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The Truth about Airplane Overhead Bin Space

Every day at airports across the world, airline cabin crews have to deal with the lack of overhead bin space. We flight attendants do have wings, but unfortunately we do not have magic wands that allow us to fit every passenger’s bag aboard every flight. Airplane overhead bins are not designed to hold large amounts of suitcases, duffel bags, or musical instruments. That’s what the cargo space in the belly of the plane is for.

Luckily, not everyone brings on two bags and, if they do, they’re not all the same size which means we flight attendants usually have something to work with. You see, during boarding one of my jobs as a flight attendant is to help with luggage. This ends up being more like solving an over-sized puzzle.

It usually goes like this: “If I move this bag here and place that suitcase there, then turn this shopping bag sideways and you put your laptop case under your seat, then you can squeeze your roller bag in the overhead bin instead of having to check it.”

Time permitting, that’s what I do on every flight, whether it’s oversold or not. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. Perhaps you’re in the last boarding group and the bins are already full, which means I’ve already helped a dozen people stow their bags. Or, maybe your bag is too thick and physically won’t fit.

But there are also some things to take into consideration when you’re traveling with carry-on luggage, as well as some actions every passenger can take to ensure the best possible outcome for your carry-on bags as well as your fellow passengers. Keep these facts in mind for your next flight:

1. Not all bins are created equal. Every time I work on the Embraer 170 or 175 passengers comment on the smaller bin space and say, “It fit on the last plane.” Mainline and international flights usually have much larger equipment than regional aircraft, which means the bins are probably bigger, too.  If you’re on a super small regional aircraft, it’s likely you will have to gate check all of your carry-on luggage. As for the larger aircraft, take an Airbus 320 for example, the 22-inch roller bag I use for work will fit perfectly if I slide the top handle inward with the wheels out. If I turn it around and have the handle facing out, the bin won’t close. On some Boeing 737s, I have to turn it sideways for the bin door to close. It simply comes down to the shape of the overhead bin.

2. There isn’t space for every passenger to bring on a roller bag. Even though everyone who boards has a confirmed seat, not everyone has confirmed stowage space. The closest you get to that is under the seat in front of you, assuming you’re not in row one. Otherwise, the overhead bin space is first-come, first-served. If your bag does have to be checked because of this you won’t have to pay – at least on the carrier I work for.

3. Crowded bins have always been a problem. Despite the fact that the airlines are charging a nice chunk of change for checked bags, the truth is, passengers have always brought on too many bags. Long before airlines started charging luggage fees, in the late ’90s, I spent many boardings standing in the back galley surrounded by piles of luggage that needed to be checked because the bin space was full.

4. Yes, luggage fees have exacerbated the bin space problem. When airlines announced that they would start charging for checked bags I knew what that meant. Luggage was going to be overstuffed and even more bags would be brought on. That’s exactly what happened.

5. Some people suffer from luggage separation anxiety. This isn’t a joke. Passengers have various reasons for wanting to keep their luggage with them. For some it’s time, such as they don’t want to wait at baggage claim, and for others it’s a fear of their bags getting lost or damaged.

6. People don’t follow the rules. Even though passengers are supposed to limit their carry on bags to two per person, they don’t. Look around the next time you fly and you’ll see.

7. One bag up and one bag down. I’ve seen one person fill up an entire bin. It’s not fair to your fellow passengers. Unless you’re sitting at a bulkhead or first row, please place only one bag in the bin and the other under the seat in front of you.

8. Coats and jackets on top. Filling an overhead bin with coats and jackets is a waste of space not to mention you risk someone ruining your items when they throw their roller bag on top of your stuff. I’ve seen jackets smudged with grease from this happening. Simply wait until all of the people are on and the bins are full then place your outerwear on top of the luggage.

9. Please don’t break the bin. Please don’t ever force a bag in a bin. Bins can crack as well as the bin door – and guess what: if a bin is broken the plane can’t fly. And that’s a whole other debacle…

10. Prepare for the worst (checking your bag) and hope for the best (finding space in the overhead bins). And while you’re at it, be sure to read my post Top 10 Luggage Tips For Flying on the Top 10 Blog.

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129 Responses to “The Truth about Airplane Overhead Bin Space”

  1. 1
    Dave says:

    Sound about right. I certainly like it when there’s room in the overhead bins for my carry on and I’m not forced to pay for checked baggage. But I’m much more thankful for being able bike through the tropical jungle in shorts and a tshirt in the warmth of the afternoon sun when earlier in the day I was freezing my but off bundled in jackets and gloves on the way to the airport.

    • 1.1
      SteveC73 says:

      The main thing left out here is the fear of theft from luggage – that is both a real thing and a justified fear given the high level of intrusion into bags and the low level of qualifications for the people doing the snooping. If you want to have something on the other end of a flight you better carry it onboard.
      And the baggage charges are obscene, which makes carrying-on necessary.

    • 1.2

      It’s all right if you are traveling to the Tropics, but different in cold climates. I recently traveled from Stockholm to Barcelona and found the bins full of overcoats, mufflers, scarves, hats, caps and bags. Fortunately at the check-in the kind girl at the counter had said she could take my cabin bag along with my suitcase at no extra charge. This relieved me (and the over-head bin) of an extra 10 kgs weight. It made no difference to the aircraft’s gross weight. I wonder why other airlines don’t adopt this excellent policy of Vueling.

  2. 2
    Rita Pilger says:

    I learned a lot about carrying on my luggage! Thanks!

    • 2.1
      Redeemer says:

      How are u doing? Thanks for the encouragement words……………… l want to be your friend……….im redeemer from Ghana…. nice meeting you…………. you can email me here ……………………… myredeemer@ymail.com im lonely so want good friend to encourage me …….. Hope to here from you………… your friend
      Redeemer

    • 2.2
      Redeemer says:

      How are u doing? im redeemer from Ghana…. looking for friendship……………Hope to here from you………….please email me here……………. myredeemer@ymail.com

    • 2.3
      Glenn says:

      How are u doing? I’m Glenn from the US. Why are you looking for friendship on a reply blog for an article on carry on luggage issues? Weirdo.

  3. 3

    Many thanks for the link and wishing all of you ‘Vacation Gals’ all the very best for the holiday season :-)

  4. 4
    Linda says:

    Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  5. 5

    Thanks for sharing these overhead bin facts, Beth. We appreciate your efforts to help make the flying experience better. Doug at the Authentic Seacoast

  6. 6
    Dave says:

    I love #5. I think #5a should state ‘If you’re traveling with an item you don’t want scratched/dinged/dented, drive yourself or stay home’.

    Took a flight earlier this year where a woman was griping about having the gate check her ‘Versace’ bag. Almost the whole way from ORD-MSP, all we heard was, ‘That’s a $4,000 bag…if there’s a scratch ANYWHERE, your airline is paying to replace it!’ The guy next to hear finally told her to shut up and that no one cared. She put on her Gucci shades, pulled up her fur coat and sulked the remainder of the flight. And yes, she was flying coach!

    • 6.1
      pat says:

      How do you drive from California to London

    • 6.2
      George says:

      This is such a lazy populist remark. What difference does it make whether she is flying coach or business. Or that she is wearing high-end sunglasses and an expensive jacket? She has the same right to avoid damage to an expensive item as anyone else.

      I believe the point you were trying to make was that she demonstrated obnoxious behavior by complaining (loudly enough for others to hear easily) that her item (while boasting about the price) was at risk of being damaged. The guy next to her was probably right that no one else cared.

      So you mock her for having expensive items in an attempt to portray her as spoiled, and then note that she was flying coach as opposed to business/first. Would her behavior have been more acceptable if she had a more expensive ticket? Is it your opinion that she could not afford an expensive ticket and therefore should not be wearing such items? Maybe the expensive tickets were not available. Maybe she preferred to spend her money on luxury items instead of a more expensive plane ticket. Maybe the items were gifts. It’s not your place to pass judgement. Perhaps she looked at your scrubby outfit and thought you should spend more money on your wardrobe than on coach plane tickets. Her judgement would be equally as offensive.

      Your remark is laced with the new kind of un-American envy we see so often these days. It used to be about working hard and achieving. Now it’s about snickering at those who don’t dress down, talk about country music and burgers, and who don’t go out of their way to appear “down to earth”.

    • 6.3
      Wagane says:

      No George, the point is that it’s luggage and it goes where all the other luggage goes and if she can spend $4000 on a bag that she doesn’t want scratched she should maybe pay for another seat for it rather than complain that some low paid cabin attendant who has to look after another 155 people on the same plane who are all complaining about one thing or another has put her ‘luggage’ where all the other luggage goes. Luggage gets dragged around on the floor and picks up scratches or dirt. It’s the same with fur coats. Sorry love but your £10,000 fur coat has to wait until all the other luggage is up in the overhead bins and then if you still want to put it up there, where the wheels might have gone through shit on the way to the airport, then it is up to you but a coat that takes up the space of 4 large bags is not going to take priority over those 4 bags when the plane is due to take off in 10 minutes and I still have another 30 bags to try and find space for. So if you don’t want a scratch on your luggage, don’t put it with the other luggage. If you don’t like the fact that I am moving your coat, don’t put your coat up in a space meant for luggage. Suck it up. Don’t like it? Rent your own plane and you can then do what ever you want but on this plane your bag is not worth any more than every other bag that needs to fit in a small place.

    • 6.4
      Chares says:

      Hey George and Wagane, Thanks for the amusing posts, I assume that was the aim of them? Unfortunately if you do something out of the ordinary in public, such as loudly complain, you most certainly are open to judgement. How can you imply that just by taking expensive items on a plane you are entitled to better service that anyone else?

    • 6.5
      wendy says:

      Wow… George… The lovely woman in the designer glasses griping about her designer bag being in the hold obviously thought that she should be exempt from the rules because it is an expensive bag and she can throw around the lawsuit comments.

      She’s not a jerk because she is wearing Gucci and not acting down to earth – she’s a jerk because she is acting like a spoiled jerk.

    • 6.6
      PD says:

      Pat. Extremely carefully, across the North Pole and down through Russia and Europe and emerge from the Channel Tunnel.
      Simple.

  7. 7

    I’ve noticed that the “not enough room in the overhead bins” problem is practically non-existent on airlines that enforce their carry-on requirements.

    Also, I’d be *extremely* unhappy if I had to check a camera or computer bag because the rollerbag-plus-big-travel-tote crowd had filled the overhead bins with luggage that could have been checked.

    • 7.1
      Wagane says:

      Excellent point Durant but unfortunately the industry doesn’t always work as well as it should and the cabin attendants on the plane don’t know what the ground staff and check in staff are doing and so just have to try and deal with the situations as they arise. Also there is never more than space for about half the people on board to bring big bags. Usually this is not a big problem bu there will always be the flight where everyone decides to bring a bag and there is simply no room. However it is extremely unlikely that your camera bag will ever get checked as it will fit under the seat in front of you (unless it’s a huge camera in a huge bag).

    • 7.2
      Phoenix1 says:

      And it is COMPLETELY non-existent on airlines without outrageously high checked baggage fees.

  8. 8
    Jennifer says:

    I’ve had to gate-check luggage because the plane ran out of space before, Durant; all you do is take out your personal electronics/jewelry/whatever is expensive, and take those on in your smaller carry-on. It’s not ideal, of course, but it’s also not the end of the world. :)

    • 8.1
      Jaime says:

      Probably the smartest move is trying to be one of the first passengers on the plane. That effectively eliminates the problem (for you, anyway) by first come, first serve.

  9. 9
    Jody says:

    A fab post, Beth. I actually don’t mind gate checking luggage. I make sure to have all the things I really want to keep close in my bag that fits under the seat. If I don’t have to pay for the bag to go under the plane, I’m good.

    (Stumbled, tweeted & added to my “Must read travel stories” in Pinterest- which brings in a surprising amount of clicks and shares)

  10. 10
    • 10.1
      me says:

      Exactly. Why should other passengers have to put their bags on the floor just because someone else wants to save the bag check fee?

  11. 11
    Debbie Ferm says:

    Oh my gosh, so true. While I’m sure there were problems before the baggage fees (as there always are with the general public:), did that ever exacerbate the problem by encouraging everyone to try to make it without checking a bag. The other thing that I’ve noticed has happened is people bum rushing the gate to try to be one of the first on so they don’t have to check their bag. What a mess. Bless your heart for dealing with it everyday. People are not easy.

    • 11.1
      Redeemer says:

      How are u doing? Thanks for the encouragement words……………… l want to be your friend……….im redeemer from Ghana…. nice meeting you…………. you can email me here ……………………… myredeemer@ymail.com im lonely so want good friend to encourage me …….. Hope to here from you………… your friend
      Redeemer

  12. 12
    AlexBerger says:

    Good insights. I definitely don’t envy the situation the airlines have put you in with the new policies. When I fly (and I do try and fly light), I always find I have to remind myself it’s not the cabin crew responsible for the latest and greatest baggage related nickle and dimeing scheme. It can definitely be difficult after particularly frustrating encounters with the booking agents and staff.

  13. 13
    Cailin says:

    Wow, I never realized that if a bin was broken the plane couldn’t fly. I’ve never seen one come close to being broken though either.
    I always find it amusing on flights when the flight attendants say please place heavier items at your feet and put light weight items in the overhead bins. But everyone always does it the opposite! I’ve never seen a passenger actually pay attention to that rule.
    I like how you also say that overhead bins are first come first serve. I got really angry about that on a flight recently actually. I was flying EasyJet, I purposely made sure I got on the plane as quick as possible since there is no assigned seating and to make sure my bag had room in the overhead bin. I was probably the 15th person on the plane everyone was on and one girl with a big pull along bag came on last and couldn’t find room for her bag. She wasn’t sitting anywhere near me but the flight attendant made me remove my bag so hers could fit then i was stuck with my bag at my feet in this extremely tight plane and she wasn’t inconvenienced at all… not cool.
    Nice to see this from a flight attendants perspective :)

    • 13.1
      Wagane says:

      Unfortunately this is easyJet’s new policy and this is where it fails. EasyJet allows two bag sizes. Regular and Guaranteed. The G bag will fit under the chair in front. The R bag won’t. The policy states that if your bag fits the G size it will not be checked into the hold, however as the G bag fits under the seat, these can (and are) moved to make space for Regular bags (those which are not Guaranteed) and as offloading bags takes time, it is easier for the crew to move bags under the seats and make space for the Regular bags when they really should offload the Regular bags as they are not Guaranteed but as Green Light Boarding is such a big issue, the senior cabin crew member will be called in to explain why the door was not shut at Minus 3 (3 minutes to pushback). Next tie it happens stand your ground and insist that yours cannot be moved, make up some medical reason that says you need your legroom space under the seat and hopefully they will then offload the Non Guaranteed bag. You have followed the rules, they haven’t. Their can and should be offloaded.

  14. 14

    I wish everyone followed #6 & #7. I usually check my bag, but if I don’t it’s a small bag that I either put under my seat or it only takes up a small portion of the overhead bin. I think it’s inconsiderate when people bring on huge and multiple bags, but I doubt it’s going to change. Great tips here!

  15. 15

    Great tips! I think many of the problems come from inconsiderate people, as you mention in numbers six and seven. If only people would understand that less is better while flying.

  16. 16
    Mitko @ Best Traveling Guide says:

    Thanks for sharing this great tips, it’s very useful information for anyone who travels by plane … and YES it’s a phrase you always hear around when it comes to the Airplane Overhead Bin Space “It fit on the last plane.”

  17. 17
    Tathata says:

    A rule of thumb that saves me from having the stress of having to check valuables:
    I don’t take anything in my carry-on bag BUT those valuables. I also make sure my carry on bag is small enough to fit on my back and if the valuables don’t fit in that bag, then I am taking too much.

    Of course, this doesn’t necessarily work for a move across the country… but in that case, I’d probably just rent a van and drive.

    Thanks for the awesome write up. If only more folks read this!

  18. 18
    Rahman @ Travel Marketing Blog says:

    Thanks for sharing the tips. I learned a lot from it.

    Also, I think the airport staff should be stricter in letting people carry such huge loads of stuff inside the aircraft with them. If all the airlines are little by little known for that, passengers will be more cautious.

    Rahman Mehraby
    Travel Marketing Blog

  19. 19
    @adamsommer says:

    Great post! I actually wish airlines which do a 180 and make checked bags free and charge for the carry-ons. As a frequent flier, I’d rather check a bag and board/take off much quicker than have to wait 30 minutes for everyone to stuff their bags in overhead bins.

    And I agree about the luggage separation anxiety…seems to hit fliers who do not fly often the most. I fly all the time, and don;t worry about it. My luggage is rarely lost or delayed.

    • 19.1
      cabridelle says:

      I agree. In fact, if there isn’t room for a roller bag per passenger, then the problem is with charging for checked luggage while allowing TWO carry-on bags. Perhaps allowing one free carry-on and one free checked bag would solve the problem, since many passengers end up in that situation anyway because of lack of bin space.

      I do appreciate all that (most) flight attendants do to help though.

    • 19.2
      offshore men says:

      Thanks for all this information, Yes i am frequent fliers also, and i always make sure i travel with one small bag max 5kgs , for my not so important things like my laptap and mobile power cables etc, i put it in the head bin , and all the rest important in my shoulder bag that i can put it below the chair in front of me…less hassle travel easy.

  20. 20
    UpForDebate says:

    @ Dave (#6): While your suggestion to essentially “get over carrying your own luggage or drive yourself or stay home” seems great in theory, I had that same mentality myself until recently. One question I’d ask is, how on earth do you expect people to “drive themselves” from the U.S. to Europe? Or to Hawaii for that matter?

  21. 21
    Audrey says:

    Excellent post…very well presented information!! Having worked in Aviation for 25 years and being a travel veteran, I fully agree with the information presented, thank you for sharing.

  22. 22

    You are right about people not sticking to the rules, I check everything I can be seperated from and sometimes for shorter flights do not even bother with carry on. There is usually enough space under the seat for a sensible sized daypack and I never really understand why people with small children do not put bags under the childs feet. I am over 6ft and I find room easily enough.

    • 22.1
      Redeemer says:

      The man does not love the woman herself, and her condition with her. So real women – this is not the most beautiful, is not the most intelligent and certainly not the most successful socially. A real woman gives a man not mind, no beauty, no body, no progress, and the state. A woman who creates a special condition of men – men will always be a success and fans. This condition it creates, enjoying themselves in society, men and admiring the man. And as to this particular man will last, like a magnet. A real woman cultivates a femininity to bestow her men (favorite, fans, friends, acquaintances, passers-by). EMAIL MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE….. myredeemer@ymail.com

  23. 23
    Mike Siffer says:

    I think that an airline should just take the overhead bins out. Overhead bins slow departure, slows down the deplaning. Nothing is more frustrating than having the flight arrive on time but people wrestling with the overhead bins slow down the process.

  24. 24
    Amanda says:

    I think they should have the opposite all bags are checked and a fee for carryon bags except for one small bag!

  25. 25
    Kath says:

    As someone with a disability, I find this really frustrating.

    I need to carry incontinence supplies with me (unfortunately I am not joking) and my life would be utter hell if I had to check my carry on luggage.

    So will a letter from my doctor guarantee that I can carry on my luggage?

    I’m travelling overseas for the first time this year and I’m very nervous about losing my luggage as it’s not simply a matter of buying a new toothbrush at my destination.

    A different question is why the carry on limits are not enforced if it’s such a problem?

    • 25.1
      Beth Blair says:

      Hi Kath,

      I would certainly notify the airline before the trip and as soon as you arrive at the gate (most importantly). In my experience, airlines are very accommodating to anyone with special needs. They may let you pre-board to ensure you have the space you need.

      As to your other question, I think it depends on the airline and time restraints. I recently flew on American and they strictly enforced the rule.

    • 25.2
      Sarah says:

      I was going to make a similar point, Kath. No overhead bins would be a hardship to anyone needing to carry incontinence supplies or special feeding equipment or meals (this would include parents of infants and toddlers).

  26. 26
    Faith says:

    To those suggesting eliminating bins or criticizing those who bring carry-ons for the flight – you’re happier when I have my backpack full of tricks for my two kids when we fly. Plus I didn’t just need that stuff for the flight. It’s also for when we are waiting around the airport before boarding. I definitely check our suitcases.

    • 26.1
      Redeemer says:

      How are u doing? im redeemer from Ghana…. looking for friendship……………Hope to here from you………….please email me here……………. myredeemer@ymail.com

    • 26.2
      The Real Redeemer says:

      Hey fake redeemer from Ghana! I’m the REAL redeemer, and you need to back off. This blog board is MINE. I’ve been redeeming folks here for the past two weeks (that’s a long time online).

  27. 27
    sally says:

    I think it would be a great idea for airlines to start charging for carry on baggage. I am sick and tired of watching passengers bring huge bags that are over the size limit onto the plane. I also think it would be time saving for those of us who actually check our bags for passengers with carry on bags be required to sit in the back rows of the plane. It takes forever for people to unload their bins after landing!

  28. 28
    Pavel says:

    Many people complain about baggage fee being expensive. Well put it this way, how much do you weight? and how much your bags weight? compare them with your ticket price. Aircraft need more power if the plane get filled full. It means more fuel consumption. Airplane fuel is REALLY expensive. The more fuel they use, the less profit they got

    • 28.1
      chava says:

      I once had an airport worker tell me I couldn’t carry on my bag, and I had to check it because it took lots of fuel to get the plane off the ground and the bag was heavy. So, is it easier to carry bags that are checked than those carried on.

  29. 29
    Wade says:

    Firstly and most graciously, my heart goes out to “all” airline flight attendants ~ I just can’t imagine that you’re paid enough to put up with the boorish, selfish, greedy and insulting passengers that you do {on a daily basis} and do it with a smile and most often with a genuine friendly manner {either that, or “YOU Guys” are the ONLY ones who should be given The Oscar Award!}. Between 1991 and 2008, I flew over several thousand flights on tour, all over the world and to more than 50 cities in the USA & Canada. I learned [very quickly] just to skip attempting to carry “anything” on board, but just to sit back and witness the in-fighting between passengers for “their” rights [sic]. This got me so depressed that I began using my ear-plugs and eye-patch for sleeping “before” we’d even taxied out or gotten airborne(!).

    The article ‘was’, indeed, well written, and I’m happy that it brought this subject (as it does from ‘time-to-time’) to the attention of the flying-public, however as a college professor in social psychology, your [article's] statement in #7 above: “It’s not fair to your fellow passengers”, was, sadly, wasted words, …or, at best, “wishful thinking”. ~ If God Himself could call out, ‘Thous shalt not Murder, Thou shalt not commit Adultery, Thou shalt not Steal, etc.”, and He is being constantly ignored, (ha!) how much more so, a friendly wisp-of-a-reminder to be >”fair”< {"n-e-w", I'll admit, to some(!)} is gonna be ignored, …but, I like it so much (in the words of Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall") I'll repeat it again, …"It’s not 'fair' to your fellow passengers."

    Luckily (for me), I've retired from traveling and can now take Dave's advice (#6) and 'stay at home'!

  30. 30
    Mick Maguire says:

    As far as I am concerned, if your “carry on” or “hand” luggage is that big it needs wheels then it should be in the hold no -brainer.

    • 30.1
      msnovtue says:

      Amen!! If it’s a suitcase of any sort, it goes below. I never take a bag bigger than a backpack, and thankfully, have never had to gate check it. Plus, “soft-sided” items like backpacks, totes, and smaller duffel bags are much easier to fit in bins due to the “squishability factor”. It also makes them less likely to be gate-checked–maybe it’s just me, but on a couple of flights the FAs were more than willing to make room for my smaller, easier to fit backpack then the guy with the rollaboard suitcase.

  31. 31

    That was super helpful! Thanks!

  32. 32
    John says:

    There is absolutely no way that my laptop, slr camera and camcorder are going in the hold! I have a very small suitcase that is 50x40x20 which holds all this stuff and meets all airline guaranteed carry on regulations. If everyone had one of these there would be no problem.

  33. 33
    tim says:

    to be fair, airlines should charge by the total weight of passengers and luggage plus special fees for special needs and demands.

    • 33.1
      chava says:

      Maybe, but the reason they limit the weight of checked baggage is because their employees have to lift these bags, and they don’t want all the employees out on disability. But you’re right. We fat passengers should pay more, and get wider seats.

  34. 34
    Piet says:

    What really annoys me is that the available overhead bin space capacity is often reduced by crew luggage, stacks of magazines and bales of airline blankets or pillows. Overhead bin space should be reserved for paying passengers.

  35. 35
    Michael says:

    The airlines share the blame with the passengers.

    Airlines now nickel land dime their customers by charging for checked bags, for snacks/food on domestic flights, and even for headphones to watch a heavily-edited, faded, and frequently-interrupted movie. As a result, more luggage tha. Ever is carried aboard, and the cargo bays are now near-vacant.

    Passengers have ALWAYS carried more aboard than they would need for the flight. 95% (99%?) of the baggage stored in overhead bins is never touched again until it’s time to depart the airplane. Your carry-on is supposed to be what you NEED during the flight, not the kitchen sink.

    Back to the airlines…. Don’t lose our luggage., and get it to the baggage claim by the time we get there. Regain our trust! We’re walking to baggage claim, while you have vehicles. I know. You’re all union, and get paid by the hour, not by the bag… But try showing a little American pride. Your lower-paid foreign counterparts (i.e., Japan) are putting you all to SHAME!!!

    • 35.1
      Teri says:

      The carry-on is for items you don’t trust the airlines to keep secure in your checked baggage. As a DoD dependent we move between the U.S. and overseas locations and must hand carry valuables with us. I would never check my carry-on for this very reason. Even when just traveling, my carry-on will contain passports, medications, electronic devices, and jewelry. My luggage has been lost countless times and I have had the forced checked carry-on with disastrous results. My daughter lost her medications when returning to college because of the forced carry-on storage.

  36. 36
    billeebong says:

    Well, it’s all about me and I don’t care about your problem. As long as I can get away with it I will continue bringing two stacked rollabouts, a computer bag, and an overshoulder bag onto the plane. Try to stop me.

    • 36.1
      Rachel says:

      Selfish f**k

    • 36.2
      Allan says:

      I hope it falls out during turbulace and hurts you real bad, idiot.

    • 36.3
      wendy says:

      Troll…

    • 36.4
      The Real Redeemer says:

      billeeeebong, you are a tiny troll. He’s a tiny, crunchy troll treat for your tiny troll self. I know I’m not supposed to feed you, but you look so pathetic and small sitting in that soiled chair in your smelly pants.

  37. 37
    Cal Watkins says:

    How about this….assigned seat? ASSIGNED BIN SPACE…. pretty simple actually and if people
    know they only will have a certain amount of space and no more then that would solve the problem of too much luggage for the attendants to stow, would make getting to the seat easier, stowing your own bags easier and faster…and attendants wouldn’t have to play this silly luggage shifting game.
    Give me one good reason why the space above a seat could not be marked and assigned….its right there, right above the seat…seems like the airlines just like to keep things aggravating…I hate flying

    • 37.1
      Teri says:

      Great idea, too bad the airlines can’t seem to figure this out.

  38. 38
    peter marton says:

    “How about this….assigned seat? ASSIGNED BIN SPACE…. ”

    There a money making idea that even the Master Skinflint O’Leary of Ryan Air has not though of – he will be so happy now, he can start charging £25 for the overhead locker as well as £35 for the bag itself.

    And if he puts a lockable lock on the overhead locker he can charge a locker lock key charge, another £10 at least, and if you misplace your key to the overhead locked locker that will be another £25.

  39. 39
    John says:

    If a piece of luggage needs wheels, it’s not a carry-on. Carry-on luggage is something that you can CARRY.

    • 39.1
      wendy says:

      Just because it has wheels does not mean it is bigger than a carry on bag without wheels. The wheels and handles are for convenience. There are small size bags with wheels that are made with airline overhead bins in mind. You still can pick it up and carry it but if you are walking all over the place you don’t have carry it all the time. If it weighs more than 10lbs, I don’t want it on my shoulder or dangling from my hand as I run all over the airport.

  40. 40
    Rachel says:

    … and for godsake, don’t anyone contact “Reedemer”. Next thing you know he’ll be asking you to wire him some money …

  41. 41
    Shane says:

    I think it’s the airline’s responsibility to not let these irresponsible people carry on luggage that clearly should be checked in and not held in bins overhead. What happens if there is turbulence mid flight? All hell breaks loose and loose luggage can kill – that’s what. Sucks, but it’s about time this is sorted.

    • 41.1
      sapphire says:

      My nose was broke when the passenger seated in the aisle seat opened the overhead bin to retrieve his tennis racket when the plane landed. The airlines are not responsible for my injury and label it a nusance claim. The passenger got off the plane before I could get his name because I was writhing in pain. Tennis racket did have a cover or anything and should have been checked.

  42. 42
    lee says:

    preaching common sense

    • 42.1
      Allan says:

      Dear Sir or Madam
      I travel by air constantly and up to now over my 40 years of travel I have lost only 3 bags, which is good as they always turn up. I get frustrated watching all the people passing my seat with stupid sized baggage that is going to be impossible to fit the bins, the other ones I detest are the smarty pants who use the first bins at the front of the aircraft and sit at the back, these people are the scum, taking up the other peoples space in the bin above that seat. I got on an easyjet flight and found the space all around me was over full and I had no where to put my company laptop, which has everything I need for working, I ended up putting it under the seat in front, which brings me to another flight where the person in front put her bag under her own seat and used up what lag space I had, when I ask her to place it under the seat in front of her she said that would hamper her leg room!!! The stewardess managed to get her to do exactly that.
      Irritated flyer.

  43. 43
    Susan says:

    Recently, I was travelling w/ a small bag of duty free and a handbag. The flight attendant wanted me to put everything under my seat. Why? Roller bags were occupying most of the free space. If we can’t squeeze a roller bag on for all passengers, start charging people who bring them on. If I don’t bring much hand luggage, it’s because I don’t want to shove crap where my feet belong. Those of us who don’t push the limits of carry on baggage deserve a break.

  44. 44
    Mudogah says:

    If the airlines would enforce the carry-on rules a lot of this could be avoided in the first place.

    • 44.1
      isItJustMe says:

      Exactly. But they’d rather monetize the problem by selling “priority boarding” and early access to the bin space. ka-ching!

  45. 45
    Neil says:

    This article seems to indicate that there are many who disagree with each other as travellers. The parable of the eye of the needle comes to my mind. If you cannot get along with others and cannot see the value of air hosteses then go by sea.

  46. 46
    frank delano says:

    My God, if this is what you spend your time reading, you really have nothing to look for on this planet.. Most uninteresting story I have read, ever.

  47. 47
    Cadiz says:

    What has bothered me is when I have come onboard early during the seating process and placed my one small item of carry-on luggage in the bin over my head and then later to accommodate a complaining customer who wants to put his three pieces of baggage together the flight attendant has moved my bag six row further back in the overhead. I am sure as a flight attendant you have tried to move against the flow of debarking passengers and it just doesn’t work. Please remember the first come first served’ rule and don’t move my smaller bag six rows away to accommodate a passenger with more bags than they should have.

  48. 48
    txpatriot says:

    There are two simple reasons people carry-on bags rather than check them in:

    1) Airlines lose bags
    2) Retrieving bags takes forever

    In other words, the airlines have only themselves to blame. Fix those two problems, and you’ll have fewer people carrying on overstuffed bags.

  49. 49
    Anon says:

    Everyone should be restricted to one (1) small carry-on bag (purses don’t count). Travelers requiring more luggage for business or pleasure should be required to check 2nd+ bags, even if they have to pay. Its getting to the point that if you’re unlucky enough to have a seat before the 1/2-way point in seating, you WON’T find room for your 1 carry-on, because everyone else decided to pack their house in carry-on luggage & bring it on the plane.

  50. 50
    Rob. says:

    You should fly with some of the Russian airlines. Many of the passengers will have two or more pieces of hold luggage, and will also have three or four carry on bags, and they will take a whole luggage bin space for themselves. It is a nightmare sometimes on these flights just trying to find space for my carry on bag, which is within the permitted size asked for by most airlines. Easyjet are also now insisting that only one bag is carried on, which means even ladies putting their handbags into their carry on case. I think that people should give a bit of thought and common sense about their carry on luggage, before they go to the airport, and consider their fellow travellers.

    • 50.1
      rachel says:

      i was at Manchester Airport, Uk, on 2 January 2103. the busiest day i have EVER seen- so busy that our Easyjet plane to Athens was preparing to leave without 30-odd pasengers who had checked their luggage on time but were stuck in the horrendous queues getting through security! Check in to gate took me 2 and 1/2 hours. Absolute mayhem.
      i still recall seeing a group of young Italians, about 8 in all, very noisy and i have to say pretty obnoxious to those in their vicinity, waiting to check in. they were each carrying 2 huge, overweight, stuffed-to-the gills suitcases, ie extra charge charges for all of them, PLus big , wheeled, solid bulky carry on bags for each of them. Just dealing with their checkin, on such a busy day, took about half an hour!
      some people are simply incredibly selfish- thank God they weren’t on my flight but i could just picture the fun with them trying to sit together and squeeze these huge carryons into the bins somewhere near their seats… plus .they probably would’ve paid less to post their excess stuff to Italy before leaving the UK- i have done this myself as i live abroad.
      take a small, soft sided bag. put the minimum in it- pills, other medical/babystuff if needed, passport, wallet, tablet- wih protective case of course!-,harddrive/memory stick, phone, keys, and a book. and a nice bag of nuts so you don’t pay for some nasty stale sandwich. if you fly to the same place regularly, keep some clothes etc and spare laptop or whatever at the other end if you can, its far less hassle…the amount of stuff some people try to bring into the cabin is just unbelieveable. i used to try to play the same game then relaised- hat the hell, i don’t NEED all this stuff with me, do I?

  51. 51
    Mark says:

    More than half of the bin problems wouldn’t even be an issue if:
    1) Carry-ons were actually made to fit in or through the sizer example at the gate. Failing that,
    2) Flight attendants would actually take obviously oversized bags and stick them wherever they put things that “don’t fit”.

    I blame it all on the airline for not enforcing carry on policy at the gate, and for not REQUIRING attendants to send oversize luggage “to that place”.

  52. 52
    Brian says:

    I was presently surprised when flying AA this month. When they called for Group 1 to board they also called anyone with only under seat carryon to board. We were at Group 3. Thanks for rewarding those who do not abuse the system.

  53. 53
    Muzz says:

    In my experience, this is an American problem. I travel a lot and have found that it is only Americans who cause the overhead luggage problem, and the root cause is that their airlines do not enforce the regulations – which is strange when you think about it,because they are such bureaucratic sticklers for the rules in other respects. Dept of Homeland Security, anyone? Let’s have airline check-in staff enforcing the rules consistently, and the problem will go away of its own accord.

    • 53.1
      wendy says:

      AGREED. Stop griping at everyone and go after the abusers. Because they never enforce the rules the same people bring their extra bags everytime. It’s never their bags being pulled out to go below. It’s the poor person who got on later.

    • 53.2
      JonB says:

      It’s not just Americans. I fly between Asia and the US (and within Asia) many times a year. Trust me, it’s not just Americans.

    • 53.3
      kate says:

      sorry, but this is not limited to america. i never noticed it until i moved to asia, and it is a huge problem here.

  54. 54
    Tom says:

    Thank you to all of the flight attendants that have worked the flights I have been on in the past and future.
    Your service, oversimplified by the problem solving example of this article, is often overlooked by passengers such as myself. May all of your journeys be safe. – Tom

  55. 55
    AggieCat says:

    There are a few ways to deal with the ginormous roller bags problem:
    1. Bins in first class, if there is such a thingon the flight, are reserved anyway, and who, in first class wants the plebians rubbing by them as the parade down the aisle, so first class loads last.
    2. anyone without a roller bag and with one or two small carry-ons loads first, then larger bags then roller bag owners. Your roller bag may no longer fit and then, it’s gate checked, no argument.
    3. Just go ahead and gate check the bag. I do.
    4. If you are carrying on more extremely valuable items than will fit is a standard tote bag size (I’m envisioning a recyclable shopping bag) then you are taking too much stuff! Cut back or ship it overnight.

    See the reason most folks don’t want to check baggage is first, and formost, fear of it getting lost or stolen and never showing up again. Well, when you gate check, that problem is almost completely non-existent. Gate checked bags go directly on the plane. They have to. They get more gentle handling from the gate staff, And once they get to the destination, they tend to be the last items in so they are the first off the plane. Also, bags arriving aren’t sitting around for hours, this is not the case with bags departing. It’s the long “wait time” for bags on the outgoing leg that tend to be prey to thieves, getting lost, etc. Once a bag is unloaded from the plane, there is no legitimate reason for it to leave the group, be opened etc.

    I suspect that when I prance to the gate and let the stewards know that I’d like to volunteer to gate check my rolling bag, it makes them happy and that means they have an interest in helping me to be happy too. I travel a lot for work and Have to take lots of stuff. I’ve never had it go missing when I ship it via overnight freight, the hotels are great about hanging on to the box, and nothing critical, like extra brochures, the display item for the conference etc. has ever gone missing.

    • 55.1
      wendy says:

      I’m assuming that since you are traveling for work they are perhaps paying for these overnight shipping fees. My travel isn’t for work (anymore), I shouldn’t have to pay separately to have my valuables shipped through a different organization than my body. I’m also usually traveling to rural locations so now my overnight package is getting bounced around and being delivered to a residence in the middle of nowhere, where someone might be home at whatever time they deliver or not. So then it either gets left by the door or taken back to wait for a signature.

      We don’t all live and work in the city where everything is just down the street and convenient.

      So how about they seats are sold along with or without certain luggage spaces – you get a tag for your overhead bag if you bought a seat with a space and people are held accountable. You bring too many they go below. Your bag is too big, it goes below. You argue about it, they remove you from the plane (they love to do that these days) and the plane goes on time, regardless of who is on it or not.

  56. 56
    Michael Pearson says:

    The hold is most definitely NOT the place for musical instruments. A violin for example can be extremely valuable (some stringed instruments are worth more than a flight attendant will earn during their lifetime!) and the temperature in the hold can seriously damage it as well as it being knocked about and so forth. Many airlines fortunately have a policy that allows musicians to take some instruments on board and store them in the overhead lockers. That there is still some ignorance amongst airline staff about this is regrettable.

    • 56.1
      David says:

      I wanted to second Michael’s comment relegating musical instruments like violins to the “cargo space in the belly of the plane.” Besides being sensitive to extremes in temperature and humidity, they don’t do well being thrown around. I’d gladly pay some kind of checked-bag fee for the peace of mind of knowing I could safely stow something that is too fragile to check but too small to need its own seat.

    • 56.2
      TRAVELLER says:

      We were traveling with my son and he had his guitar as he had been on a band trip with his school prior to us meeting up. They very kindly put it in the coat locker in first class. We had contacted the airline before hand to see if they could help us, and they had tagged our name for this.

  57. 57
    Rich says:

    As a former airline employee, I can tell you from personal experience that far and away the worst offenders when it comes to excessive carryon luggage are…airline employees. If you do not think airlines seriously monitor carryon baggage for revenue passengers, sit in a boarding area one day, observe the cockpit and cabin crews as well as the staff traveling on pass privileges, and count how many people blithely board with three, four, or even five or more bags of all shapes and sizes.

  58. 58

    je n’ai jamais voyager dans ma vie a lorsque j’ai envi de voyager

  59. 59

    From this article about carry-on luggage my biggest carry-away point, if you like, was that if we break the bins the plane can’t fly. I never would have guessed that one. How does that work, then, precisely? Has this ever happened in your experience or is it just a nice shocking threat to make the passengers gentler on the fit-out?

    • 59.1
      Toks says:

      Not that the plane can’t fly, but rather due to safety concerns it won’t be allowed to fly.
      When you hit a patch of turbulence, a broken bin presents the added danger of luggage flying around and injuring passengers. Or was still in the event of a crash landing.

  60. 60
    wendy says:

    I’ve traveled quite a bit and I did a lot of short stay trips or trips to and from locations where I didn’t need to haul lots and lots of things with me. When purchasing my ticket I was told that I am allowed one carry on bag for overhead (proper size, of course) and a small one for under the seat in front of me. My overhead bag does indeed have wheels and a handle but is small enough to be acceptable on any of the airlines as an overhead bag. The wheels and handle is not indicative of it being a large size as some people say – it merely means my backpack size bag does not need to be lugged on my back through the airport and down the sidewalk.

    Each bin should correspond to a seat. No overhead bin for a seat then sell it at a reduced price and that person who buys that ticket can’t bring an overhead bag with them. People buying the larger legroom seats that don’t have an underseat space – can’t bring an extra bag with them.

    Stop punishing the people who follow the rules. When you see someone walking by with six bags in their hands or filling up the bins overhead – stop them. They do it because they get away with it.

    I don’t carryon to avoid paying a fee. I carry on because I’m traveling light . My laptop, medications and purse are in my carryon. There is a good reason I don’t want you to take it from me and throw it under the plane. Take the bag from the abusers not the customer playing by the rules. What is more annoying is that anytime this has happened the attendants are completely unconcerned. If you even start to voice displeasure (and I do not mean a scene) they get that gleam in their eye. Because now all you have to do is annoy one and they can have you tossed off the plane in a heartbeat with the air marshalls waiting for you on the other side of the gate.

    Nothing is more annoying than watching some jerk with his entire family cramming the overhead bins full on both sides of the aisle and as you get closer… oh that was my spot. Why thank you kind, thoughtful, fellow passenger. Oh and now they want to take my bag away. So not only am I risking loosing all of my valuables that I am carrying, now I have to go and wait for the pushing and shoving to commence around the luggage carousel and my bag doesn’t even have my name on it as it was never supposed to leave my possession in the first place.

    • 60.1
      TRAVELLER says:

      Yes, I hate when someone puts their bag in your bin, then moves further back down the plane to their seat.
      I have been tempted to just take it out and leave it in the aisle, but that would inconvenience other passengers who are not part of this problem.

  61. 61
    J says:

    I think everyone should be entitled to a proportionate amont of space in the overheadbin ABOVE their seat, i.e., you should get 1/2 of the bin above your seat if you’re in a two person row and the bin can only hold 2 carry on size bags. Is that so hard to enforce? Why should I be penalized and have to check the ONE carry on I brought because someone else ignored the rule and brought more than the allowed carry on?

  62. 62
    Lucian says:

    When I travel, I do not have a carry on. Just my camera, my electronic devices to bring on board the rest of the luggage is checked in and I always stay within the norms of the allowed free checked baggage.

    Now, for some Mexico bound flights you have people that bring large bundles as carry on and most of the airlines permit this…Me I am laughing as they are fighing for overhead bin space.

    Advice, tralvel light, bring only necessities, the rest if you require it, buy it at your destination point.

    Luc

  63. 63
    Per Legarth says:

    In Scandivia, there are maximum measures for cabinluggage, there are measuringboxes placed at luggage check in, and by the gate, if it dosent fit, it has to be checked in as “bellycargo” .

  64. 64
    Magpieron says:

    Anyone with oversized carryons should be stopped and not allowed on until all other passengers are on. 3 or 4 flights of being last off as they retrieve luggage from all over the place they will change. If anyone takes my place above my seat I merely move it to somewhere else. They can go look for it when they get off and if you are at the front of the plane you are already off.

    Alternatively if people insist on taking more than they should they should be refused the flight.

  65. 65
    satheeshdlk says:

    Very useful for travels and tourists.
    For more: http://slovenia-busrental.com

  66. 66
    George H says:

    Provide a key with your airline ticket to unlock your overhead baggage space – easy !!!

  67. 67
    P Smith says:

    If you don’t want people bringing two or three bags, give a flat out “No.” Don’t bitch about people with three bags if you’re the ones letting them on.

    You don’t like rearranging bins? Then tell the idiots who get on first NOT to act like they’re the only ones on the plane. Tell people to place their bags vertically or in the least space possible, instead of what most of them usually do – they put the bag flat in the middle of the bin and leave everyone else to deal with it. If I see an idiot doing that, I dump their bag on the floor.

    And you stewardesses should learn some common sense. If a person has something that IS NOT dangerous and can be kept safely on the lap or wrapped around a leg, let it go. If I have a belt pouch around my waist containing an MP3 player and a puzzle book, it doesn’t need to be dumped in the bin. If my backpack is under one KG and I have the straps around my body or put the bag under my , it WON’T come loose during takeoff.

    • 67.1
      P Smith says:

      That should read:

      If my backpack is under one KG and I have the straps around my body or put the bag under my seat, it WON’T come loose during takeoff.

  68. 68
    Jess says:

    In general, people bring wayyyy too much carry on shit, travel light how’s that. On my last vacation I saw a huge portion of people bringing on these massive wheely bags like suitcases they were NOT carry on bags. I was thinking that belongs in the bottom and they seemed all irritated when they wouldn’t fit, it’s like well don’t bring massive suitcases as carry ons then…. Wow the nerve and stupidity of people in general is alarming.

  69. 69
    Dusky says:

    Here’s a tip for flight attendants. Quit asking those of us who have checked out luggage to put our “smaller items” under the seat in front of us instead of in the overhead bins. Not gonna happen. I am not giving up the miniscule amount of leg room I have to allow someone else to bring his steamer trunk in the cabin. Check it or leave it; you’re not getting my foot space.

  70. 70
    Stump says:

    I think if the airlines will lower the price of the airfare and start charging a fee for all carryons luggage and start charging a lower fee for the checked luggage , you will see a lot more customers check their luggage. Problem solved! Merry Christmas to All!

  71. 71
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  72. 72
    JC Rey says:

    Other 2 words … Travel Light

  73. 73
    Adragast says:

    Didn’t even know you had the possibility to have 2 carry-on bags in some countries (cf point 6)! In Europe, at least most countries I have visited and most airline companies I have used, the limit is 1 per person.

  74. 74
    kevin says:

    Not everyone who travels by plane are on holidays, some are going to and from jobs, some like myself live in 2 countries. As a photographer I can’t trust check in luggage to take care of my cameras and lenses and accessories. Then there’s the laptops, Ipad and other gear I carry with me. What are we supposed to do with it? The airlines are not keeping up with the times. Don’t know how the pro’s get their big whites from one event to the next on aircrafts. Am more than happy to pay a reasonable price for extra weight and I always do buy an extra 20kgs, but how to carry valuable gear, that’s the question. In my case I usually have up to 20 grands worth with me. If you can’t take it onboard with you, where do you put it? 10kgs in 2 separate bags doesn’t work for me, not by a long shot!

  75. 75
    David says:

    As someone who has lived abroad for almost a decade, I’ve seen these bag problems get bigger and bigger. It was particularly appalling last time I traveled home. I threw out 90% of my belongings to make the 33kg weight limit. Then traveling back for work a few months later, I had to throw out half my clothes to make the Delta requirement of 18 freaking kg. sorry. But 18kg is asinine for anyone who is traveling on anything but a vacation. Go pack a bag with your clothes only. You’ll be way over that before you finish. Airlines need to stop screwing the customers. That being said, I guess they are screwing the attendants too, as you are the ones who have to deal with us.

    • 75.1
      David says:

      I should add. I do travel light myself. My carry on items are a backpack and computer bag. Because the last time I checked electronics, they got destroyed. So I fit all my electronics into my carry on backpack, and keep them with me.

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