How strict is Ryanair with backpack size?

We've all heard stories of people getting caught out for one thing or another, and being charged a hefty fee for breaking Ryanair rules. But just how strict are they with your personal backpack?

Ryanair are famous for being strict for any number of little things, such as having:

  • The wrong sized baggage.
  • The wrong weight baggage.
  • Extra unplanned luggage on the day.
  • Being late either to the desk or the gate.

Breaking any of their rules comes with a hefty fee, usually a lot more than it seems worth the actual flight. So it's important to try and not get caught out by following Ryanair's rules to the letter.

Limitations of Ryanair's free personal baggage

There are several types of luggage you can pay for and take on Ryanair flights. It also happens you're allowed one free personal item, which can be a backpack. However, if your backpack is under the free baggage, it will be under extra limitations.

The free personal item, such as a backpack must be no more than 40cm x 25cm x 20cm. This is the equivalent of carrying the volume of 4 big bags of flour, or 40 or so small cans of coke.

Luggage will be checked by placing it into a luggage measuring area. If it fails to meet the size requirements, you will be asked to pay an on-the-spot fee to carry your luggage.

Over-sized cabin baggage will be refused at the boarding gate, or where available, placed in the hold of the aircraft for a fee of €/£ 69.99 -

Personal observation

From personal obversation, very few backpacks are going to be exactly 40cm x 25cm x 20cm in size. So I've seen people carry bags that seem a little taller or a little wider but without any problems.

Nonetheless, it's just not worth the risk trying to take a personal baggage item which is too big unless you want to risk the potential fee.