Several US airlines have been steadily upgrading their older planes with larger overhead luggage bins, making the space available for carry-on bags similar to that of newer planes.
According to the Associated Press, United Airlines, American
Airlines and Delta Air Lines have all started replacing the old, straighter bin doors with ones that curve further
outwards, thus creating additional space.
The airlines will be putting the new bin doors into new planes too. American’s
737s will hold 48 more bags than the old ones did. United said their A320s (mainly
used for domestic US flights) will hold 42 extra bags, and Delta’s will hold 26
more. Even the massive Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which had a test flight out of
Boston’s Logan Airport earlier this week, will be able to carry 50% more overhead
luggage than similar sized planes like the 767s.
While more baggage space might make for a better flying experience, it
is not one that will necessarily entice people to fly with a certain airline. George
Hobica, the founder of Airfarewatchdog.com,
said “price is always the major factor”, on what makes people choose one
airline over another. “That plus frequent flyer programmes.”
The extra space does not mean, however, that airlines are changing their
policy and allowing larger carry-on bags. “Leisure travellers think anything
with wheels can be carried on because the luggage industry confuses them, but I
am not aware of any airline changing their carry-on sizes,” said Joe
Brancatelli, editor of the business traveller site, Joe Sent Me. “Business travellers will always have luggage that
fits even the smaller bins because they never want to be forced to check their
But with checked-baggage fees now routine on domestic US flights and
some international ones, more passengers are carrying luggage on board. Will the
larger luggage bins ease the congestion on the plane? Or will more people carry
on more or larger bags?
“I think it’s like highways,” Hobica said. “They build bigger highways
to ease congestion, but all people see is wide open roads and drive more.”