“It would be faster if they just did this” Stowing Bags

Last week during the all-too-common announcement that the overhead bins were getting full…not to put small items overhead, etc one girl boarding said “It would be faster if they just did this.”  Would it?  I doubt it.  Sure, it would crack down on the people who put 2 bags in the overhead.  Sure, it would put all bags wheels/handles out to maximize space.  Would it be faster?  Doubtful.  You’d have to pass your bag off to a bag stower and they would have to find a space for it or worse, we’d go gate check for all bags.

I know I may get a lot of people who disagree with me, but I only buy bags that can go into a B737/A319/MD-88 (long side) the long way.  I only put my bag in sideways on certain widebodies and the EMB175s where all bags must go in sideways.  I also always put my backpack under the seat in front of me.  I have relatively long legs for a woman and my knees often touch the seat back in a standard economy seat, but I follow the suggestions and put my backpack in front of me.  On long flights, after takeoff, I place the backpack behind my legs so I can stretch out my legs.

The real problem is that airlines are still charging many passengers for that first bag.  In fact, the announcement I mentioned before never happened on the few Southwest flights I’ve flown so either Southwest flyers pack less (doubtful) or they check a bag since it’s free (or included in the price of the ticket if you are a glass half-empty person).  The revenue generated must offset the additional labor and risk of a flight delay to check bags at the gate or else I have lost all faith in airline math.

So: learn to stow your bags like this and we’ll get along just fine!

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Oh, and make sure you place your jacket like-so as well, but don’t take 10 years folding your jacket.


  1. It would be faster if they didn’t charge for checked in bags. There are some exceptions to this but for the most part it should work.
    My own statement probably wouldn’t work for people like me as I hate the wait rather than convenience of checked bags and also the chance of them losing my bags.

  2. On most planes, wheels out fits much better.

    What the industry really needs to do is charge you for your carry on (aside from “one personal item”), and allow you to check your bag for free. That’ll greatly speed up the boarding process, and we won’t have to deal with that mess.

  3. Most frequent/business travelers already do this. Its the occasional do-dos that are clueless and care less!

  4. Maybe my carry-on is magical. It’s max size carry-on and does not need to go in sideways except in the front bin on 737 due to curvature of the plane. I just don’t understand why peoples bags need to go sideways. If they do they are too big

  5. If the system were set up logically, they should permit one piece only of carry-on and it should conform to weight limits. Anyone over those limits would be required to gate-check, should be charged double whatever the checked bag fee is, and the bag should be delivered to the baggage carousel AFTER all the others.

    We’d then have speedier boarding and the incentives to try to cheat the system would be removed.

  6. Enforcing the published rules would go a long way towards making things better. And, sorry Haik, but the elites are a HUGE part of the problem. Think about all the complaints that the bins are full even during the elite boarding groups. If it were the non-elites causing the problems then the bins would be fine when the elites were still boarding. But that isn’t actually the case.

    As to the post in general, I’m not sure what the “this” is here so I’m not sure what we’re debating. 😮

  7. “It would be faster if they just did this.” Do what? “It would crack down on the people who put 2 bags in the overhead” Now I am curious. Please let us know.

  8. @Seth Miller, @DL – it seemed obvious, though perhaps only to me, that the emphasis in the sentence was on “they”, meaning that FAs/airline employees should be loading the bins…

    1. Yes, JM, the girl’s statement was that the FAs or other airline crew would be better at stowing bags than we are and would thus do a better job.

  9. I do not think the airline doing it would save any time. There are two fixes that can resolve almost all of the problems without even having to change the current fee structures:

    1) Enforce the carry-on size limits
    2) Any new plane–or newly renovated one–should have overhead bins that are large enough for any bag that meets the size limits to fit as depicted in the photo with this post. Small planes like RJ’s and the 2-seat side of a 717/MD-88/etc. excepted.

    I was on an older 767 just last week that couldn’t handle bags placed like this in any of the compartments. Thankfully most people seemed to be clever about using the space in front of the sideways-stowed bags effeciently for coats and small personal items rather than taking up extra width.

  10. I think most of the problems would be solved if FAs made sure passengers only stowed bags in bins above their own ticketed seats.
    When ppl sitting in the back stow in the front (I’ve never figured out why they’d do this anyway) it causes other passengers to have to go down the aisle looking for space.
    On an Alitalia flight recently I was shocked when during early boarding my bin (first row of economy) was taken by someone who then sat more than 15 rows further down—causing me to use bin across from me)! When I complained to the FA she said “bins aren’t reserved.”

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