If you’re a Ryanair passenger who’s long been waiting for the other shoe to drop, the January 15th policy landing was surprisingly soft. The truth is: there are pluses and minuses to the new Ryanair carry on bag policies. Things will be different, but not necessarily worse. Here’s everything you need to know about the new policy, and how it will affect your next Ryanair flight.

Allowance Is The Same

The greatest misconception of the new policy is that passengers carry on allowance has changed. It has not. Passengers may still bring one full sized carry on and one small personal item. What’s a personal item, you might ask? Many passengers long expected Ryanair to restrict this allowance, the way US carriers such as Delta, American and United have have – but they have not. A fare as low as €5 will still get you a full sized carry on and personal item. Not bad.

The Only Change

The only change is how your bags are dealt with. Overhead bins are a constant issue, and time wasted trying to cram bags into them, or subsequently check them into the cargo hold causes flight delays. Ryanair will now force all customers who DO NOT have priority boarding to gate check their bag. In other words, your larger bag will be placed (for free) under the plane.

The Problem

Frequent travelers have particular disdain for checked luggage. No one likes standing around waiting for luggage. If you have not paid for Ryanair priority boarding, by selecting a seat, you’ll be forced to wait at baggage claim, for your bag to be returned. Unless of course, you pony up. A first row seat with unlimited legroom can be secured for €20 one way, and includes priority boarding.

Outcome

Travelers looking for the best bargains will still be able to navigate Europe with a full sized carry on. Ryanair did not stoop to the diabolic levels of US airlines, introducing fares without full sized carry on baggage. Passengers who do not pay to select seats will waste time upon landing,  but can expect more on time arrivals. It’s really not so bad.

How will this new policy affect your travel decisions?