for your trip!

British Airways hand luggage liquids

Like most airlines, BA allow you to pack liquids into your hand luggage as long as they are in containers with a volume of no more than 100ml.

In addition to this, all liquids must be held in a transparent, resealable plastic bag – with max dimensions of 20 x 20cm.

how strict are BA with hand luggage

My main bag is slightly oversized, should I risk it?

This is probably the most common question when it comes to British Airways hand luggage policy.

And there’s only one black-and-white answer.

Rules are rules and if you fail to comply you will run the risk of having to pay extras.

Money that could have been invested in a quality, compliant bag for years to come, like this Maximum Allowance Suitcase on Amazon.

That said, if you have a soft-edged bag which is only slightly oversized (like a backpack), you have a better chance of being able to squeeze your luggage into the sizer, if required to.

It’s also less likely you’ll be stopped in the first place, as backpacks are a lot more “hand luggage friendly”.

If you’ve got a hard case and that’s oversized, there’s no way you’ll be able to squeeze it through the dreaded cage – and so you won’t get away with it.

My main bag is slightly overweight, should I risk it?

It’s rare for airlines to investigate the weight of your hand luggage.

That said, it’s worth weighing your main bag just in case – as you should stick within the 23kg wherever possible.

But don’t worry too much if it’s slightly over – just be prepared to stick on some of your bulky clothing to bring the weight down in the unlikely event you’re checked and over the limit!

Does checking-in online make a difference?

Absolutely – by checking-in online you’re more likely to breeze through the gate.

By not checking-in online, you give yourself a better chance of being asked questions at the British Airways desk!

Besides, you should always check-in online if you plan on taking hand luggage only.

This way, you’ll have more time to get through security and relax before your flight.

British Airways hand luggage, ensuring compliance

So, if you’d rather not take the risk with British Airways hand luggage policy, we recommend a Maximum Allowance Bag on Amazon.

This way you won’t have to worry about how strict British Airways are going to be with hand luggage on the day you travel.

What’s more, these bags are also a great fit for airlines such as Jet2 and easyJet.

British Airways checked-in baggage allowance

If after reading this post you are now thinking about paying to have your luggage placed in the hold, here’s the deal:

The price for checked baggage online starts at around £35 – £120 depending on the type of luggage and destination.

It’s advisable to book online at the time you book your flights, as you’ll make considerable savings compared to purchasing at the airport.


In conclusion, British Airways have regulations which you must adhere to, otherwise you’ll risk having to pay extra on the day.

However, compared to the predominantly “budget” airlines they are fairly lenient when it comes to hand luggage.

As long as you’re sensible about it!

If you’ve already got a soft-edged bag which is slightly oversized for example, you shouldn’t worry about that too much.

Just make sure you leave enough room in your bag to squeeze the content into the rectangular sizer if needs be!

If you’ve got a suitcase which is oversized however, then this could easily cause problems and so we recommend being prepared.

If you’re still not convinced, then we recommend you pay for checked-in baggage.