Irish LCC Ryanair will cut its regular hand-luggage allowance from two pieces to just one in a bid to reduce boarding delays.

Ryanair currently allows all passengers to bring one large (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) and one small (35cm x 20cm x 20cm) item of hand luggage into the cabin. This is more generous than UK LCC rival easyJet, which strictly enforces a one-bag policy for non-priority passengers.

However, with load factors running at 97% in August, Ryanair said there is not enough overhead bin space for 182 customers to each have two carry-on bags (364 bags in total), causing flight delays.

Under the changes, which takes effect on all flight departures from Nov. 1, Ryanair will require non-priority passengers to give up their second, larger bag at the gate. There will be no fee for this service, although the bag must be handed over at the gate and not the check-in desk. Any non-priority passenger refusing to give up their second bag will be offloaded without refund.

Priority passengers will still be allowed to take two pieces on board and will queue in a separate, two-bag line. Ryanair offers a number of priority options, starting at €5 ($6).

The airline is also cutting its checked bag fees from €35 to €25 and increasing the weight allowance from 15kg to 20kg (15 lbs. to 44 lbs.) per piece.

“This will actually cost us, we estimate, €50 million in lost bag revenue because of the drop in the price of bags,” Ryanair chief marketing office Kenny Jacobs said. “Too many people are trying to bring two big bags with them and it simply doesn’t work.”

Excessive hand luggage and knock-on boarding delays is an ongoing problem for airlines. EasyJet just introduced a service where passengers can pay to check in their hand luggage in the departures hall for a reduced fee.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com