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The IATA (International Air Transport Association) standard hand baggage allowance is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8"), but Ryanair allows just 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.8"). This means that the bag you may have used on easyJet or British Airways won't be allowed on a Ryanair flight.
But even worse, as these pictures show, is that when your hand baggage does fit in the metal frame, sometimes the airport staff still charge you for having oversized hand luggage.
As you can see in the picture on the left, this man put his baggage in the frame and it fit. And then, in the picture on the right, you see him waiting to pay for "oversized luggage".
Why? His bag is made of a soft material and sags when stood upright. He had to squeeze the bag for it to fit, which was deemed unacceptable. But the bag is clearly of the correct size and has not been overfilled.
But at least this gentleman was allowed to board. Other passengers have not been so lucky.
For the record, I should state that it was not Ryanair staff who were doing the checks, but the lady in charge told me she was following direct orders from Ryanair. She told me she was not earning commission from Ryanair for catching customers, but other airport staff do: Bounty hunters at the airport! Check-in staff get 50p bonus for each piece of Ryanair hand luggage that won't fit
So how can you avoid this? One clever solution is this Big Pocket Travel Vest. The pockets are big enough to carry a laptop! Ryanair's boss, Michael O'Leary, has said he will not charge extra for these jackets (and it is difficult to see how he could). But they are not comfortable and are not the most convenient things to use.
The more conventional solution would be to buy a hard case, which (if it starts off within Ryanair's size limits) will always fit the metal frame, no matter how full it is. But these weigh more, drastically eating into your 10kg allowance.
But the best solution I have found is this: Best Bags for Ryanair Flights