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I Like Big Bins: Major Airlines Increasing Overhead-Bin Space

For an industry in which everything seems to be getting smaller, at least one thing is bucking the trend: the overhead bin. The AP reports that major U.S. airlines are making overhead bins larger in order to accommodate bulkier luggage and an influx of carry-on bags.

United, American, US, and Delta are all jumping on the bigger-bin bandwagon. Some carriers are outfitting bins with tougher latches; others are replacing overhead-bin doors with ones that curve out, allowing for more space for passengers' suitcases. Boeing is also taking steps to increase storage space on planes, and is designing larger bins that can contain more carry-on luggage.

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Representatives from United, US Airways, Delta, and American confirmed that theey have expanded overhead bins on some planes. The reason? Rahsaan Johnson, a spokesperson from United, told us in an email, "The bin expansion is part of our larger plan to improve the entire boarding and in-flight experience through the expansion of Economy Plus, the introduction of DIRECTV, and in-flight Wi-Fi. Our other airplanes that principally fly domestic markets already have larger bins."

An American spokesperson said that the carrier began boosting overhead-bin space after noticing an "increase in the number of passengers with carry-on bags."

Indeed. American, US, Delta, and United all charge $25 or more for first checked bags. Anyone who's flown on a major carrier in the past few years can appreciate one of the great benefits of boarding the plane first: you're one of the precious few who can fit your bag in the overhead bin. Board a full plane late, however, and you're left either squeezing your duffel into a space the size of an airplane pillow or checking your bag at the gate.

Are you surprised that airlines are adding more overhead-bin space?

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