EasyJet will start limiting the number of bags that passengers can stow in overhead lockers by only allowing passengers that pay more to sit closer to the front of the plane or for seats with additional legroom to bring larger bags onboard. The move, which will come into effect on February 10, 2021, is aimed at reducing delays by reducing the amount of time passengers take to board and in taking excess hand luggage off passengers to put in the aircraft hold, the airline claims.
The policy is similar to one introduced by rival low-cost airline Ryanair in 2018 who also said they had made the decision to reduce delays. Ryanair previously had a strict cabin baggage policy but when the rules were relaxed in 2017, the airline says it noticed a significant rise in delays that it blamed on customers trying to bring more luggage onboard than could fit in the overhead lockers.
easyJet will allow all its customers to bring a small bag that can fit underneath the seat in front but only passengers who have paid extra for an ‘Up front’ or ‘Extra legroom’ seat will be able to bring onboard a larger bag that’s stowed in the overhead lockers. easyJet Plus cardholders and FLEXI fare customers will also be allowed to use the lockers but only if there’s enough space.
The airline says there are between 42 and 63 seats onboard each flight that will come with an allowance for an additional piece of hand luggage.
Most customers who don’t want to pay for a full-sized suitcase will instead need to pay £7 for their hand luggage to be stowed in the hold. There are discounts for groups with between three and six bags costing just £16.
Customers who have already booked a flight for travel after February 10 but haven’t reserved a special seat will be able to take advantage of the ‘Hands Free’ option for free.
“Punctuality is important to our customers and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space onboard this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too,” explained easyJet’s chief commercial and customer officer, Robert Carey.
The move is unlikely to prove popular, however, will customers already complaining that easyJet is attempting to make a quick buck by charging for a service that used to be free. Excess hand luggage can, though, cause very real delays despite attempts by some aircraft manufacturers to make ever-larger overhead lockers that can swallow up even the most generously sized cabin bags.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.