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How to save hundreds with a Ryanair approved cabin bag in 2023

Last Updated on 06/12/2023 by Clotilde Passalacqua

Anyone who travels even occasionally in Europe will sooner or later have wondered what a Ryanair approved cabin bag is? For many travellers, Ryanair is the beloved means of transport to their dream holiday, but often also the best direct link between secondary cities that traditional airlines would require stopovers and additional costs.

Whilst it is true that you can find flights for less than €10, Ryanair is also famous for very rigid policies, such as the last one concerning Ryanair cabin bag size, which can catch you unprepared and make you spend a lot of money.

The hardest thing? Their rules change often and are becoming more complex. In this article, you will have all the info regarding Ryanair baggage sizes, differences, and related costs. After that, a list of the best Ryanair cabin bags.

Ryanair’s carry on dimensions are different from most other European low-cost airlines, so in order to not be caught off guard, you will find a list of the best cabin bags suitable for Ryanair. The good thing is that the bags that are suitable as hand luggage for Ryanair are suitable for 99.9% of the other low-cost airlines.

Why so much focus on a Ryanair approved cabin bag? Because with careful packing even a family of 4 can travel with the free Ryanair cabin baggage allowance and save hundreds of £/€ … yes we tried it and we will talk about it later.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page, at no cost to you.

CABIN BAG SIZES FOR RYANAIR

The latest changes in Ryanair’s bag policy were not well received by consumers, especially as they came soon after the previous changes which were much less restrictive. There are currently four baggage options to consider when you plan your trip.

Two of them authorise you to bring your baggage into the cabin and the other two are for putting your baggage in the hold. Let’s have a look:

RYANAIR BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE 2023 – ON BOARD OPTIONS:

  1. WITHOUT PRIORITY (FREE OF CHARGE FOR EVERYBODY): 1 SMALL PERSONAL BAG, no bigger than 20x25x40 cm (8x10x16 inches)

  2. WITH PRIORITY (STARTING FROM £/€6): 1 CARRY-ON BAG: a bag no bigger than 20x40x55 cm (8x16x21 inches) including handles and wheels, and no heavier than 10 kg. PLUS 1 SMALL PERSONAL BAG, (size 20x25x40 cm / 8x10x16 inches) from point 1.
    They call this option priority because you can join the priority queue if you choose this option.

RYANAIR BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE 2023 – CHECK-IN OPTIONS

  1. CHECK-IN BAG – Starting from £/€ 12.99: a bag no bigger than 20x40x55 cm (8x16x21 inches) including handles and wheels, and no heavier than 10kg

  2. CHECK-IN BAG – Starting from €/£ 20.99 to €/£ 59.99: a bag no bigger than 81x119x119cm and no heavier than 20 Kg (bag pooling is allowed, but a single bag can’t be heavier than 32 kg)


It is clear that if you do not plan your baggage well, you risk turning your flight from cheap and cheerful to expensive and miserable!
Let’s have a look at the first two options which allow us to bring the baggage on board.

cabin bag

RYANAIR SMALL CABIN BAG FREE OF CHARGE

Ryanair small-bag-size
Ryanair approved cabin bag (to carry on board free of charge)

FROM RYANAIR’S BAG POLICY WEBPAGE

All passenger fare types include a small personal bag, which must fit under the seat in front of you.

A bag that is no bigger than 20x25x40cm max (8x10x16 inches max) is the only baggage item you can carry for free on any Ryanair flight (as per 2023).

The only exceptions are:

  • Parents flying with a baby (8 days to 23 months) can carry an extra baby bag up to 5kg (dimensions: 45x35x20cms) plus some baby equipment like a travel cot or a travel stroller.
  • People that need to bring medical equipment can contact the special assistance team but should be able to bring on board some common items.

It is really important to be familiar with this rule because if you exceed this bag size, Ryanair could refuse your boarding or ask you to pay €/£50 at the boarding desk and put your bag on hold (I witnessed this many times).

The Ryanair personal item size 20x25x40cm could seem really little but I can assure you that if you pack well you can fit a lot in. At least there is no weight limit for this bag. We actually managed a week-long trip just using bags that fall into this category (more later). Consider that if you have a soft bag that is slightly larger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag size, you can probably use it as long you don’t over-pack it and so are able to squeeze it a bit to fit their measuring trolley.

You could also be interested in “The reality of travelling with twins and how to make it possible”!

COMPARISON CHART: THE BEST FREE OF CHARGE RYANAIR SMALL CABIN BAG (20x25x40 CM)

The chart below shows the best models you can buy: some of these options are great for those who fly Ryanair occasionally and prefer to spend as little as possible (like the Aerolite duffle bag), as they’re maybe not going to use it often. Others are light enough and offer great features that could be useful on any trip (like the Cabin Zero backpack).

In this list I selected only products that are maximising baggage size for Ryanair, you don’t want to lose even a few cm! In the list, there are a couple of options that are actually a little bigger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag dimension, but I included them as they are soft bags that, if not overpacked, can be squeezed. I added them to show a flexible option to use also on airlines with less restrictions.

MODELDIMENSIONPRICE
BEST OVERALL BACKPACK
AEROLITE
BACKPACK

N/A
20x25x40 cm
18L
1KG (2.2lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST OVERALL TO ORGANISE THE SPACE
CABIN ZERO20x29.5x39 cm
28L
600Gr (1.3 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE ON CABIN ZERO
icon
TOP CHOICE FOR PRICE
5 CITIES CABIN BAG20x25x40 cm
20L
450Gr (1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
SECOND BEST OPTION FOR PRICE
AEROLITE DUFFLE BAG
N/A
20x25x40 cm
20L
450gr (1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST SUITCASE FOR PRICE
TRAVEL READY
N/A
20x25x40 cm
19L
1.1Kg (2.4lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
MOST VERSATILE BACKPACK
CABIN MAX (3 OPTION)
N/A
20x25x40 cm
20L
500gr (1.1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
SECOND BEST SUITCASE
CABIN MAX NARVIK
N/A
20x25x40 cm
20L
1.6 KG
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY BACKPACK
LARGE TRAVEL BACKPACK
N/A
17x31x42cm
(6.7 x 12.2 x 16.5 inches)
1Kg (2.2 Lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY BACKPACK
ECO-FRIENDLY BACKPACK
N/A
15x31x45 cm
20L to 35L
1.2Kg (2.7 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON

APPROVED – Best overall backpack

AEROLITE BACKPACK 18L

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
18L
1Kg (2.2 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is a really clever and well-designed backpack at a great price.

The structure is soft so you can maximise the space. You can carry it as a backpack, as a shoulder bag (removable strap included), or with one of the 2 padded handles.

It is a perfect backpack for people who like to divide small items and prefer to separate them into smaller compartments.

In some countries is available in different colours.

WARNING: In the US market they seem to still sell the previous version that is 3cm (1 inch) bigger than the max dimension on the longest side. This shouldn’t be a concern as it is a soft bag.

PROS

  • The main compartment opens fully in suitcase style
  • Practical straps to keep clothes and shoes in place, and a waterproof pocket for toiletries.
  • Two other zipped spaces, one perfect for a small tablet, and a front one for smaller possessions.
  • A small RFID compartment is a clever feature at the back.
  • There is a power bank pocket with a built-in USB port, and a side water bottle holder.
  • Backpack straps can be zipped inside the back when not in use.
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

  • Compartments are good to organise items but they also reduce available space.

BEST OVERALL TO ORGANISE THE SPACE

CABIN ZERO CLASSIC 28L

20×29.5×39 cm
(8×11.6×15.3 inches)
600Gr (1.3 lb)
28L

This is probably the best Ryanair cabin bag if you only want to bring the free personal bag on board.

It is not at the top of the list only because on one side, it is a few cm larger than the Ryanair personal item size.

We have two of these backpacks and they are brilliant! They are superlight and the front opens entirely like a suitcase. These are for me the two key features to look for.

The compartment is not divided inside. As I’m always packing with cubes I found that having one big space is the best way to maximize the content. This is the perfect backpack for Ryanair! You can read a full review here: Cabin Zero review: the best backpack to save money on low-cost airlines.

They deliver worldwide. In many countries, Cabin Zero deliver for free if you spend more than a certain amount

PROS

  • One main compartment to maximise space available
  • Only 600 gr
  • Compression straps, padded shoulder straps, and zipped pocket outside.
  • Sleeve pocket inside for laptop or tablet.
  • Tracking tag
  • Top and side handle to move it around easily
  • Available in many different colours

CONS

  • No back sleeve to fit on top of trolley handles
Generic Banner

APPROVED – Top choice for price

5 CITIES CABIN BAG

20x25x40 cm
20L
450Gr (1lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

Perfect, simple no fuss bag. It respects Ryanair free bag size and it has an amazing price.

One main compartment is best if you organise it with packing cubes, but the shape lends itself to easy loose packing, especially in winter with bigger clothes.

The main compartment can be locked and at the back, there is a sleeve to fix it on top of a suitcase in case you also travel with a bigger piece of luggage. If you need 2, they also have a great multibuy offer!

PROS

  • Great quality
  • 2 year guarantee
  • Front zip for docoumets
  • Sleeve to fit over trolley handles
  • lockable compartment.

CONS

  • No space for tech items
  • It could be uncomfortable to carry for a long period of time, choose a backpack if you think you will pack heavy items.

APPROVED –Second bestchoice for price

AEROLITE DUFFLE BAG 20L

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
20L
450gr (1 lb)

Aerolite did a great job of adapting their bags to the latest dimensions for Ryanair hand luggage. They produce a basic, no-fuss, but a great bag that fits the policy.
Perfect if you travel with Ryanair occasionally and don’t want to spend much on a bag.

These bags don’t have anything inside to keep your clothes and items organised, the best option is to use them with packing cubes.

There now several colours available

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

PROS

  • One main compartment maximises the space, and a front zipped pocket.
  • The most recent model (red in the picture) opens from the top making access easier.
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

  • No dedicated space for tech items.
  • It could be uncomfortable to carry for a long period of time, choose a backpack if you think you will pack heavy items.

RELATED: If you travel with a baby or a toddler check this article to find the best bags for moms to make your travel a breeze. If you are more a backpack person this other article is for you.

APPROVED – Best suitcase for price

This is one of the few wheeled trolleys that fit Ryanair’s cabin baggage size. It has been launched on the market recently, but everybody is already raving about it. It isn’t a top choice on this list because it is not yet widely available, but hopefully they will expand their reach soon.

It is basic and cheap, fitting perfectly with the Ryanair concept, but does the job.

It has a soft structure that allows you to collapse it and store it away easily. A really great option if you don’t like to carry backpacks or shoulder bags.

PROS

  • Easy to carry and light.
  • Collapsible and easy to store.
  • One main compartment maximises the use of available space, plus 2 flat pockets on the front and one on the back.
  • The handle stretches up to 95cm.
  • Removable shoulder strap.

CONS

  • No padding to protect tech items inside.
  • No back sleeve to fit on top of trolley handles.

APPROVED – Most versatile backpacks

The Cabin Max brand took the Ryanair topic really seriously and produced several backpacks that are in the bag size for the Ryanair limit.
They are all really light 500g to 600g for 20L capacity. They are a good option, and once you arrive at your destination you can unpack and use them as a daily bag during activities/ excursions.
They all offer 3 years guarantee.

They differ little in style and functionality:

  • CABIN MAX UNDERSEAT BACKPACK is the first more feminine backpack they do.
    It is stylish but still offers some of the greatest features of the rest of the line.
    It has a suitcase-style opening at the front and a padded sleeve at the back for laptops up to 13″. On the inside front there are two big meshed pockets and one smaller zipped pocket is at the top for wallet, documents and more small items.
    On the side there is also a really useful, big bottle pocket!
  • CABIN MAX METZ is available in really nice colours and patterns. Most of the space is dedicated to the main compartment. The front zipped area is good for a tablet and for holding documents and small items organised in the different sleeves.
  • CABIN MAX MANHATTAN has a full front opening like suitcase style. The slim front panel has a mesh zipped panel. There is a padded area at the back for a small laptop/tablet and the backpack strap can be stored away. It comes with a removable strap to carry it also on the shoulders. and a sleeve to fix it over a bigger luggage.

PROS

  • Different price levels
  • Really light backpacks 500g to 600g
  • Suitcase style opening
  • Manhattan has a back sleeve to fit over trolley handles
  • 3 years guarantee

CONS

  • Cabin max Metz doesn’t have a dedicated space for laptop.

Great value for money backpack

This backpack brings a bit of fresh air to this list with some pastel colours alongside the traditional black or navy. The dimensions are almost perfect for the Ryanair policy.

It has a large main compartment that opens in a suitcase-style. there are two padded spaces for laptops (up to 14′) and tablets at the front and at the back.
Inside the main compartment, there are several sleeves and pockets to help organise the space. on the outside there are another 2 zipped pockets on the front and useful extra space to keep shoes or dirty clothes separated.

WARNING: This bag is a few cm/inches larger on two sides compared to Ryanair hand luggage size. This shouldn’t concern you much as it is a soft bag so if you don’t fill it completely you won’t have an issue fitting it in the Ryanair bag checker.

PROS

  • Great price
  • Lots of pockets to organise the space
  • Trolley sleeve at the back
  • Handy bottle pocket on the side
  • Integrated space for battery pack

CONS

  • A little bigger than Ryanair policy limit.

APPROVED – Second best suitcase style

The Narvik 2.0 stowaway bag is one of the newest additions to the Cabin Max family. It is a small trolley case. The front opens completely flat and there are straps to keep the clothes in place, on the other side a mesh pocket and a dedicated laptop space.

At the front, there is a large zipped opening with several pockets to organise small items. There is a pocket in the bag for documents, a bottle mesh on the side and a practical strap to fix it on to cabin luggage.

The wheels and a sturdy base make it stable and easy to pull with the retractable handle (the handle could be on the short side for tall people).

This bag is perfect if you don’t like to wear a backpack and you don’t like to carry heavy bags in your hands.

PROS

  • Lie flat opening for the bigger compartment.
  • Front compartment with multiple slip pockets, plus rear zipped pocket
  • USB charging port
  • Padded back compartment for tech
  • Side water bottle pocket
  • 3 years Cabin Max warranty

CONS

  • The handle only stretches to 84cm which is a little short for tall people.
  • The rigid base prevents the bag from collapsing flat to be stored away.

APPROVED – Best eco-friendly option

If you are looking for a sustainable bag this is your option. This backpack is made from 30 recycled PET bottles and the fabric is water resistant.

It respects Ryanair’s size and it is light to carry around. It opens flat to make it easier to organise and there are several pockets at the front for smaller items. At the front, there is also space for a power bank and to run the cable outside.

Inside there are straps to keep clothes in place and 2 extra pockets. Outside there are compression straps to regulate the volume.

Overall a really great option.

PROS

  • Lie flat opening for the bigger compartment.
  • Front compartment with multiple slip pockets, plus extra zipped spaces for documents and small things.
  • USB charging port
  • Padded back compartment for tech
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

Flying with a baby or a toddler? You could be interested in some tips and advice to make your next flight with a baby a breeze.

cabin bag

RYANAIR PRIORITY CABIN BAG (20x40x55cm)

Ryanair priority bag
Ryanair priority bag

In this section, we are going to have a bit more choice. Ryanair cabin luggage size 2023 limits are tight but there are many more options available on the market.

If you want to bring anything on board that is bigger than the Ryanair personal item size, you will have to pay. In case you already know that you are going to need a small carry-on bag I recommend you buy at the time of booking the “Priority and 2 cabin bags” option. Choosing to add a priority bag at the moment of buying the ticket usually starts from €6. If you add it later it will cost you at least double.

The two most important things to consider when looking at the size of hand luggage on Ryanair:

  • Max dimension: 20x40x55 cm (8x16x22 inches). This dimension is usually the equivalent of a 40L bag. This starts to be a decent size bag and you will be able to choose your favourite type: trolley, backpack, or duffle bag and all their hybrid variations.
  • Max weight: 10 kg. Here is where you need to pay a bit of attention because it is really easy to pack more than 10kg in a 20x40x55 cm bag, and yes I’ve seen Ryanair weighing bags many times before the pandemic, but I’ve never seen them since. However, I would keep an eye on weight anyway. The first step to maximise the space available is to choose the lightest bag possible, which means you will be able to pack more.

Also here, I picked only bags that maximise Ryanair dimensions for hand luggage.

COMPARISON CHART: BEST PRIORITY CABIN BAG (20x40x55cm)

MODELDIMENSIONPRICE
BEST OVERALL EXPANDABLE HARDSHELL
AMERICAN TOURISTER20x40x55 cm
35 L to 41 L
2.6 kg (5.7lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST PRICE FOR SOFTSHELL
5 CITIES CABIN TROLLEY
N/A
19X35X54 cm
42L
1.6kg (3.6 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST FOR SPACE ORGANISING
CABIN MAX CABIN BAG
N/A
20x40x55 cm
45 L
2.7 kg (6.4lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY HARD SHELL
AEROLITE HARD SHELL
N/A
20x40x55 cm
2.75 kg (6.5lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR BUSINESS TRIP
MANDARINA DUCK TANK CASE
N/A
20X40X55 cm
37L
3.2kg (7.1 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY FOR BUSINESS TRIP
TYDECKARE CARRY-ON WITH FRONT ZIPPER
N/A
20x40x55 cm
37 L to 41 L
3 kg (6.6lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST PRICE FOR EXPANDABLE BACKPACK
AMAZON BASIC
N/A
21x40x55 cm
25L to 35L
1.6 kg (3.5lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR HYBRID BACKPACK
CABIN MAX
N/A
20x40x55 cm
1.7/2.8 kg.
44L
(3.7/6.1 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR A VINTAGE LOOK
WITZMAN
N/A
19X33X53 CM
35L
1.4 KG (3lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON

APPROVED – Best overall expandable hardshell

This is an amazing suitcase at a good price with great features, one of the best carry on luggage for Ryanair. We have had one of these for 6 years now and it still looks new.

It is light and easy to carry, but robust. The fact that it has a hard shell but is expandable makes it a perfect choice. Take advantage of more room when flying on other airlines but still comply with Ryanair baggage size.

All of this with an eye-catching design and many available colours!

PROS

  • Hardshell but expandable (+6L.)
  • Light
  • TSA lock
  • Double wheels

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech

APPROVED – Cheapest Softshell

5 CITIES CABIN TROLLEY BACKPACK

19X35X54 cm
(7.5×13.8×21 inches)
42L
1.65kg (3.6 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

If you travel with Ryanair only occasionally then this trolley could be the ideal solution.

One of the cheapest on the market, and although the quality is not comparable to other trolleys on the list, it is still well made and offers interesting details.

The main compartment is not divided, but spacious. On the outside, there are two practical zipped areas and on the back there are shoulder straps to carry it as a backpack (which can be zipped away).

A small detail: when used as a backpack the wheels can be covered by folding a small back pocket on the bottom.

PROS

  • 2 Front pockets
  • Back straps to use it as a backpack
  • Wheel cover integrated

CONS

  • No resting front foot (when full it is difficult to keep it standing)
  • No TSA lock
  • No internal divider or clothes straps

Best value for money hard shell

AEROLITE HARD SHELL CARRY ON

20 x 40 x 55cm
(8 x 16 x 20 inches)
40L
2.75Kg

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This bag offers great value for money. It is a rigid suitcase that perfectly respects Ryanair priority baggage allowance 2023.

It is basic but sturdy. The space available is divided into two areas. One area is closed with a zip and the other with clothes straps. It has only 2 wheels but they are big enough to roll easily on different terrain.

The wheels are integrated into the body of the bag to maximize the 55cm available.

This is a great product that does the job and will last for a long time.

PROS

  • Great price
  • 5 years guarantee
  • Clothes strap and 2 zipped sleeves

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech
  • Only 2 wheels

APPROVED – Best for space organising

CABIN MAX CABIN BAG

20x40x55 cm
(8x16x20 inches)
45 L
2.7 kg (6.4lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This cabin bag has an original feature. It has a main compartment you can access from the front of the bag and another smaller one at the top, plus a padded pocket on the back for a small laptop and a side bottle holder.

At first sight, the main compartment seems too small, but the top compartment is actually really handy. You can keep your liquids bag there to be faster and avoid unpacking while going through security, or bulky items such as your camera, that usually don’t fit in the front pockets.

Inside there are clothes straps and two zipped pockets.

Cabin Max even offers 3 years manufacturer’s warranty.

PROS

  • Two completely separated compartment
  • Clothes straps and pockets in the main compartment
  • Zipped pocket in the top compartment
  • Water bottle holder on the side

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech (small pocket outside)

APPROVED – Top choice for business trips

MANDARINA DUCK TANK CASE WITH LAPTOP POCKET

20X40X55 cm
(8x16x20 inches)
25L
3.2kg (7.1 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This trolley is not only extremely resistant, with attention to detail and aesthetically stylish, but was also developed taking into consideration the modern requests of travellers and airlines.

The front pocket is recessed flush, allowing a clean line that does not exceed 20 cm. It offers space for a laptop plus organised pockets for phones, documents, and more. It can be opened completely or only on three sides to facilitate access to laptops and documents while on the go.

The spacious interior is divided with a mesh panel to keep everything in order.

It is one of the few suitcases I found that manages to have the external laptop pocket and still keep the depth of 20cm., impressive!

PROS

  • TSA lock
  • Internal zipped divider and clothes straps
  • Front opening is organised with different sleeves
  • 4 multi-directional wheels
  • recessed front pocket design maximises internal space

CONS

  • Front pocket not lockable

APPROVED -Great value for money for business trips

TYDECKARE CARRY-ON WITH FRONT ZIPPER

20x40x55 cm
8x16x22 Inches
37 L to 41 L
3kg (6.6 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is the perfect bag to use for a business trip or if your laptop doesn’t fit in the second personal bag. The front pocket makes it really easy to access your tech without opening the full bag.

This is the perfect affordable alternative to the Mandarina Duck option above.

There are not many hard-shell suitcases with these features that can fit into the Ryanair approved cabin bag category. Many of them are just 3 or 4cm too deep and being hardshell it’s becoming too risky as you can’t squeeze them to reduce the size if Ryanair wants to check it.

Being a hard shell suitcase your tech is also protected from bumps. A perfect carry-on especially for those who don’t often carry a second bag.

PROS

  • Practical front opening for up to 15.6″ laptop
  • Reinforced corners
  • TSA lock
  • Internal zipped divider and clothes straps
  • The front opening is organised with different sleeves
  • 4 multi-directional wheels

CONS

  • The front pocket doesn’t lock with the TSA lock.

APPROVED – Best price for backpack

AMAZON EXPANDABLE BACKPACK

21x40x55 cm
8.25x16x22 Inches
25L TO 35L
1.6kg (3.5lb
)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is another great product from the Amazon basic range. It maximises the dimensions for the limits available and it is really light. On top of that, it also expands a little, giving room for even more.

It has a main compartment that opens flat with straps to hold clothes in place. There is a padded back sleeve for a laptop and a front pocket for small items/documents.

It also comes with a shoulder strap for when you want a change.

Overall a great value for money product. It could be a great solution for those who want a bag to travel with, but also to use as a daily bag when they are at their destination.

PROS

  • Expandable (extra 10L)
  • Padded sleeve for laptop
  • Side compression straps are also useful to hold a jumper when around
  • 2 handles, on the top and on the side

CONS

  • No TSA lock
  • No side bottle holder

APPROVED – Top choice for hybrid backpack

CABIN MAX HYBRID BACKPACKS

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

20x40x55 cm
(8x16x22 inches)
1.7/2.8 KG. (3.7/6.1 lb)
44L

These three bags have all been designed to the maximum Ryanair cabin size dimensions and they all contain a huge 44L.

The three hybrid backpacks are really similar. They all offer lots of space in the main compartment: the Manhattan model is the latest updated model for 2023 and the inside is well-organised with mesh pockets and straps. The last option is the most basic.

These are extremely versatile bags with great telescopic handles to enable use as a 2-wheel trolley. Manhattan, again, offers the best design with pack-away backpack straps when not in use. The Greenwich model has a wheel cover to prevent dirt from getting on your clothes! Only Manhattan offers a padded area for laptops or tablets.

PROS

  • Pack away backpack straps (so they are not in the way or getting dirty when you pull it as a trolley) for the Manhattan model.
  • Wheel cover for the Greenwich model.
  • Light
  • Suitcase style opening

CONS

  • Internal padded areas for tech only for the Manhattan model
  • No TSA lock

APPROVED – Top choice for a vintage look

This is a perfect solution for those looking for something a little different with a more vintage look, but with some of the essential features that modern bags should have. It is a bit smaller than the hand luggage size on Ryanair, but it still holds 35L.

It is made from a robust canvas material with a front panel in artificial leather. This bag can age gracefully with a little wear and tear giving it that lived in look.

It can be carried as a backpack or with a shoulder strap (duffle style). It doesn’t open like a suitcase, so you will be better off organising your items with packing cubes, but it has lots of sleeves and pockets to keep smaller items within easy reach.

PROS

  • 2 front pockets, one with tablet sleeve
  • Light
  • Side bottle holder
  • Internal laptop sleeve for up to 16 inch tech.
  • Compression straps on the side, are also useful to hold a jumper or jacket while around.
  • Handles on the top, side, and front
  • Removable shoulder straps and pack-away backpack straps.

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech
  • No TSA lock or lockable zip
  • The front pocket is not easy to open
  • The main compartment opening should be bigger

Do you need some tips to build your family trip itinerary? Check out this Step by step guide!

safe

FINAL THOUGHTS ON RYANAIR APPROVED CABIN BAG CHOICE

How are you going to save money? An example…

Being unaware of the policy could easily cost a couple, each arriving at the gate with a bag bigger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag, £/€ 100 (£/€ 50 each) plus another £/€ 48 minimum on the return journey to check in the bags (£/€ 23.99 each). £148 in total when with the right bag that could be, if not free, at least minimised to £/€ 24.

The price to add luggage changes based on the itinerary and dates. Lets make a real example with a route I am very familiar with: London-Rome. At the moment I have a one way ticket in my account from Rome to London for 4 people (2 adults and 2 kids) that cost €109.36.

This ticket only includes a personal bag each. A few years ago I would have brought 2 check in luggage for the 4 of us. Today that would cost me ~€90 (€ 44.99 each bag), that is almost as much as the ticket itself! Instead, we will have 4 personal bags (free of charge) and if needed, a few days before boarding I will pay €20 for a priority cabin bag, Net saving € 70!

Is the free personal bag the only luggage you are going to carry with you?

  • If yes, then you can choose the bag that really best suits your style. The mini trolleys, even if basic, are in general a good option, but remember that space in the outside pockets is limited to smaller items. Most of the time when you need something you will need to fully open the trolley. If you go for the backpack you have more choice in terms of models and you can pick the one with the right features for you.

Are you going to pay to bring on-board a bigger cabin bag?

  • In this case choose two bags that complement each other. A backpack as a personal bag and a wheeled trolley are a perfect combination, especially if the backpack has a back sleeve to fit it over a trolley handle.
  • If you have kids and you are going around with a stroller, it could be useful to consider a duffle bag to attach to the stroller and a backpack as a bigger carry on bag. Even when you have something super easy to maneuver around like our Joolz Geo, it’s always better to have your hands free!
  • If you often bring your laptop with you then consider a bag that has a dedicated, easily accessible space for it. Make sure you also check the size of the dedicated space, as some trolleys seem to have reduced the size of their front pockets.`
  • If you fly often with different airlines, it could be useful to choose a bag that is expandable. Ryanair hand luggage sizes are the most restrictive between all the low cost airlines.

Hard-shell or soft-shell?

Hard-shell have improved a lot in the recent years, there are now expandable models and even models with laptop space. They are great to better protect your contents and perfect if you also travel a lot with traditional airlines and occasionally check in your bag.

The soft bags on the other hand are more flexible with many different features to organise and keep on hand small items. They are also a little more forgiving if you have over packed and need to fit in airline bag checkers.

4 wheels or 2 wheels?

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Bags with 4 wheels move really swiftly around you, but you always need to be careful when you stop, unless you bought one of the newest models with brakes they will keep moving if you stop on a slope. The wheels are also usually more exposed and they could damage more easily with cheaper models. Bags with 2 wheels have the advantage of usually having more capacity as the wheels are partially recessed into the bag structure.

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Our experience

We have several pieces of luggage so we are lucky to be able to choose which is more convenient based on the airlines we fly with or the trip we do.

Some models, or their updated versions, made it onto the list like the Aerolite duffle bag, the American Tourister sound box, the Cabin Max Manatthan, and a Delsey hard-shell (The Delsey bag at the moment doesn’t seem available so I’ve removed it from the list).

Ryanair personal item (size 20x25x40)

As a personal bag (free on board), nowadays, we use backpacks. The small duffle bag has been parked in favor of a more organised backpack. On one of our latest trips (9/10 days) we managed with just one free personal bag each. We packed minimally, and we washed what we needed halfway through the trip. It seems that every time Ryanair change/reduces/makes more restrictive their luggage policy, we manage to shrink our luggage, and since the boys were little we have been perfecting our essential packing list.

I tend to overpack, but I need to be honest Ryanair never stopped me at the gate. We have 3 other backpacks (plus the small ones for the kids), apart from the Cabin Zero that is already on the list. They are not on the list as they are slightly over the hand luggage size for Ryanair. Between them, there is another of my absolute favorite: the Tripped backpack, (you could see it in the picture above) this is an unstructured backpack, really light and foldable.

I use packing cubes so it becomes just a shell around them, and when we arrive at our destination I can use it to go around. This backpack is also a perfect gift for a friend who is passionate about travel, after you use it once you will not want to leave it behind.

Ryanair priority bags

The American Tourister hard-shell is my favorite for the look and the flexibility you get from the expansion.

Another bag we love is the Eminent hard shell. We bought it when Ryanair was letting you bring 1 piece of hand luggage onboard for free, but it was a smaller size. Eminent makes super strong and easy-to-manoeuvre suitcases (also in the right size 20x40x55 cm). It isn’t on the list only because it is not easy to find.

I hope this guide will help you to save money next time you fly Ryanair or any other low-cost airlines, let me know in the comments if you found the best Ryanair cabin bag for you!

PIN IT FOR LATER!

Clotilde is a resilient, resourceful and adventurous person that navigate the world of travelling with kids. She is a mum of 7 years old twins and she share practical tips, profound insights and genuine personal experience to empowers family to embrace travel with children as an enriching experience rather than a daunting challenge.

6 Comments

  • Lee Gee

    Any updated list? Every one of the bags I checked from the list are unavailable on Amazon, and most were not available anywhere at all. 🙁

    • clo

      I’m really sorry you couldn’t find any bag available. I updated the list last week and almost everything was available on Amazon UK. Availability also changes from market to market.

      • Yvonne Ventham

        spent a week looking for Ryanair size under seat bag . none available on Amazon Spain . ordered and failed to deliver

        • clo

          Hi, I’m really sorry you had this issue. Unfortunately availability in Amazon is different from country to country and also change quite fast. If you like the model you can check Cabinzero as they deliver fast all over the world.

  • Rachael

    This is so handy! Thank you. Just wanted to make you award though that the American Tourister Soundbox you have linked is 23cm depth which is bigger than Ryanair allows?

    • clo

      Hi Rachel, I’m happy you find this handy! The American Tourister Soundbos is expandable from 20cm to 23cm. I think Amazon doesn’t make it super clear, but if you look under product description you will see that it say 40 x 20 x 55 cm and at the top it say Expandable to 55 x 40 x 23 cm
      I have this model and it is my favourite suitcase!

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