EasyJet is to change its cabin bag policy for flights from February 10, with allowances based on the fare booked.

All customers will be able to take a “small under seat cabin bag” onboard, which must be able to fit under the seat in front and has maximum dimensions of 45x36x20cm.

Customers who have booked an Up front or Extra legroom seat will be allowed to bring an additional “large cabin bag”, which will be placed in an overhead locker and must not exceed 56x45x25cm.

EasyJet Plus cardholders and FLEXI fare customers will also have the additional large cabin bag included in their booking, though this will be subject to space onboard.

The airline said the policy had been introduced due to limited overhead locker space meaning customers “can’t always be certain they will have their cabin bag onboard with them”.

It also said the move would reduce queue times and delays caused by the need to put excess cabin bags in the hold.

Those already booked to travel after February 10 with Up front or Extra legroom seats can bring a large bag in addition to the under seat bag, while those with other bookings can either upgrade or use the Hands Free service to check their large bag into the hold at bag-drop free of charge.

Robert Carey, chief commercial and customer officer, said: “Punctuality is important to our customers and we know that if they have their bags placed into the hold at the gate due to the limited space onboard this can cause flight delays, and it can be frustrating for them too.

“Our new policy will improve boarding and punctuality for everyone, as well as give our customers certainty of what they will have with them onboard.

“Customers with existing bookings from 10 February will be offered Hands Free for free, allowing them to travel with their cabin bag at no extra cost.

“For families, we’ll continue to provide a number of options to allow them to bring additional items free of charge, helping keep travel easy and affordable for families when they fly with us.”

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “While this decision has been framed as a means of improving boarding and punctuality, airlines make millions from the sale of flight add-ons, so passengers would be forgiven for thinking this is nothing but EasyJet finding a new way to get more cash out of them.

“With EasyJet primarily serving holiday destinations, this new baggage allowance will be of little use to many passengers, who will now feel they have no choice but to pay more.

“We’d advise people to do a proper flight fare comparison before choosing who to fly with, and look at the total price – other carriers may have a higher headline price, but could work out cheaper overall once add-ons like baggage are factored in.”