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overhead bin airplaneOn my last flight, the gate agent announced that anyone in boarding zone five with a roll-aboard carry-on should go ahead and bring it up to the desk to be gate checked, as there wouldn’t be enough overhead bin space for it on the plane. I wasn’t particularly surprised; it seems that every time I fly, the boarding process turns into a chaotic mess of passengers stumbling down the aisle with their hefty carry-ons, searching row after row for a precious sliver of overhead bin space. (And don’t even get me started on the de-boarding process, when all the people who stowed bags 10 rows behind their own have to fight their way against traffic to be reunited with their possessions.)

Fortunately, the airlines — who created this problem in the first place by imposing fees on checked baggage — are responding by making overhead bins larger. According to a report from the Associated Press, four U.S. airlines are planning or have already begun making changes to the overhead bins on select aircraft: American Airlines, Delta, United and US Airways. These updates include more spacious bins as well as new bin doors with a more generous outward curve, allowing bags to be stowed wheels first rather than sideways.

Jet manufacturer Boeing is also tweaking the bin designs on its new planes to better accommodate standard roll-aboard bags.

Seven Smart Ways to Bypass Baggage Fees

On the one hand, it’s about time. Having effectively instituted penalties for checking bags, the airlines ought to be prepared to accommodate more carry-ons. On the other hand, if fliers know the bins are getting bigger, will they just bring more stuff? (According to the AP story, the airlines are going to be more vigilant about policing the size of carry-ons — so it may not be an issue.) Plus, the ballooning bins are just more dispiriting evidence of what we already knew: that those pesky baggage fees are definitely here to stay.

Hate gate checking your bag? Here’s how to prepare in case it happens to you: A Bag Inside a Bag.

— written by Sarah Schlichter

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3 Responses to “Airlines to Get Bigger Overhead Bins”

  1. ACruiseGuy says:

    Of course they are here to stay; isn’t the $$ amount in the MILLIONS for 2011 profits?

    The carryon people are annoying, rude and sometimes even silly. On a recent trip, I witnessed an entire family of five (Mom, Dad and three small kids) dragging their carryons. The kids had FULL SIZED pieces as well, plus all their other handheld stuff.

    Removing the luggage at the end of the flight is extremely hazardous for those sitting in aisle seats. Plus some airlines are charging premium pricing for those aisle seats on some flight.

    I think those with “carryon luggage to be stowed in overhead bins” should sit in the rear of the plan, and those who don’t have any should get the premium front of the house. After all, they “paid” extra for their luggage to fly with them.

  2. jane says:

    People with big carryons are very annoying. But at times, it’s not there fault. Allow me to explain. In high school, I went on several trips with a school teacher. She forced all of us to get carry ons instead of real luggage because she thought it would mean less time spent in the airport. In theory, this works as a charm. But the problem was that our carry ons were too big, we annoyed everyone on the flight and it was very difficult for us to get them from up there… I was never a fan o taking my luggage with me on the plane, because that’s not where it belongs!

  3. Steven Zemsky says:

    The way to store roll-on carry-ons is WHEELS OUT. Because of the back taper on the bins and the softer tops of the carry-ons, many bags that won’t fit wheels first, will fit wheels out. The only airline to tell you this that I’ve flown on is Alaska Air. Most flight attendants don’t even know this. Every airline should be announcing this as you board the plane.

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