British Airways Cabin Bag Size, Baggage Allowance & Fee Explained 2024

How big can a cabin bag be on British Airways? If you’re planning to travel with British Airways, especially with an Economy Basic ticket, knowing the essentials about the British Airways cabin bag size and weight limits is a must.

This helps guarantee that your baggage always stays within the airline's measurements and fits neatly in the overhead cabin. Moreover, you can also avoid hefty charges, which happen with oversized/overweight bags that need to go into the hold.

As far as baggage allowance goes, this post also covers all the relevant information about hand baggage, checked baggage, and fees for extra items you plan to travel with. Grasp all the information, and get ready to jet off on a much-needed break trouble-free!

Overview of British Airways Cabin Baggage Allowances

To avoid confusion, there are three types of baggage that passengers travel with on BA's planes. Handbags (the smallest in size), Cabin bags (the medium), and Checked bags (the largest and also heaviest ones). 

British Airways, BA Cityflyer, and BA Euroflyer hand baggage allowance are the same, which permits a handbag and cabin bag for all of their passengers. This applies to any class of flight. Checked bags, on the other hand, are not available if you’re seated with an Economy Basic ticket. 

Plus, according to the carrier's policy, how much baggage is allowed by British Airways for international flights is the same as for domestic flights. Here are details about each type of luggage, their weight and size restrictions and their place on the aeroplane.

British Airways Cabin Bag Size

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

Remember to count the wheels, pockets, and handles when calculating your cabin baggage size! Photo by Have a nice day on Adobe Stock

As mentioned earlier, all British Airways flyers can bring one piece of cabin baggage and a handbag on board free of charge.

The cabin baggage must not exceed 56 x 45 x 25cm (22 x 18 x 10in) - these dimensions already include handles, pockets and wheels. 

How about the handbag? What size backpack will fit under an aeroplane seat? The personal item bag on the BA's plane can measure up to 40 x 30 x 15cm (16 x 12 x 6in) and sit neatly in its designated spot!

What is the size of cabin luggage for international flights? You may ask! As the room in the cabin is similarly allotted for all flights, international flyers also enjoy the same baggage size allowance as domestic ones. 

British Airways Cabin Bag Weight

Besides British Airways cabin bag size, the bag weight also matters. Hand baggage and cabin baggage on British Airways can weigh up to 23 kg (51 pounds). Passengers need to place their hand baggage under the seat in front of their seat and their cabin baggage into the overhead bin.

The airline's rule states that any travellers must lift the cabin luggage into the bin themselves. This means you need to make sure you’re boarding with a bag heavy enough for you to handle.

British Airways Cabin Bag Size, Handbag Size and Checked Bag Allowance For Children

Babies sitting on the lap (under 2 years old) can bring an extra bag for their in-flight must-haves. However, remember that there is still no checked baggage allowance if you and your infant check in with the (Basic) fare ticket. 

Children occupying a paid seat will enjoy the same British Airways cabin bag size and checked bag allowance just as adults.

Note: If your journey includes multiple connecting flights but with one booking reference, your baggage allowance is normally from the airline that covers the longest route.

For multiple flights with different booking references, it would be safe to have a look at all the airlines’ baggage limits (so you won’t have to abandon some pieces of your luggage halfway).

What Hand Luggage Can You Take On British Airways?

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

Keep your in-flight essentials on your hand luggage, as it will always be on board with you. Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

What British Airways considers as “hand baggage” will 100% sit in the cabin throughout the flight, so you should pack anything important, from medicines, battery packs or electronics, with you. The other bag - the cabin bag - can pack anything you want as long as it won’t go over the specified weight and size. 

For usual flights, you can freely bring two of your luggage onboard, as long as they comply with British Airways cabin bag size and handbag size policies. Yet, if the flight gets busier than usual, the airline typically asks their passengers to put the larger baggage - cabin bag - in the hold.

So make sure all your in-flight essentials are in the smaller hand baggage. It's also a wise move to label your cabin luggage the same way you do checked bags in case this happens.

When flying with British Airways, it’s important to choose your cabin luggage right. This will help you navigate through the airport smoothly with your essential travelling items. 

CabinZero 28L bag can help you on this journey! Our bag makes sure to fit in the British Airways carry-on size and weight allowance. They come with compact simplicity, so you can easily pack your things, zip them up and jet off. With a spacious room inside and multiple pockets, packing your belongings also becomes a more enjoyable task. 

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

Find your new travelling companion - CabinZero 28L bag!

British Airways Checked Baggage Allowance & Fees

Like cabin baggage, the number of checked luggage each passenger can have depends on the destination and type of ticket paid. 

British Airways Checked Baggage Restrictions

According to British Airways’s policy, your checked bags should be 35 x 30 x 17in (90 x 75 x 43cm) at most. You should arrive at the airport earlier than you've planned, as they need to be checked in 90 minutes before your departure.

One important note: Your hold bags shouldn't be anything bigger than 74 x 29 x 25in (190 x 75 x 65cm); otherwise, you’ll have to pay the excess fee.

BA passengers can check in up to 10 pieces of baggage as long as they stay within the weight restrictions (including your checked baggage allowance already). 

Bag Allowances Broken Down By Fare

The table below shows the number of free checked bags available to each flyer with different fare types:

Fare type

Number of free checked bags

Economy Basic

0 – (You'll fly with your cabin and handbag only)

Economy Standard

1 free checked baggage up to 23kg

Premium Economy

2 free checked baggage up to 23kg each


2 free checked baggage up to 32 kg each


3 free checked baggage up to 32 kg each

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

Be mindful of your baggage allowance so you won’t leave any overweight baggage behind! Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels

But How Much Does Extra Baggage On British Airways Cost?

If you exceed your baggage allowance, here’s how much you should splash out for each piece of baggage.


Booking Online

Booking at the airport


£20 – £40

£40 - £65

Each extra bag

£36 - £60

£40 - £65

Baggage travelling on connecting flights


£40 - £65

Remember, if you want to avoid hefty charges, especially when travelling in economy, keep any checked bags under 51 lbs (23 kg). Once they step over the 51-pound mark, the charge is 65 GBP / 75 EUR / 100 USD / 100 CAD per overweight bag on a one-way flight basis. 

If your bag is over 51 pounds, even when you’re seated first class, British Airways won’t accept it on any of its flights. Instead, you will have it shipped separately as cargo.

Pro tip: British Airways, just like their passengers, seemingly doesn't favour any “surprise”, especially at the very last minute. Try to plan ahead and book your extra bags online in advance so that you can avoid higher prices at the airport.  Your carrier also has extra time to plan things out!

You can also travel with these items, normally as checked baggage

  • Musical Instruments: Typically, the airline staff will screen musical instruments separately. Large, cumbersome instruments may require more room, which possibly means an extra ticket. To avoid any hiccups right before flying, contact the airline for extra details about flying with musical instruments.
  • Sports equipment: From bikes, diving equipment, and snowboarding to kayaks, BA passengers can travel with most sports equipment. Your equipment will count towards your standard bag allowance if it stays within the luggage weight and size limits. Otherwise, you can book them in as a cargo item.

How To Book A Ticket And Check In With British Airways

Where To Buy Ticket?

You can book your flight directly from British Airways through their mobile phone app, website (, or 24/7 Travel Team. 

British Airways' platforms are incredibly user-friendly, with the most up-to-date flight availability, fares, and real-time flight status for travellers to make an informed decision.

The carrier also has a 72-hour hold policy if you book directly. Whether you’re still searching for the best deals around or need to check with your flight companions, just place a small deposit to secure your booking, and the price won’t change within 72 hours.

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

A direct booking with British Airways can be significantly more convenient. Photo by Isaac Struna on Unsplash

Otherwise, online travel agents (OTA) sometimes offer tempting deals, particularly for long-haul, international flights. 

Yet, more often than not, flyers will have less flexibility regarding delays, cancellations, and booking changes compared with direct booking on the airline’s webpage.

Planning to pack extra bags after booking? You can conveniently pay for them via Manage My Booking if you’re directly working with the airline. 

However, this is not as convenient as when using an online travel website or travel agency. Access to "Manage My Booking" and the option to pay for excess luggage becomes available only when you finalise your booking with the travel agent.

Check-In Process

The check-in process is almost the same, but those flying abroad will need to go for an extra step, which is passport/visa verification. 

For intercontinental or international flyers, get your visa and passport ready for a quick check at the Bag Drop desk before you can go through security. 

If you’re travelling with your hand baggage only, you can skip the Bag Drop section and go to the British Airways’ Assistance desk to complete the procedure.

Check-In Type

Online check-in

The airline’s website checking system allows passengers to check in 24 hours before a scheduled departure. All it takes is entering your surname and your Book Reference via Manage My Booking. 

If you are flying to and from the US with the airline, bear in mind you need to complete the check-in step 2 hours before departing. Plus, since it's an international flight, you'll need your passport to proceed successfully.

Once finished, you can download or print your boarding pass. If you don't print the boarding pass from home, you can do so at various kiosks at the airport.

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

You can check in up to 24 hours in advance on the BA webpage. Photo by William Fortunato on Unsplash

App check-in

If you prefer to use your mobile phone, you can always do the check-in on the carrier's user-friendly app. This can be done 24 hours to 1 hour before the scheduled departure time. 

With the British Airways app, flyers can also complete the check-in process for up to eight passengers with the same booking. After completing, your boarding pass will be sent to your phone 36-2 hours before your departure.

Airport check-in

BA’s self-service kiosks at the airport will allow passengers to proceed with the check-in without assistance. 

However, if you’re in a rush or this is your first time flying, there is also British Airways’ counter where friendly staff are ready to guide you through the process. All you have to do is have your passport and Booking Reference (PNR) on hand.

AirPortr doorstep - check-in for your luggage

The AirPortr doorstep service helps you avoid the hassle of towing heavy luggage to the airport. By paying the extra fees, you can have your luggage collected and delivered to the airport in advance. 

This way, there’s no need to join the queues at the bag drop and head straight to the security screening. Flights departing from Gatwick, Heathrow, Zurich, Geneva and Vienna are currently open for this type of baggage check-in.


1. British Airways restricted items in hand baggage?

For a smooth flight, keep in mind these hand baggage rules particularly applied to British Airways:

  • Powders (on flights from Australia or to the US)
  • Plastic bags (on flights to Kenya)
  • Infant formula and baby food
  • Batteries and electric/electronic devices
  • Smoking devices, including e-cigarettes, e-pipes, vapes, etc.
  • Fuel cells and internal combustion engines
  • Toiletries, aerosols, and medicines fall under the category of checked baggage, not as hand/cabin bags.

For international flights, travellers also need to adhere to local airport regulations where they are heading. If you’re flying to the US, make sure you know what is not allowed in your carry-on bag per TSA.

British Airways Cabin Bag Size - CabinZero

Choose the right bag, and you will have nothing to worry about British Airways cabin bag size and weight limit. Photo by Yakobchuk Olena on Adobe Stock

2. Can We Carry More Than 7kg In Cabin Baggage?

The answer is a yes since your baggage is well under British Airway’s 23kg-per-piece limits. Yet, be mindful that your bag can’t be larger than the British Airways cabin bag size - 56 x 45 x 25cm (handles and wheels included). 

As a general rule, you may not want to carry electronics, medicines, or anything you need in your cabin bag during the flight. On more crowded flights, this bag may go into the aeroplane’s cargo hold.

3. How Strict Is British Airways About Carry-On Luggage?

The enforcement of the airline's rules depends on the gate agent and cabin crew. So, it's hard to tell if the BA is on the lenient or strict side. If your hand baggage looks like out-of-gauge, it makes sense for the gate agent to re-check it and figure out the next step. 

You might have to check this baggage in the hold if required.  This is more likely to happen on crowded flights when you don't belong to those first boarding groups, and there's not much cabin space left for you. 

Instead of hoping the airline will give your over-allowance baggage some leeway, it pays to nail the right dimension and weight in the first place. You can avoid hefty checked bag charges and get on board with more confidence!

4. How Much Baggage Is Allowed In British Airways For International Flights?

International flights will get the same baggage allowance just as domestic ones. For carry-on luggage, flyers can fly with two items (cabin baggage in the overhead cabin and a handbag sitting under the seat in the front. 

The standard numbers of free checked bags are also the same. So, be sure to check out our table above for the corresponding ticket you plan to book. Each traveller can fly with up to 10 pieces of luggage (free and paid combined) for international flights. 

5. Are Backpacks Allowed As Cabin Luggage?

Yes, backpacks can get onboard as personal items or cabin luggage, as long as they fit in the airline's size and weight thresholds. 

Normally, backpacks go as “personal items”, which means they will slide into the underneath seat in front of the passengers. If they are larger but still perfectly fit the overhead compartment, you can legitimately fly with them as cabin baggage.

Pack Smart To Comply with British Airways Cabin Baggage Size!

Staying informed about British Airways cabin bag size, checked bag allowances, and fees will help you navigate the airport with ease. You’ll also know what to take and what to leave behind. 

It's like crossing off one more thing on your to-do list and more time to plan the fun things. So, next time you're jetting off with British Airways, you’ll more confidently pack your things and enjoy a worry-free getaway! Happy travels!


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