Universiteit Leiden

nl en

What's allowed as hand luggage?

Total confusion exists as to what you can take as hand luggage on flights. Each airline has its own rules, which causes frustration among passengers. Armin Cuyvers, Professor of European Law, discussed this issue on Dutch current affairs programme ‘EenVandaag’.

Reasonable requirements

Rules on hand luggage vary from airline to airline in terms of dimension, weight and whether or not extra costs are applied. A 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice stipulated that hand luggage may be taken on board free of charge, provided it complies with reasonable requirements. However, according to EenVandaag, it's unclear how ‘reasonable requirements’ may be interpreted.

What does a flight ticket include?

Professor Cuyvers says that ‘rules were introduced to make prices comparable for consumers’ and allow competition among airlines. The option to compare services and products is an important element within European law. In this case, the Court made a distinction between items covered by the ticket and optional services that airlines may offer separately. Hand luggage, however, is covered by the ticket, with no agreements on dimensions, for example, and no additional fees may be charged.

‘In theory, consumers can take their case to a Dutch court and make a claim under European law’, says Professor Cuyvers. New EU legislation on the matter is currently in the making.  

More information

Listen to the EenVandaag broadcast (in Dutch)

Photo: Belinga Fewings through Unsplash

This website uses cookies.  More information.