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I have not flown for about ten years: I was terrified by the idea of trying to entertain small children cooped up in a plane. Now that everyone's grown up a bit, I'm trying to book some flights to Europe.

Booking flights has changed a lot since I last did it: there are a lot more options available. And now I'm booking four seats instead of one, I really need to keep the prices down so I'm looking at budget flights.

I was very surprised to find that the cheapest British Airways tickets seem to allow no hold luggage at all - just two small cabin bags. So surprised that I couldn't quite believe it was true. But that does indeed seem to be the case.

So I went back to budget airlines and found a good price going out on EasyJet and back on BMI. I presumed these would have hold luggage in the price but, scanning the terms and conditions for these airlines, I'm now to so sure.

The question then is: do budget tickets now commonly exclude any hold luggage at all? And does anyone know if EasyJet and BMI standard economy class tickets specifically do exclude hold luggage?

  • When booking with BA shorthaul, you can pick between Hand Baggage Only and "normal" which includes one bag. They're shown on the booking screen, and you pick between them based on the price – Gagravarr Nov 27 '15 at 16:11
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    Definitely no free hold luggage on Easyjet, no economy class either, it's all one cabin, just a few seat with extra leg room but identical service for everybody (no complimentary beverage either). – Relaxed Nov 27 '15 at 16:28
  • Easyjet are quite clear about checked luggage, it's the second thing they try to sell you once you have selected a flight, right after the seat selection. – jcaron Nov 28 '15 at 0:58
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    Also, you seem to be based in the UK. A flight "to Europe" doesn't make much sense, as you are already in Europe. You may want to qualify that ("continental Europe", "elsewhere in Europe"...). – jcaron Nov 28 '15 at 0:59
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    @jcaron It's very common to refer to "continental Europe" as just "Europe" in the UK. It makes perfect sense in the context of the UK. You obviously wouldn't say "travel to Europe" to mean "travel within the country I'm in at the moment", so "travel to Europe" could only reasonably mean "travel to continental Europe" or "travel to continental Europe or Ireland." It's much easier to just separate out "continental Europe" and "Ireland" as two separate destinations and refer to the first by the shorthand of "Europe". – David Richerby Nov 28 '15 at 11:26
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Yes, this is a trend that has happened in the last few years for short-haul airline travel. Most of the cheapest flights include no allowance for checked baggage.

Of course this doesn't mean that you can't take checked baggage, it just means you have to pay extra for it. With young children this might actually work to your advantage, assuming you can get away with only two suitcases between the four of you rather than buying a more expensive ticket that gives you one free bag for each of your four tickets.

  • (+1) Also, children aged 2 or more pay the regular fare on easyjet so a family of four would have four times the regular cabin bag allowance, which is already quite a lot. – Relaxed Nov 27 '15 at 16:33
  • There is a limit on the number of bags too, and I don't think budget airliners would be happy to give you a bag weight allowance for the combined allowance. – Ayesh K Nov 27 '15 at 17:30
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When you go to book flights on the BA website, they are very clear about baggage. Unlike some airlines, they do make it very clear, and very easy to pick, as shown here:

BA website

You can see the price of their "Hand Baggage Only" fare, the price with a checked bag, the price difference, all on one screen at the same time. Depending on the route, the exact cost difference does vary, but it's roughly in line with what's shown here (just under 20 quid)

If you book HBO (hand baggage only), and later decide that you did actually want a bag after all, you can pay extra to add one on. Prices are given on the BA baggage page, and vary depending on the route and on the London airport used, but are roughly between £20 and £40.

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There is no longer an airline called BMI, they were bought by BA a couple of years ago. I think what you mean is BMI Regional. As covered on their BMI Regional Experience page, their base tickets include a 20kg piece of checked luggage for each ticket.

EasyJet never includes luggage in their base fares, as with pretty much all LCCs, so you'll have to factor adding on the checked baggage fee if you want it

  • "There is no longer an airline called BMI [...] I think what you mean is BMI Regional." This is like saying "There is no airline called Delta. I think what you mean is Delta Air Lines." – David Richerby Nov 28 '15 at 11:27
  • @DavidRicherby Nope - there was an airline called BMI which existed for a very long time. It was bought by BA, and merged into it. Some of the non-London routes went into BMI Regional. For a time there was both BMI and BMI Regional. Anyone googling for stuff about just "BMI" is quite likely to find old things from pre-merger, which are completely unrelated to the current "BMI Regional" airline! – Gagravarr Nov 28 '15 at 11:42
  • It is overwhelmingly common to refer to companies by abbreviated names. It is overwhelmingly more common to book tickets with airlines that exist, rather than airlines that have ceased to exist. Therefore, when somebody says, "I'm flying BMI", they can only possibly mean "I am flying BMI Regional (a trading name of British Midland Regional Limited". There is no need to correct them, because they were already correct. Unless, that is, you think there's a serious chance that they've built a time machine and intend to use it to travel on British Midland International prior to October 2012. – David Richerby Nov 28 '15 at 11:53

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