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The Overhead Bins are Shared Space

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Checked bag fees account for billions of dollars of airline profit. Most travelers try to avoid those fees by bringing their luggage on board themselves as carry on baggage. This creates a problem for the airlines because most aircraft interiors were not designed to accommodate the luggage of all the passengers.

Airlines have recognized this and have started to redesign their overhead bins to be able to handle more bags per bin. These new bins allow you to turn your suitcase on its side like a book. Look for a decal inside the bin to let you know if your bag will fit.

But even with the new bin designs the overhead space fills up very quickly. It is important to know that the overhead bins are shared space. You might find that by the time you reach your seat the bin is already full.

What can you do if your bin is full? Look for the next open bin closest to your seat. If none are available let a Flight Attendant know. They can either help you find a bin with space or check the bag (usually for free). Alternatively, if you are going to be boarding last, llisten to see if the gate agents are offering a free courtesy check. You will be able to check your bag all the way to your final destination without paying the checked bag fees.

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Jay Muller

Author of The Flight Advisor