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This year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, we’ve seen a new A330 cabin design, gigantic seat-back TVs for the economy cabin and a new 4K business-class seat from Panasonic that’s going to transform the in-flight experience once it launches in 2019. While all of those innovations are pretty exciting, they’re not going to have an immediate effect on the passenger experience. Fortunately, there was plenty more to see on the show floor, including new ideas that are already flying today.
One of the biggest challenges facing airlines and passengers alike is how to accommodate a huge influx in the number of carry-on bags. While it’s easy to avoid checked bag fees if you have a certain credit card, many passengers opt to carry on their roll aboard instead. That means a rush to board the plane, with passengers in the lower boarding groups often being asked to check their carry-on instead of being allowed to tuck it in an overhead bin.
If you’ve flown on a new “Sky Interior” Boeing 737, you may have noticed the much larger “Space Bins,” which provide passengers with up to 50% more overhead bin space. These new cabins are flying with several US-based airlines, including American and United. Meanwhile, Airbus has also developed a solution for accommodating more carry-ons on each flight, and I got to check it out in Hamburg last week.
New overhead bins from Airbus provide 60% more space, letting passengers stow their rolling bags vertically instead of horizontally, just like you can see in the image above. That means there’s room for many more bags on each flight, so, in theory, every single passenger will get to stow a bag above their seat. With these new bins, fewer passengers will be parted from their belongings, reducing frustration and resentment, while airlines will (in theory) be able to get flights off the gate more quickly.
The first Delta A321 with this new bin design is flying today. Unfortunately you’ll only find the larger bins on a small percentage of the airline’s fleet, but it’s a bit of a relief to see that major improvements are on the way.
Have you flown with Airbus’ larger overhead bins?
Know before you go.
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