EasyJet’s new baggage policy makes zero sense, and here’s why

Nov 4, 2021

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European low-cost airline EasyJet has announced new changes to its cabin baggage policy, and there’s good and bad news. But mostly, it’s confusing.

The new update will allow passengers who have purchased an EasyJet Standard fare the option of paying an additional fee to take their full-sized cabin bag on board, when booking via the EasyJet app.

Previously, from early 2021, the airline would only allow those passengers who had purchased a more expensive Standard Plus fare to bring a full-sized cabin bag on board. Given Ryanair and Wizz Air also charge extra for full-sized cabin bags, this policy did not sound unusual or unreasonable, however, the Standard Plus fares were confusing and somewhat passenger unfriendly:

  • They were at least £17 more expensive than standard fares per person, per flight, which could almost double the cost of the original fare.
  • They included seat selection and speedy boarding whether passengers wanted it or not which goes against the low-cost model of “only pay for what you use.”
  • Only a limited number of Standard Plus fares were sold on each flight. Once they were sold out, passengers could not pay extra to take their cabin bag on board, regardless of the cost.

All passengers could bring a small “under seat” cabin bag like a handbag or laptop bag on board for free, and this has not changed.

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In addition, prior to the latest update, EasyJet also offered an alternate solution, called Hands Free where passengers could pay a small amount extra (usually less than half the cost difference between Standard and Standard Plus fares), to check in their full-sized cabin bag and then proceed onto the plane with “free hands.”

While this was a reasonably good value, as a fan of travelling hand luggage only, I didn’t like how inefficient it was to wait to check and then collect baggage. This service is now no longer being offered.

Related: Why I’ve fallen out of love with EasyJet over its new cabin baggage policy

Are Standard Plus fares worth the splurge?

What has not changed is that passengers can still purchase Standard Plus fares, which come with the same bundled features described above.

Standard fares on a popular route like London (LGW) to Barcelona (BCN) start from as low as £22.99 each way.

Screenshot from EasyJet app

To add just a full-sized cabin bag (without purchasing the Standard Plus add-on) you will now be charged an extra £15.49.

Screenshot from EasyJet app

Standard Plus fares are still offered at an extra £17.49 extra.

So, does this mean the changes are positive or negative?

Giving passengers the option of paying just to add a full-sized cabin bag, rather than having to buy a bundle of extras they may not need is definitely a good thing. However, the price to do so is high and offers little value compared to other fares.

On a flight such as this, passengers are being asked to pay an additional 67% just to take their bag on board. By comparison, Ryanair charges from as little as £6 per person to take a full-sized cabin bag on board, depending on the flight length and destination.

It’s now only £2 more on EasyJet to select a seat right up near the front of the aircraft as well as enjoy speedy boarding by purchasing a Standard Plus fare which continues to come with a full-sized cabin bag.

If you travel with a normal cabin bag, your £23 flight suddenly jumps up to at least £38. On exactly the same route, just 15 minutes later, Spanish carrier Vueling will sell you a £27 flight with your cabin bag checked in for free.

Screenshot from Google Flights

Overall, these changes are complicated, and the unfriendly baggage policy makes it even more difficult for travellers to understand how to get the best value.

If EasyJet wants to compete in the ultra-low-cost market where Ryanair and Wizz are already so dominant, they should have a lower, fixed fee for full-sized cabin bags taken on board. Something closer to £10 (€10) per person, per flight, would be a fair, easy-to-remember charge which would make comparing fares across different carriers on popular routes simple.

While I didn’t personally use the Hands Free option, a number of TPG readers have contacted me to tell me they found it to be a handy, affordable option. This has now disappeared, which is a shame.

Instead, you will now have to pay considerably more than the advertised base fare price just to take your full-sized cabin bag on board, which only validates my unfortunate break-up with my once beloved EasyJet.

Featured image by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy

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