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Book flights? Reduced hand luggage allowances can make low-cost tickets too expensive.

The rising expense of travelling is contributing to the reduction in baggage allowances. On June 1st, Finnair’s economy light ticket within Europe will be retired and replaced by the new Superlight label. One bag that can fit under the seat in front of you; no “personal item” allowed.

According to Bernard Lavelle, chief consultant at BL Aviation consulting, the unbundling of costs makes it more difficult for travellers to compare pricing between airlines. Finnair’s current basic fare (one bag that fits beneath the seat, up to 15kg) is comparable to easyJet’s.

According to a study by the American non-profit organisation Travellers United, the share of an airline’s total revenue that comes from checked bags is growing. The percentage of revenue it generated in 2019 was 3.7%, and by 2021, it had increased to 4.6%.

Prices for add-ons like extra luggage are often listed as “from” rather than “at” by airlines. A quick search on the day of writing revealed that the cheapest round-trip fare on easyJet from London Gatwick to Amsterdam was £73.93 (departing on June 7 and returning on June 14). A round-trip flight with the cheapest available seat reservations (each way: £14.98), a big cabin bag (each way: £48.48), and a hold bag (each way: £59.48) of up to 23 kilogrammes cost a total of £196.87, including complimentary expedited boarding.

A round-trip economy class ticket on British Airways from London Gatwick to Amsterdam on the same dates would cost you £148.77 if you booked in advance. One checked bag of up to 23 kilogrammes and two carry-ons of up to 23 kilogrammes were allowed.

This is cheaper than the easyJet ssentials fare, which includes an under-the-seat bag, a hold bag for up to 23 kilogrammes, and a basic seat reservation, but costs £152.89. The alternative is to pay the recommended price of £147.91 for a Standard Plus ticket, which includes one small under-seat bag, one big cabin bag, an early seat assignment, and priority boarding. When travelling with a large cabin luggage, it may be more cost-effective to reserve a front-row or extra-legroom seat.

My quick research revealed that the lowest seats, which include a large cabin bag and fast boarding, cost an additional £65.98 each ticket, for a grand total of £139.91. The BA one-way fare with 23kg of cabin baggage and 23kg of checked baggage (but no early advance reservation or fast-track boarding) is £12.09.

EasyJet said, “customers only pay for the options they need and value, so customers can choose whether they want to select a seat or have a large cabin or hold bag and have more control over the cost of travel.”

We have useful tools like low fare finder on the website to enable customers easily identify the lowest fares, and in June, for example, a one-way ticket from London Gatwick to Amsterdam costs as little as £26.99. Currently, 50% of our ticket prices are less than £50.

Some low-cost airlines don’t enforce the under-seat ban: Jet2 permits one piece of cabin baggage (up to 10 kilogramme) and one personal item; Tui permits one piece of cabin baggage (up to 10 kg) that the client is able to move into the overhead locker.

Economy Classic passengers will still be allowed one piece of hold luggage (maximum 23kg), while Superlight passengers will be able to pay an additional €9 to €14 (£7.80 to £12.15) for a second carry-on.

Finnair’s head of product offering, Valtteri Helve, said, “Excess carry-on baggage on board is a known issue, impacting both punctuality and travel comfort, and we also regularly receive feedback on this from customers and personnel.”

“We are also improving the surveillance of carry-on baggage at airports to assist smooth boarding and on-time departures. Any additional carry-on luggage, including those that are too large, will be charged to be stored in the plane’s cargo hold.


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