New carry-on requirements for European airports as of 4/17?

Someone posted on the packing tips forum that there is a new requirement, effective 4/17, that you can only have one carry-on bag leaving from all EU airports. She referenced the Fodor's forums, but I couldn't find anything. Is this true?

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

Greetings
Since summer 2006 it has always been ONE bag for any passenger connecting through or departing from a UK airport. This means one bag, not a purse and a bag. You can stuff the purse in the bag, if it's all within the size limits.

I had heard the EU would standardise carry-on bag regs in April back in November. However, I then never heard anything again, but perhaps it is true after all.

I recommend going with one bag, no matter what, if you are traveling in Europe. Remember that, in the end, it's up to the security screeners what to let through. And that can vary by airport, day, terminal etc. Some flights at some airports have secondary screenings as well.

To be honest, the one bag restriction is a blessing in disguise. It is SO much more relaxing when there isn't a rush for overhead-bin luggage space.

I would plan on one bag, and keep an eye on the websites for your airports and airline closer to the date.

Posted by Jeff
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
206 posts

When I left Gatwick a few weeks ago, the security line attendants were telling everyone that they could have only one carry-on--that, in their mind, included purses. In the US they tell us that we can have one carry-on and one personal item. I don't know about other airports in Europe, but the one carry-on restriction is what was being enforced at Gatwick the day my family and I left.

Posted by Angie
Highland, Utah, USA
2 posts

I'll be 5 weeks in Europe (Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, UK, Ireland) hopefully using only a regular 22" carry on and a just purchased Rick Steve's Avanti Flight bag (14x7x12, basically the size of a large diaper bag) to put under an airline seat. Is this a mistake? Will I not be allowed to carry on both? I'll also be travelling in trains.

Posted by Angie
Highland, Utah, USA
2 posts

Sorry, Jeff and Kate, I just realized you already answered my question!

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

No worries!

Leaving or connecting through the UK, the answer is definately no. You can only have ONE bag - see www.baa.co.uk for the size limitations.

Outside the UK - at least for now - the rules are more relaxed, but be prepared for stricter security rules because the airlines have no control over airport security or world events. In addition flights within Europe can be on small planes, in which case even 'legal' sized bags may have to be gate checked. So make sure to have all valuables/tickets/passport etc. in one bag in case a bag has to be checked.

Trains usually have no regulations, though there may be spot security checks of bags. Whatever bag-combination you have, the best advice is to make sure you can carry them comfortably. Even in the UK, stairs may be your only option in some train stations and the easier you can move about the less of mark you are for pickpockets etc.

Have fun!
Kate

Posted by Robyn
Queensland, Australia
39 posts

Just further to Kate's post. When we left Australia (Brisbane) for our trip to Europe last November our carry on bags were weighed. It was a Qantas check in, but not a Qantas flight. Having said that they didn't weigh my handbag. We didn't get weighed or even have to show what we were taking on when we returned. So I guess it pays to be careful

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

Interesting, because Qantas never even batted an eyelash at my carry-on bag, both going to Australia and returning from Melbourne. And after all the stressing I did, given that I was flying three different airlines in the same alliance, Qantas being the only one with strict limitations (they're the only airline that doesn't consider a laptop bag as a personal item).

I wonder if they were being less strict about weight with flights to or from the UK, given the restriction to one bag.

Sometimes I wish that ALL airlines would agree to one standard for carry-on bag limits and checked weight - at least by route and give more consideration to distance travelled - i.e one should be able to take more if you are going from the UK to Australia than if you are going from the UK to Denmark. But I dream on...

Kate

Posted by Kimberly
Durham, NC
43 posts

I was able to locate that forum referenced (when I checked last week). What the forum moderator confirmed was that the April date for carry-on restrictions for EU airports would be delayed until November. As stated above, the UK is already doing this but as of November (unless it's delayed again), all airports in the European Union will also have the same 1-item carry-on restriction. I tried to find an official link someplace but have been unsuccessful. Should I find something, I shall post it.

Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

I have flown out of Melbourne, Australia 3 times in as many months for Asia and Europe and have had my carry on luggage weighed once only. So maybe they were just having a bit of a blitz on overweight carry on bags at the time. The new 'big' thing is the liquids and gels in plastic bags if they are in carry on luggage. I have also just read an article from a travel writer who discussed the one item carry on luggage and how they stuffed 3 bags into one and that was OK.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

You can stuff as many bags into one as you want, so long as the one bag - with everything in it - isn't larger than the maximum size. I often stuff my purse into a large bag, then separate it after security or on the plane.
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It could be that the woman at the Melbourne check-in was either sympathetic or distracted by my temporary misplacement of my passport, and thus didn't get around to weighing my bag. Don't recommend that method though - far too stressful!! (For some odd reason, I tucked my passport into the bag I was going to check. Clearly didn't want to leave Australia!).

Kate

Posted by Karen
Colorado Springs
326 posts

Our last trip was to Vienna in November (through Brussels). I have a max carry-on size and small daypack (allowed in US). I was concerned about making the change in Brussels, but even with going out and back in through security, we did not have a problem. In general I am planning to avoid going through UK from now on due to extra cost and restrictions. I can go through Frankfurt/Munich/ Amsterdam and not have to deal with it (for now). I always have the most important stuff in my small daypack (one set of clothes, meds, etc) so if I absolutely have to, I can check my larger backpack.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

The one bag rule will cover all of the EU by November, so it's probably a good idea to learn to live with it.
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To be honest, I MUCH prefer it now - was not fond of the rule at first - because it makes it so much faster to get through security and you don't have to worry about getting on the plane early in order to get any room in the overhead compartments or getting stuck behind someone who is taking forever to get their huge bag stowed or blocking the aisle while trying to roll a wide bag onto the plane.

Posted by Liz
Malaga, Malaga, Spain
410 posts

It seems to be enforced in the UK only at the moment - we flew out of Spain 2 days ago and were asked at check in whether we only had one bag each as carryon - we had but then watched countless others carry on 2 or more. BA carrier. Personally I find it annoying not to have a small handbag with all my personal items and stuff I want to access often or easily during the flight. Easily enough solved if the handbag will fit into the other bag or you get a bigger handbag. Bit difficult when carrying a laptop as hand luggage as well - which is often the case.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

The UK is the only place that has such a regulation at the moment. The rest of the UK will catch up by November - unless they delay implementation again.

One way to get around the handbag/laptop rule might be to try and find one of those large, but really lightweight eco-shopping bag type bags. You could just place both the laptop case and the purse in the bag - and it should easily be within the limits - and then separate them once you are past security.

Another option, which I use is to put my laptop into one of those protective padded zipper cases and then put it in my regular carrier-bag, and stuff my purse in that bag.

Kate