The Best and worst Airlines for Hand Luggage Allowance

With no clear universal parameters on cabin luggage allowance across airlines, it can be very difficult to determine what is and isn’t allowed at times. Add to this all the unique premises and particulars that each airline likes to offer, and it often seems easier just to book hold luggage and spare yourself the calculations. To try and make things a little more simple, we went ahead and put together a list of the best and worst airlines in terms of space that you’re allowed for hand luggage.

The Best Airlines for Cabin Luggage Allowance

Aegean Airlines

Taking the fifth spot, Aegean Airlines provide a great deal more space than many of their more expensive counterparts.

Offering a total volume of up to 126 cm², they only lose out on joint fourth place owing to their weight restriction of 8kg.



British Airways

Ranking highly in fourth place, British Airways offer comparatively more space than their competitors, with a combined total volume of 126 cm².

Add the fact that BA don’t impose a weight limit on any hand luggage, and it’s easy to see why they remain a popular choice for travellers.

Virgin America

Third on the list are Virgin America, who narrowly trump British Airways by a single kilogram.

With 127 cm² of cabin baggage allowance and no weight limit, what’s not to like?

Alaska Airlines

Narrowly missing out on the top spot, Alaska Airlines are offering their customers a very generous 129 cm² of cabin baggage allowance with no weight limit.

It gets even better if you join their Mileage Plan, which allows you to check in a case of wine at no additional cost.


Southwest are officially the most lenient airline when it comes to your hand baggage allowance. In what is a very close contest, they just about clinch the top spot with 130 cm² of space being permitted.

If that wasn’t enough, when you fly with Southwest, your first and second checked bags fly completely free of charge.

American Influence

It’s clear that the competition is pretty tight at the top, but as it stands the American airlines are dominating the podium.

Whilst the difference doesn’t seem so great at the top, it’s only when you look at the airlines that offer the least amount of space for cabin luggage that you see just how big the divide is.

The Worst Airlines for Cabin Luggage Allowance


At the other end of the scale, United are only able to offer 113 cm² of space, although they don’t have a weight limit for what you bring on.

This may not seem like much less in the great scheme of things, but when your case is close to bursting open, it could mean the difference between packing something or leaving it at home.




Surprisingly, given their status as a more luxurious way to fly, Emirates offer substantially less space than many airlines, with only 113 cm² being offered to passengers.

With a weight limit of only seven kilograms, Emirates are a lot less lenient with what they’ll let onboard.

Qatar Airways

Similarly to Emirates, Qatar Airways have a weight limit of seven kilograms and offer only 112 cm².

We advise to take only what you need on board with you, and nothing heavy.


In second place, FlyBE offer a slightly higher weight allowance than Emirates or Qatar Airways, but even less space at a mere 110 cm².

Virgin Australia

In quite a contrast to their American division, Virgin Australia can only offer 105 cm² of space to passengers, by far the lowest amount.

It’s safe to say that when booking a long haul flight, taking hold luggage is strongly recommended.

How do you feel about these hand luggage allowances?

Amie Scott