Cabin Luggage Buying Guide

If you’ve booked a trip recently, whether its a trip to the sandy beaches of Southern Europe, a weekend city Break in Paris or visiting family in Edinburgh, you’ll be wanting to take the free allowance that all airlines will give you for hand luggage. Below we’ve outlined some of the key questions to ask when you’re choosing your ideal travel companion.





What is Hand Luggage?

Every airline allows their passengers a certain amount of luggage to take with them for free. Each airline has different limits for the maximum size of the luggage items, and the weight. This type of luggage is called Hand luggage, cabin luggage or carry on luggage. So, if it’s free – you may as well make full use of it!

Should I take just Hand Luggage?

 Those thinking of just taking hand luggage, and not paying extra to check in a larger bag, smart move. By avoiding checking a bag in, you avoid the waiting game at your destination – playing spot the bag on the conveyor belt, and you’re heading to your hotel or in the cab home in double quick time. When taking just hand luggage however, you will need to adhere to the 100ml liquid limit, which means that you’ll need to ensure your toiletries are within those limits.

What hand luggage size can I take on board my flight?

The first thing to understand is that different airlines have different allowances. These can vary greatly, so you should always check with your airline before booking to see which airline will allow you the biggest allowance. When comparing flight costs, sometimes the difference in price between airlines is so minimal, that knowing the airlines that will allow you to carry on the most, will be very handy.

Don’t forget to check the weight limit too!

There are some airlines that offer an impressive cabin size limit but a very small weight limit. For example, Ryanair allow just 10kg in their main bag. For Ryanair you’ll need to pack your heavy items in one of our second carry on bags to beat the system and avoid paying excess baggage charges. One of our Aerolite Weighing scales will be ideal for checking you’re under your weight limit.

How can I maximise my cabin allowance for my airline?

You should look for a bag which best suits your airline that you’re flying with. We have a wide range of maximum sized cabin luggage for the major airlines, including the 55x40x20cm maximum cabin size for Ryanair, the 55x35x20cm IATA standard luggage size, 56x45x25cm for Easyjet, British Airways & Jet 2 and 42x32x25cm for Whizz Air. We are looking to build on the coverage of airlines over the next 12 months to become the place to come for the maximum sized hand luggage for all worldwide airlines!

56x45x25cm Products for Easyjet, Jet 2 & British Airways

55x40x20cm Products for Ryanair

Does my airline offer additional bags?

A great way to beat the airlines and their excess baggage fees is to make use of their personal bag item or additional second hand luggage bag, if applicable. Ryanair allow a 35x20x20cm second item, which comes in very handy when you’re packing your case and getting close to that 10kg limit. British Airways offer a decent sized bag too, measuring 40x30x10cm and provides that extra space for all your holiday souvenirs!  

What type of cabin luggage should I buy?

So you know what size you need your luggage to fit within, the next decision will be what type of luggage you want to carry to the airport, and on the plane with you. Below we’ve listed the main types you’ll need to choose from – there are advantages and disadvantages of all these options, and it will depend on your trip and personal preference.

Hard Shell

We’ve seen a real spike in the demand for hard shell cabin cases over the last few years. A hard shell case keeps your belongings nice and safe from the rigours of travelling and mainly come with four wheels for easy movement. The downside of a hard shell vs other options are that they tend to weigh more due to the outer material. 4 wheel suitcases also use some of their cabin size allowance with the space that the wheels take up, so the packing capacity is reduced. To avoid this, we sell two-wheel hardshell cases which offer both protection and maximum packing volume!


One of the most important factors in choosing your hand luggage is to consider the bags weight. Many suitcases on the market today take up 25% of your cabin weight allowance without a single item of clothing packed inside it! Our Aerolite range has been designed with the customer in mind at all times, cutting down weight wherever possible, but without affecting it’s quality or strength. One of the most weight efficient types of hand luggage are trolley bags. These don’t have a hard casing, and are collapsible – ideal for storage when not in use!   

4 Wheel Spinners

What could be easier than gliding through an airport with a snazzy suitcases spinner with 4 wheels? These suitcases can be dragged, pushed, moved from side to side and spun round. These are the most convenient ways to transport your luggage. The downside to a 4-wheel suitcase is that some of your allowed cabin size in the wheels, meaning that the packing volumes are less than a 2 wheel version. 

2 Wheel Suitcases

The two wheel suitcases offer the greatest solution for those looking to pack the maximum for their flight. Unlike the four wheel versions, they don’t lose some capacity with the wheel space. They are usually a bit cheaper than the 4 wheel version too. The downside is that you have to pull these along, which can sometimes feel inconvenient.

Trolley Bags

These are our best selling cabin bags. They offer the benefit of being lightweight, and also great value for money. They come with two roller blade wheels so it can be pulled along, and telescopic handles to suit the height of the traveller. We also do some trolley bags for kids, with our Minimax range. Not designed to stand up, you would need to hold your bag up whilst you wait in line to board. 


One of the easiest ways to carry your luggage is to just take a backpack with you. You don’t need to worry about the streets and stairs as you get from the hotel to the airport. Some of the trolley bags come with a handy backpack option if you you’d like both options, but we also have two maximum sized backpacks for Ryanair’s 55x40x20cm cabin allowance, which is also perfect for Easyjet, BA, Jet 2 and many others!


The trusty Holdall or Duffle Bag remains the bag of choice for many, providing a simple solution for carrying a few days worth of gear on your trip. They come with an adjustable  shoulder strap and top tug handle. These are very useful when you’re moving around the city where there may be cobbled streets, or uneven surfaces. The downside is that these will however weigh you down, and cause shoulder pain if the bag is packed too heavy

Underseat Bags

If you’re travelling to the US, you’re probably going to be flying with a company that allows you to take a personal underseat bag in addition your main luggage. These are only slightly smaller that a standard hand luggage item so you should definitely look into buying one of these!

What accessories should I consider?

We recommend a good neck cushion for flights over 2 hours. This means you’ll arrive at your destination nicely chilled and refreshed after a good snooze. A Luggage scale is a travel essential for ensuring you beat the airlines strict weight limits. Luggage identifiers are a great way to spot your hold luggage on the belt, standing out from the crowd. For organised packing, and quick access to the essentials as soon as you arrive at the hotel, packing cubes help you find your items quicker! 

What about security for my case?

Many of our items come with some form of locking device for your bag included for free. This could be a key and a padlock for the trolley bags and holdalls, whereas with all luggage, we provide a branded 3 digit barrel lock which will secure your zips together when in transit. For additional security, we also sell TSA padlock – essential for any trip to the US, which allows US Customs to open your bag with their Customs TSA key without having to cut into your bag and ruining your case.   

What are the charges for having too large luggage or over the weight limit?

Ryanair and Easyjet both charge £10 per KG that you are over their luggage allowance of 10kg. 

What can’t I take in my hand luggage?

You’re restricted to liquids under 100ml when going through airport security. Many high street shops offer travel sized items now to help people take their favourite cosmetics and toiletries. All of your liquids must be a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag. 

You cannot also take the following: Corkscrew, Large scissors and Lighters. However you can take: Nail Scissors, Umbrellas and Knitting needles! 

For a full list of banned items and hand luggage advice, the government have a page going into greater details