Boeing Outfitting Planes With More Bin Space, Less Headroom

by Matthew Vann and Tom Costello /  / Updated 

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

In response to passenger complaints about limited overhead space, the world’s biggest airliner is finally answering their calls with bigger and wider bins.

Boeing is adding 50 percent more space overhead on their Boeing 737 series, sacrificing headroom to ensure there’s more space for carry-on luggage.

Alaska Airlines is one of the first major airlines outfitted with Boeing’s bigger and wider bins. Within two years, nearly half of Alaska Airlines' fleet will be fitted with the larger bins.

Image: Alaska Airlines Space Bins
Boeing and hometown partner Alaska Airlines celebrated the first 737 featuring Boeing’s new Space Bins, which increase the room for carry-on baggage by 48 percent. Alaska is the launch customer of Space Bins.Marian Lockhart / Boeing MediaRoom

More room aboard those planes could mean bigger savings for families, as most airlines often charge $25 per checked bag — which could easily turn into $200 for a round-trip ticket.

In 2014 alone, U.S. airlines together collected some $3.5 billion just from checking bags. But the challenge most airlines have had was where to put all those bags.

Boeing says it’s found the solution.

"Well, we've taken this bin, and made it larger, ensuring each passenger will have room for a bag, and we've created 50 percent more bag space,'' said Brent Walton, Boeing’s interior manager. "We’ve lowered the bins by about two inches, which gives easier access and visibility for passengers to load and unload their bags."

On a 737-800 the expanded bin space will increase the number of bags that can fit overhead from 118 to 178 — a difference of 60 more standard sized bags.

"Customers told us that they have a lot of anxiety whether or not they can fit their bag on that plane,'' said Sangita Woerner, an Alaksa Airlines representative. "So by providing so much more bin space, it alleviates that anxiety for them."

But where does Boeing get all the space to do this?

"We’ve lowered the bins by about two inches which gives easier access and visibility for passengers to lower their bags," Walton said. "It also provides passengers easier reach to the lights."

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news