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Ryanair's bag policy is changing — here's how to avoid the biggest fees

Key Points
  • Ryanair is introducing a new bag policy which ends free trolley bags in the cabin.
  • The airline claims the change will help to prevent delays to flight departures.
  • The budget carrier will charge as much as 25 euros for passengers looking to take a wheelie bag into the cabin.
Passengers board a Ryanair flight at the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
Ulrich Baumgarten | Getty Images

The budget airline Ryanair is introducing a new bag policy which now charges flyers who want to bring a wheelie bag or similar on to flights.

Until now the airline has allowed bags that didn't exceed 10 kilograms or dimensions of 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm into cabins for free.

The airline has said the changes, which come into effect on Thursday November 1, will help reduce flight delays and provide a cheaper checked-bag option.

On its website, Ryanair said the policy of tagging bigger bags that couldn't fit in the cabin at the last minute would now end.

"The bigger bag was tagged at the gate and put in the hold (for free). This led to the tagging of up to 120 free gate bags which caused delays to 25-minute turnarounds," the airline said.

The change means that "Non-Priority" customers can only bring one small carry-on bag for free with them and will be charged at least 8 euros ($9) if they want to bring a second bigger wheelie bag. That second bag will also have to be checked into the hold.

The 8-euro charge rises to 10 if selected online after the initial booking and hits 20- euros at the bag drop desk on the day of departure. If a non-priority customer gets all the way to the boarding gate with their wheelie bag, they will have to pay 25 euros to get the bag on the flight, the airline said.

How do airlines price tickets?

"Priority Boarding" customers, which the airline has said currently accounts for around 30 percent of customers, can continue to bring 2 free carry-on bags into the cabin (1 x 10-kilogram wheelie bag and 1 small bag).

The cost of priority boarding is cheaper than the check-in fees at 6 euros, but Ryanair said it expected some passengers will pay more to check bags in. In any case you may lose out on the cheapest option as Priority Boarding is capped at 95 customers per flight (out of 189 seats).

Ryanair said the size of the free small carry-on bag has now increased but cannot exceed dimensions of 40 cm x 20 cm x 25 cm. Look for some leeway on this however as the airline has said its small "bag sizer" at the gate will be set to allow as much as 25 percent more volume.

The Irish airline has said that parents with infants under 2 years old will be allowed an additional free baby bag, weighing no more than 5 kilograms. Customers with medical items can also request a waiver.

Ryanair has said it does not expect to increase revenue from the policy as the increase in "Priority Boarding" and money raised from checked in wheelie bags will be offset by people trading down from the current check-in fee of 25 euros, as well as those who now opt to fly with just a small free bag.