Tired of squeezing your bags into a cramped overhead bin every time you fly? Well, there may be some relief on the horizon.
A number of domestic airlines are now enlarging their overhead storage bins, allowing more space for luggage and, hopefully, faster boarding times. Struggling with the overhead lockers creates stress for both you and flight attendants. By increasing the carry-on capacity of their aircraft, the airlines hope to make flying a smoother and happier experience for everyone.
The push for bigger overhead bins comes in response to a dramatic increase in the amount of carry-on baggage that people are flying with these days. Over the last few years, many airlines have started charging a ‘checked baggage fee’. Passengers have tried to sidestep this fee by bringing more and more luggage into the aircraft cabin, and finding space for it all is becoming a serious problem. United and Delta are the latest airlines to offer increased storage space, in some instances by replacing the doors on overhead bins with a new, curved design that can hold more bags. On other planes the overhead bins are being replaced altogether. Similar measures are being taken by American Airlines and US Airways.
Increasing cabin storage has also become a main focus for the airline manufacturers. New airplanes, such as the Boeing 787, are being designed with significantly bigger overhead bins and an emphasis on convenience for passengers.
But take note: More storage space in airline cabins is likely to be accompanied by stricter enforcement of baggage size limits. American Airlines, for example, have indicated that they will be deploying more baggage checkers in departure lounges, to ensure that passengers are complying with the carry-on size rules. So while we can look forward to faster boarding times in the future, bending the baggage rules may become more difficult.