Improving the Passenger Experience 101: Efficient Use of Overhead Bins!

I’ve noticed quite a trend lately among US carriers.  In the great race for efficiency and on-time departures, they have started to–by default–claim that all overhead bin space is full about halfway through boarding, requiring all of the rest of the passengers to check their bags at the gate.

Strangely enough, about half the time I make it to my seat only to find several empty bins, or closed bins which are packed in the most inefficient way possible.

The standard carry-on bag is about 45 linear inches (22” x 9” x 14”), or 114cm (56cm x 23cm x 36cm).  In the standard overhead bin of an A320, these types of bags fit with the wheels to the back.  However, nearly every passenger I see boarding early puts them in width-wise, on the initial illusion that it is the only way the bag will fit.  Unfortunately, in doing this they are making bins with two bags appear to be full, when in reality two more could probably fit in snugly.

What’s the solution to this?  With the pressure flight attendants and ground staff are under to depart on time, I realize that it would be impossible for one of them to help passengers in loading the overhead bin.  However, it would be possible to make an announcement to notifiy or remind passengers that the vast majority of bags can fit utilizing the depth of the overhead bin rather than taking up width.  By simply hearing this a few times during the boarding process, I suspect that a vast majority of customers would happily comply, as I don’t believe their faulty loading practices are a conscious decision to try to keep other passengers from loading bags. Instead, the vast majority are just trying to get the bag into the bin as quickly as possible as the parade of customers awaits behind them, and simply do not think about efficiency.

Typical A320 Bin Pre-Flight--Failing to Utilize the Full Depth

Airlines already ask for passengers’ help in-flight when it comes to cleaning up the aircraft and raising or lowering the window shades, as well as with pre-flight tasks like mobile check-in. So why not add a few announcements upon boarding to gently remind passengers to try to use the depth of the overhead bin before taking up unnecessary width?

An Typical Example Showing About 5-6" of Space Left

Your thoughts?



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