Overhead Bins Getting Bigger

Packed planes and a high volume of carry-ons are forcing airlines to expand the space above passenger’s heads.

United and Delta are the latest airlines to replace or upgrade bins so they hold more luggage. Engineers are busy at Boeing designing jet interiors with larger luggage in mind. Because of fees on checked bags, more passengers are bringing carry-ons, which are growing in size. And with planes more crowded than ever, bins fill up before everyone has reached their seat.

The percentage of passengers bringing bags on board has hovered around 87% in recent years while the size of carry ons have increased. United is replacing its bin doors on 152 planes starting in April. The new doors curve out more than the old ones. That allows passengers to slide bags into the compartment wheels-first instead of sideways. American’s new 737s will hold 48 more bags than the planes they are replacing, although they have 24 more seats that means more people and luggage. American’s older 737s are also getting new baggage-bin doors that curve out more. The work is finished on about half of the 76 planes. Delta is adding new bins on their 767s that will hold 26 more bags than the bins they are replacing, an increase of 23%. US Airways had already enlarged bins on its 757s back in 2008. The change allowed fliers to slide bags in wheels-first instead of sideways.