How strict are Ryanair with hand luggage 2024?

Last Updated on December 30, 2023 by Henry @ The Getaway Lounge

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

How strict are Ryanair with hand luggage?

Just how strict are Ryanair with hand luggage?

Well, their latest baggage rules came into effect 1 November 2018, and they haven’t changed since…

Ryanair are quite strict and state that if you are booking a flight on their basic fare you’ll only be allowed to take a small bag on board (with dimensions no bigger than 40cm x 25cm x 20cm). They say your bag must fit in the sizer and so be easily stored underneath the seat in front of you.

So, don’t try getting through the gate with a medium-sized suitcase, but from my experience flying countless times with Ryanair a medium-sized backpack or holdall does the trick, and will fit nicely underneath the seat in front of you.

With that being said, nobody knows exactly how strict they are going to be on the day you travel – and so if you’d rather play it safe we can recommend this ‘Maximum Allowance’ backpack on Amazon which has been designed with their limits in mind, and is surprisingly roomy.

Ryanairs baggage rules

Pre November 2018

We’ve been on loads of Ryanair flights over recent years, and up to November 2018 it was easy securing enough hand-luggage on board.

What’s more, there was no need to worry about additional smaller bags such as handbags or laptop cases.

That said, it was quite often the case that those with larger wheelie bags would have them tagged at the gate and placed in the hold at no extra cost.

Now, that’s a bit of a pain for those wanting a speedy exit from the airport, and we all like to keep an eye on our luggage if possible!

Just how strict are Ryanair with hand luggage?

Ryanair now state that if you do not upgrade from their basic fare, you’ll be limited to one small bag onboard, including any handbags or laptop cases for example.

According to them, your bag must fit in the sizer and so be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.

The baggage sizer dimensions? 40 x 20 x 25 cm.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much of an allowance to us either, but that doesn’t mean your bag can’t be slightly bigger.

As long as your hand luggage is soft-sided and within just a couple of centimetres of the limits, you should be absolutely fine!

It certainly helps making it a backpack or a holdall too, as they’re a lot more “hand luggage friendly”.


Packing essentials only, you should be able to get away with a medium-sized backpack or holdall which is slightly bigger than the limits stated above.

And if you’re worried about that not being enough space, you could even try wearing some of your bulky clothing as you go through the gate…

Think coat with deep pockets stuffed with socks, over your jumper or cardigan, if you’re really looking to make the most of your hard-earned cash!

How strict are Ryanair with hand luggage


So, if you’re able to pack your luggage carefully into a sensible-sized, soft-sided bag, and be prepared to wear your bulky clothing whilst going through the gate, you’ll ultimately have more holiday spends!

If you are taking the risk with a slightly larger bag, the key is to leave enough leeway to be able to squeeze it into the sizer if required.

Besides, no one’s stopping you having a tight fit!

If you can’t travel light for whatever reason, then it is of course worth paying the extra to bring more luggage on board, and you have several options to consider at the moment.

The most popular upgrade is their so-called regular fare – which will get you 1 small bag, a reserved seat, priority boarding and a 10kg overhead cabin bag measuring 55 x 40 x 20 cm.

The regular fare will set you back around £21-£23 extra per person, per flight, depending on the route.

7 responses to “How strict are Ryanair with hand luggage 2024?”

  1. If you have any questions or feedback please let us know!

  2. Anne Deehan says:

    Haven’t flown in a while so need to know if I still need to pack toiletries in small sizes and in see through bags??
    Any other requirements for hand luggage?
    Thank you.

  3. Susan Taylor says:

    What is the cost of a case 20kg in hold

  4. Sandra Karen Gear says:

    why cant I book an extra case for 1 way only ? I often take out gifts for my grandkids, but I dont need the bigger bag for my return.

    Used to be able to book for outward flight only.

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