The Overhead Bin Struggle: Is This the End of an Era?


We’ve all been there: Holding up an endless line of impatient airplane passengers while struggling to cram a 32-kg suitcase into an overhead bin that just isn’t big enough. Why haven’t we found a way around this all-too-common scenario?

American airplane manufacturer Boeing may have just come up with the best solution yet. The company revealed new overhead bins on its Boeing 737s that will give passengers almost 50% more space for carry-on luggage.

Alaska Airlines is one of the first major airlines outfitted with Boeing’s bigger and wider bins, called Space Bins, which are designed to fit six bags instead of the usual four. The trade off? Passengers will sacrifice 5 centimetres of head space, says Boeing.

On the plus side, the new bins could save money for passengers who spent $4.8 billion last year on fees to check their bags.

On Alaska’s 737-800, the expanded bin space will increase the number of bags that can fit overhead overall from 118 to 178 — a difference of 60 more standard sized bags. Despite the new model, the size limitations for carry-ons will stay the same.

“Alaska is relentlessly focused on making the travel experience better,” Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines vice president of marketing said.

“We’ve been on a mission to improve our cabin experience for several years and Space Bins are part of a $200 million investment we’ve made to make flying more comfortable and enjoyable.”

Within two years, nearly half of Alaska Airlines’ fleet will be fitted with the larger bins, the airline said. American airlines Delta and United have also committed to using the new overhead bin model.

When will Australian airlines catch on to this promising trend?

About Author

Lisa Nikolau

Lisa Nikolau is a freelance writer who has been specializing in travel, culture and current events since 2012. She currently writes on travel and news related topics for has traveled to Peru, throughout west and eastern Europe, and has lived in southern Spain.At the moment, Lisa’s favorite pastimes are learning foreign languages, exploring hiking trails in the Olympic National Forest, and ending the day with friends at one of Seattle’s many microbreweries.