The end of the one cabin-bag rule passed smoothly on Monday, frustrating the TV news crews that descended on Gatwick and Luton hoping for pictures of angry passengers.
The restriction was lifted at 22 airports, including Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, but remains at Gatwick, Luton, Bristol, Liverpool, East Midlands and 35 other airports.
A Gatwick spokeswoman said: “Most people didn’t know anything about the rule change so there were no problems.” Luton also reported a quiet day.
EasyJet and Ryanair, the two biggest carriers at Luton, continue to limit passengers to one cabin bag across their networks to minimise confusion.
An EasyJet spokeswoman said: “There were predictions of chaos, but passengers did not really know about the change. But there could be confusion in coming months.”
EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison warned last week of “massive scope for confusion”. EasyJet will retain its restriction until all 14 of its bases fall into line. At present only seven allow a second cabin bag.
BMI has also retained the limit on economy passengers while allowing two bags to those in business class. But British Airways is allowing Heathrow passengers two pieces of hand luggage while the restriction remains at its Gatwick base. A BA spokesman called for the restrictions to be lifted at Gatwick as soon as possible.
To confuse matters further, Gatwick is allowing some connecting passengers to travel with more than one cabin bag.
Gatwick aims to have the restriction lifted by Easter (March 21-24), as it installs high-tech scanners and extends security areas. Luton has not set a date for compliance, but is working to win Department for Transport permission to lift the restriction.
Mike Carrivick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, welcomed the move. “Airlines will have varying policies and those paying higher fares will tend to enjoy enhanced cabin bag allowances,” he said.
Clients should check with airlines and airports before flying.