It made the news big time this week when a guy had sewn all his travel belongings to the inside of his coat to by pass the new Ryanair baggage rules. It was great publicity but not everyone will go to such lengths. At Smart Gear we have been busy developing for over one year now a whole new concept about the way people travel, and we are excited to launch our concept early 2019. With Smart Gear our motto is all about helping travellers keep travel organised, minimise airline luggage fees and maximise mobility.

When in August we heard about Ryanair’s new baggage policies that would come into play, we thought long and hard about how we could reduce airline baggage fees. The clue was in the smaller second bag allowance which Ryanair increased to 20 litres in size. In Europe not all airlines allow two bags as carry-on, where as in the US almost all carriers allow what they call a “personal item”, which is a bag small enough that it can be stowed under the seat in front of you.

Before the 1st of November on Ryanair flights you we are allowed a small “under the seat bag” and a larger trolley bag for free on each flight. You had to pay for priority boarding to keep the larger bag in the cabin, if you did not it was free to put into hold. After the 1st of November you will now have to pay £6/€6 for priority boarding or pay a £8/€8 check-in fee for the 2nd larger bag (50x40x20cm). Can you imagine the outrage it caused that people had to pay more in additional fees per flight. Here are some tips on how you can money on your Ryanair flights.

Travel With Small Bag Only – 40x25x20cm

If you use the small bag allowance only, there are no baggage fees. But when I put forward to people to travel with a small bag only they say that it can only hold a pack of tissues or that it is the size of a postage stamp. How can anyone travel with a small bag only? At Smart Gear we developed the RyanMax, a travel backpack made to meet and maximise the allowance of the “under the seat” luggage of airlines. The best thing of all is that it is surprisingly large when you come to use it. I did a test of how much you can pack in our RyanMax+ travel backpack, a bag with laptop compartment and 16l main compartment. I did use our compression cube to allow for clothing to be packed compressed. In the video below you can see may packing list and how it all fitted.

The RyanMax is certainly big enough to hold clothing for a 2-4 day trip away. Your saving is £12/€12 per trip. You also get the benefit of having luggage that you can take with you. This is great when you arrive early and can’t check-in the hotel or you have to leave your hotel early and your flight is later that day.

Travel With Small Bag and Larger Carry-on Bag

On larger trips where you need more luggage I would make use of priority boarding (£6/€6 per flight) which allows you to bring the small bag and trolley (10kg limit) in the cabin. Beware that there is a limited number of priority boarding spaces, limited to 95 passengers. If sold out you will need to check-in the bag at £8/€8. There is a weight limit of 10kg for the trolley and if you have a heavy trolley it can quickly reach this limit. However there is no weight limit for the “under the seat” bag at the moment on Ryanair flights. If your trolley weighs more than 10kg or is larger than 50x40x20 cm you will have to pay a £25/€25 check-in fee. My advise is to avoid at all cost having to pay this check-in fee. Maximise the allowance you get with priority boarding, the Ryanmax is designed for this and comes with a bag loop to slide over your trolley handle.

Potential savings by maximising priority boarding vs full charge check-in are £19/€19 per flight.

Use Allowances of Partner or Family Members

Each person over the age of 2 has the same luggage allowance. Your partner, travel buddy, child or family member may pack less then you do. Why not use some of their allowance when you travel. My suggestion is to use a packing cube so you can separate your stuff from someone else’s.

More Airlines will follow Ryanair’s example

After Ryanair announced its new luggage policies, WizzAir decided to follow and announced something similar which also came in to effect on 1 November 2018. As the airline industry is working with thin margins I expect more airlines to tinker with their luggage policies.


Smart Gear has designed two travel backpacks that will maximise the “under the seat” allowance, The RyanMax+ and the RyanMax.

  • RyanMax+ Carry-on backpack with a tech compartment for a 15″ laptop and tablet, plus a 16l packing compartment.
  • RyanMax  Carry-on backpack with a 18l packing compartment only maximising your packing space.

We are very close to launching the RyanMax travel backpack on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, if you use our signup page we can let you know when it goes live. We also have a limited number of Early bird specials that will go on sale at a 40% discount of RRP.