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Hand Luggage Restrictions and Recommendations

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a trade association that help formulate aviation industry policies on critical issues. It’s important to understand that the IATA can only offer guidance to the industry and cannot set or create policies; this is something that caused some confusion earlier this year.
IATAIn June 2015, the IATA attempted to change hand luggage guidelines when they announced their new initiative called ‘Cabin OK’. The plan was to get airlines to agree to impose the new guidelines which demanded stricter controls on the size of carry-on bags.


Airlines are free to set their own hand luggage restrictions, and there hasn’t been one set fast rule that should be adhered to by both passengers and airlines. As a result airlines have put in place their own systems that work for both the passenger and their logistics. Lower fuel and runway costs for airlines will impact on ticket prices, meaning passengers can find more affordable airfares.


Some airlines supported the IATA’s Cabin OK initiative whilst the majority refused to change their restrictions and as a result the IATA, rather embarrassingly, promptly withdrew Cabin OK. In a statement, the IATA, informed the industry that the Cabin OK initiative had been put on hold until further notice.

How did the IATA’s Cabin OK initiative measure up?


Most airlines have dimensions that seem to be very similar, for example Ryanair’s main bag restrictions are 55x40x20cm whilst EasyJet dimensions are 56x45x25cm. The slight variations do however make a big difference to how much a passenger can pack, having a few extra t-shirts or maybe a hair dryer.

Some airlines are more generous than others and allow passengers to take a second hand luggage item for free. You can find more information on our post regarding Free Hand Luggage Allowances, click here.

The Most Commonly Used Hand Luggage Dimensions

55x40x20cm – Ryanair, Pegasus, Aer Lingus, Areoflot

All the above mentioned airlines offer their passengers the option to take a second bag.

Cabin Max Recommendation – Oxford Range



55x40x25cm – Volotea, Transavia

Cabin Max Recommendation – Tallinn

Tallinn 3

55x40x23cm – Turkish Airlines, Air Berlin, Lufthansa, Flybe, Iceland Air, Germanywings

Cabin Max Recommendation – Palermo

Palermo group

55x35x25cm – KLM, Alitalia, Air France

Cabin Max Recommendation – Geneva

Geneva group

56x45x25cm – British Airways, Iberia, Jet2, EasyJet, Finnair

Cabin Max Recommendation – Metz

Metz group

56x40x25cm – Virgin Atlantic, South African Airways, American Airlines

Cabin Max Recommendation – Malmo

Malmo group


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