Ryanair, EasyJet or Wizz Air: Which has the cheapest carry-on charges?

Aug 8, 2021

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If you are booking a low-cost carrier for a cheap flight to Europe, you might know that you will have to pay extra to check-in a bag, select your seat or have something to eat and drink on board. If your flight is only $28, you might be more than happy to either forego these benefits or pay more for what you need.

There are then some ultra-low-cost carriers where you will need to pay even to take a full-sized carry-on bag on board with you. You can still take a small personal item that can be stored under the seat in front of you for free, such as a handbag or laptop, but if you want to take a larger bag on board that will go in the overhead compartment, you will need to pay extra.

There are loads of benefits of traveling with carry-on baggage only, but if you’re traveling for more than a day or two, you’ll likely want to take more than a small personal item with you.

Here are what the most popular ultra-low-cost carriers of Europe charge for carry-on bags.

As charges can range depending on the length of the flight, I’ve looked at the charges of EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air of the shortest and longest routes that all three carriers fly.

Related: Comparing Europe’s top 4 low-cost carriers: Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and Wizz Air

London (LGW/STN/LTN) to Grenoble, France (GNB) — 474-mile flight:

  • Ryanair: $8 (includes priority boarding)
  • Wizz Air: $19 (includes priority boarding)
  • EasyJet: $21 (includes priority boarding and choice of premium seat)

London (LGW/STN/LTN) to Tenerife, Spain (TFS) — 1,861-mile flight:

  • Ryanair: $14 (includes priority boarding)
  • Wizz Air: $32 (includes priority boarding)
  • EasyJet: $21 (includes priority boarding, and choice of premium seat)

Related: 6 items you should always pack in your carry-on bag

With all three carriers, you will receive priority boarding if you purchase a full-sized carry-on bag whether you want it or not. While this might seem like a great perk for an ultra-low-cost carrier, remember that half the plane might have also purchased the same type of fare, so the priority boarding queue is likely to be quite long.

For all of the criticism of Ryanair, its carry-on baggage prices are by far the lowest and will keep your costs down even on its longest routes.

EasyJet’s prices are frustratingly high even for its shortest flights — you’ll need to pay to select the most expensive seats on the plane if you want to take a full-sized carry-on bag onboard, even if you don’t care where you sit.

Spanish carrier Vueling also charges for full-sized carry-on bags. This airline only flies a fraction of the routes from the U.K. that Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz do (and do not fly direct to Grenoble or Tenerife for comparison purposes). It only flies direct to a handful of destinations in France, Italy and mainland Spain.

However, you can choose to check-in your full-sized carry-on bag at the check-in desk for no extra cost, or pay around $12, depending on the exact flight length to take it on board and enjoy priority boarding.

Bottom line

Depending on how you look at it, paying for a full-sized carry-on bag on these airlines can be a blessing or a curse. If you don’t want to take one on board, perhaps because you are checking in a larger bag, or only traveling for a day or two, it helps keep fares incredibly cheap — you can fly for $14.

If you are traveling with a normal carry-on bag, then it makes it difficult to compare the cost of flights on the same route on a platform like Google Flights, given their extra charges differ so much. Ryanair will be your cheapest option, with Wizz’s prices rising sharply the longer the flight.

Featured image by YMZK-photo / Getty Images

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