Finally, a Decent Solution for Airplane Carry-On Bags

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"Space Bins" aboard Alaska Airlines' new Boeing 737s mean passengers won't have to fight over storage for their roll-aboard bags and coats.

If you’re a frequent flier, you’ve probably spent a ridiculous amount of time watching fellow passengers try to stuff their carry-on in an overflowing overhead storage bin, or maybe you’ve been that frazzled passenger trying to fit their bag in that bin. The carry-on crunch is a time-consuming and frustrating situation.

Alaska Airlines finally has a solution to the overhead storage problem. The airline’s new Boeing 737s feature “Space Bins.” As the name implies, the new bins are more spacious than the traditional bins, increasingly overhead storage by nearly 50 percent.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the new bins come with a trade-off for passengers: they’ll lower the ceiling above seats about 2 inches while providing enough room for all passengers’ carry-on bags.

A single-aisle Boeing 737-900 with 181 seats has room for 57 more bags, or a total of 174 roll-aboard bags. That’s enough to accommodate a planeload of passengers with room for their coats.

While traditional overhead bins hold four bags (lying flat), Boeing’s new space bins, which were designed based on the size of a standard carry-on bag, hold six bags (sitting upright on their sides). Alaska passengers could fly on one of the new 737s with extra carry-on space as soon as next year.

“We’ve been on a mission to improve our cabin experience for several years, and Space Bins are part of a $150 million investment we’ve made to make flying more comfortable and enjoyable,” Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “By the end of 2017, nearly half of our fleet will have larger bins to accommodate a carry-on bag for virtually every customer.”

The space bins can be retrofitted into most 737s without adding any weight to the plane, the WSJ noted.

What do you think of the new space bins? What are your experiences with the carry-on crunch? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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