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I'm traveling with WizzAir from Poznań to London, and WizzAir has recently changed its policy to allow larger carry-on bags for free, but with no guarantee that the bag will be allowed on board - if it doesn't fit, it will be taken to the check-in desk and put in the cargo hold free of charge.

My flight is about two hours long, and I only need a few items on board, which would easily fit in my pockets. I also will not be traveling with any expensive items. On the other hand, I'd prefer not to worry about carry-on restrictions and have to pull things out of my bag at the security checkpoint.

Can I ask the airline to check my bag in even if it's not required?

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    You can ask them anything. Worst case they'll say no, or charge you a large amount of money for the service.. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Mar 30 '18 at 13:43
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    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas I'd rather know if that's possible before recklessly packing a 150ml shower gel, though... – Maciej Stachowski Mar 30 '18 at 13:52
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    Hardly anybody needs more than 100ml of shower gel in a single trip, you might as well pack under the level of what is allowed on board, so you can go either way. (And if you need more, two bottles of 100 ml each are allowed.) – Willeke Mar 30 '18 at 14:14
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    I think there was a similar question not so long ago, but I can't find it. IIRC the answers were that some airlines will actually offer to do it for free at check-in especially if the flight is full and they know there will be issues, but you can't quite be sure in advance. – jcaron Mar 30 '18 at 16:00
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    I think that other question is asking the opposite. They're saying "I've experienced this thing where I was given the option of checking my hand luggage for free, is it normal?" whereas WizzAir is explicitly saying that hand luggage is free and will continue to be so if checked and the user wants to know if they can explicitly opt to check it. They're asking different things. The other is a poor question and much too broad, I think. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Mar 30 '18 at 16:10
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If your reservation does not include checked baggage, you can either amend your reservation prior to the flight, or instead show up to the airport and check in baggage at the check-in counter. Both services will cost money, how much depends on the route and the date flown.

Using the WizzAir baggage fee calculator, with Poznan-to-London entered as the destination (plus a random date in April for travel), I see fees of €​29 for adding checked-in luggage to your reservation after initial booking, and €​60 for checking the bag in at the airport. There is a slightly higher fee for a larger/heavier bag. (The fees are also listed in Euro; I don't know if they'll accept PLN or pounds or require you to pay by card if you go to pay the fee at the airport on check-in.)

This is why the free checked bag policy for carry-on is such a big deal. If you pack a small enough bag and follow the restrictions set by security, etc, for carry-on luggage, they will waive the fee if it turns out they need to check it.

So, to be clear, the policy is that hand luggage is free. If they run out of room for hand luggage, they will check your bag(s), but it will remain free. If you want to explicitly check your bag, then it is no longer hand luggage (even if it meets the size constraints) and you'll need to pay the requisite fees for checked luggage.

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    This answer is correct. However, in practice, especially when the flight is fully booked, they'd rather put a willing passenger's luggage in the hold, than force a possibly reluctant one. You could place yourself at the end of the boarding queue, so the room in cabin is starting to get occupied... No guarantees, though, unless paid. – Miguel Mar 30 '18 at 17:19
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    Sounds like the best bet is to plan to take the bag carry-on, but be prepared to willingly and readily give it up for gate-check. Pack your few necessary items in a small pouch then place the pouch right on the top of your bag where you can get to it with a minimum of fuss. Maybe even let the gate staff know that you're willing to have your bag checked if it should become necessary due to space constraints. I doubt they'd complain about volunteers. – FreeMan Mar 30 '18 at 17:23
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    @Miguel I'm not sure about WizzAir, but domestic flights in the U.S. frequently ask for volunteers to gate-check their bag before boarding even commences when the flight is going to be mostly full. So, you wouldn't necessarily have to wait until the end to board in that case. – reirab Mar 31 '18 at 0:02
  • @reirab The problem with WizzAir and most low-cost (European) airlines is that you do not interact with any human being until just before boarding, so there is no one to tell them you are willing to check-in luggage. I was indeed asked about it but just because I had already paid luggage and I had to go to the drop counter anyway. – Miguel Mar 31 '18 at 14:01

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