Can I Take a Backpack As Hand Luggage on Ryanair? 

 July 29, 2023

By  Chloe Farro

Ryanair is one of the world’s largest airlines as measured by international passengers carried. It is considered as Europe’s largest low-cost carrier. As one of the most well-known airlines, millions of passengers fly with them every year. However, as Ryanair modified their baggage policies on November 1st of 2018, it became a big question. Up until now, a great number of travelers are still confused about this matter.

A passenger can bring a backpack as a hand luggage on Ryanair as long as it fits the given overall dimensions of 25 width x 40 height x 20 depth in centimeters. The backpack must fit under the seat in front of you. If it doesn’t, then you will be charged a fee of £25 (~$35 USD).

Ryanair is one of the most trusted airlines in Europe. From the structure of their planes to the cheap fares, and equal restrictions and customer service, they are wonderfully infamous. However, as the airlines’ opt to deliver the best service to their clients, policy modifications came into light. This left customers confused as one big question always pops in mind “what baggage restrictions does Ryanair follow?”. Let’s answer all of your questions.

Are You Allowed a Backpack on Ryanair?

Ryanair is an Irish ultra low cost carrier headquartered in Swords, Dublin. The airlines’ primary operational base can be spotted in two different locations - at Dublin and London Stansted airport. This airline is infamous and known for two things: cheap fares and equal restrictions and customer service. 

Ryanair initiated a special baggage policy where all customers could bring one standard sized wheelie bag and a small hand luggage free of charge. Unless passengers bought a priority boarding ticket, the wheelie bags will be tagged at the gate and put in the hold. 

It made Ryanairs’ customers happy and delighted. Passengers took advantage of this special offer as they would not be obliged to pay for any baggage fees. However, wheelie bags started to pile up on the ramp waiting to be loaded on the plane. This caused plane turnaround times to stall which created significant delays as ground staff cannot immediately load the bags.

Because of these unexpected scenarios, Ryanair was forced to modify their baggage restrictions and policies on November 1st of 2018. The offer of “one hand luggage and one carry-on baggage for free” was abolished.

Passengers who have not bought priority boarding tickets can only bring one small hand luggage on board. Any hand luggage must be within the 40 height x 25 width x 20 depth in centimeters. For an item to be considered as such, it must measure exactly the same or smaller than the overall dimensions previously stated.

The big questions almost every traveler who opts to fly with Ryanair are these two:

Can I Take a Backpack As a Hand Luggage on Ryanair?

Any passenger who plans to book a flight with Ryanair can take a backpack on board as hand luggage. As long as it measures exactly 40 height x 25 width x 20 depth centimeters, or smaller so as to make sure that you won’t have to pay any pesky charges.

Yes, you’ve read it right. If your backpack falls under the hand luggage criteria then it would be free of charge. This would apply for both non-priority and priority boarding tickets. 

If by any chance, your backpack is not enough as you need more space for other things then you may want to purchase their priority boarding ticket or just pay for the carry-on bag.

This is where the answer to the second question comes in.

Can I Take a Backpack and Carry-on on Ryanair?

You can bring a backpack and a carry-on on board whenever you fly with Ryanair however, it falls under two conditions.

First, if you plan to purchase Ryanair’s non-priority boarding ticket then you can bring one small hand luggage, your backpack for example, for free as long as it follows the given dimensions stated above. If you opt to bring a carry-on, a wheelie bag for example, then you have to pay for additional baggage charges.

Second, if you have decided to purchase their priority boarding ticket then you are granted to bring a hand luggage, your backpack, and a carry-on luggage which could be the wheelie bag on board. Both of these are free of charge as the ticket comes with two free bags, one small hand luggage and one carry-on luggage.

However, take in mind that Ryanair only grants priority boarding tickets to a maximum of 95 out of 189 potential passengers per plane. If you are certain with your decision to purchase a priority boarding ticket, better call them and inquire about this matter.

Carry-on Luggage Size on Ryanair

We have previously tackled and answered everyones’ question about bringing a backpack and carry-on luggage on Ryanair. However, one question still remains unanswered and that question is “What size of carry-on luggage can I bring on Ryanair?”.

Here’s where we will answer that particular question.

Ryanair established their own carry-on luggage policies and restrictions. Carry-on luggage has certain overall dimension and weight requirements. A luggage can pass the carry-on criteria set by Ryanair if it has smaller or exactly 55 x 40 x 20 centimeters overall dimensions. Carry-ons also have certain weight limitations. Ryanair initiated a 55 kilogram wheelie bag policy that any passenger must follow.

Given that, if your boarding ticket is marked as a priority and your carry-on bag exceeds the required over-all dimensions and weight, then you are obliged to pay for the additional fees as per Ryanair policy.

Underseat Storage for Backpacks

If you plan to book a flight with Ryanair but is determined not to pay any amount for excess baggage, then make sure to bring a backpack that can be tucked under the seat in front of you.

Other than backpacks, other hand luggage such as tote bags, handbags, messenger bags, laptop bags, camera bags, briefcases and other similar items can be stowed under the seat. As long as these items fall within the required overall dimension then it is free of charge.

Backpack Suitable for Ryanair

As baggage policies differ from one airline to another airline, finding the right backpack according to Ryanair airlines’ hand luggage criteria could be troublesome. But, I would make it easy for you by giving you a list of backpacks that can perfectly fit Ryanairs’ requirements. You can click the items below and it will direct you to Amazon’s landing page.

Ryanair Old Baggage Policy

Before the Ryanairs’ baggage policy and restriction modification that happened last 2018, the overall dimensions under the hand luggage criteria was smaller. Compared to the 40 x 25 x 20 centimeters overall hand luggage dimensions that passengers now follow, the old dimensions were 35 x 20 x 20 centimeters.

Ryanair revised their old policy and increased the maximum dimensions for their hand luggage category. A way to sprang up and improve their old baggage requirements to meet the new airline standards. This strategy granted their passengers an opportunity to select and purchase a much bigger bag where they stuff all major belongings that require protection.

Don’t get confused, the old hand luggage size parameter which is 35 x 20 x 20 centimeters was abolished. Ryanairs’ new criteria for the hand luggage category is 40 x 25 x 20 centimeters which is way bigger than the latter. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Take My Backpack on Ryanair?

The answer to this simple yet tricky question is yes, of course. Similar to any other airlines, Ryanair also allows their passengers to bring a backpack. The only condition is that you have to adhere to their own set of baggage rules and regulations. Failure to follow the requirements can lead to certain consequences. As per policy, whenever your backpack exceeds the given overall dimensions then it is subjected to applicable fees forcing you to pay for those fees.

Can I Take My Herschel Backpack on Ryanair?

Herschel backpack sizes range from 27.94 x 20.32 x 12.07 centimeters to 44.45 x 31.75 x 15.24 centimeters. Herschel offers four different backpack sizes namely - mini, mid-volume, standard and extra large.

If you plan to fly with Ryanair and your current backpack is branded as Herschel, you can check the size of your bag's particular model on their official website. The first three brand sizes fit the Ryanairs’ hand luggage category. If by any chance your current backpack falls within the given measurements then, you are good to go. 

However, if you still want to make use of your Herschel backpack but it is way too large for the size of a Ryanairs' hand luggage, then you can just pay for the additional fees.

Can I Take A Small Backpack on Ryanair?

Definitely yes as Ryanair permits their passengers to bring any bag of their choice. However, they established their own baggage size and weight limitations and as a passenger, you must adhere to these requirements to avoid any trouble.

We all have different perceptions when it comes to how big or small our bags are. It may be small for me but it may be large for you, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. The important thing here is to make sure your “small” backpack is smaller or exactly the same with Ryanairs’ hand luggage dimensions so it’s free of charge.

Will Ryanair Charge Me for My Backpack?

Ryanair established their own set of baggage rules and regulations. Certain fees could apply depending on the size and weight of your backpack. Take in mind that for both non-priority and priority Ryanair boarding tickets, most hand luggage such as your backpack is free of charge. It is an inclusion to the ticket you purchased.

If by any chance, your backpack exceeds the size and weight limitations, Ryanair offers several baggage options where you can choose based on your needs and best judgement. You can check those out on their official website.

How Strict Is Ryanair with Hand Luggage?

Ryanair is quite strict with regards to their baggage policies and restrictions. They stated that if you don’t pay for their “priority boarding” ticket, you will only be limited to one small bag or a hand luggage onboard. This includes backpacks, handbags, laptop cases and the like. 

Any type of bag under this category must fit the sizer or commonly known as the underseat in front of you. The dimensions as previously mentioned are 40 x 25 x 20 centimeters. If your item is within the measurements, then it would be free of charge.

However, your bag can be slightly bigger than the parameters stated, especially for a backpack. If so, you can take this as a tip - if your hand luggage is soft-sided and just within a couple of centimeters of the limits then you will be fine. Ryanair would not charge you for this one as long as your backpack can be stowed on the underseat in front of you.

About the author

Chloe is the newest writer to join the team. Her favorite bags are Herschel and Jansport. "I can’t choose between these two"

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