Travellers Tips For Sharing Overhead Bins

I have been traveling for quite some time now, and I have to admit, sometimes I think back to the “good old days” of travel. When I first started, it was easy to transfer flights, you had plenty of room for carry-ons, and upgrades were plentiful. Nowadays flights are crowded, and you are more likely to win the lottery than you are to get an upgrade unless you are a multi-diamond-platinum-stardust member.

Add in the fact that luggage fees have exacerbated the bin space problem tremendously and you might see why some of us prefer the ‘old days’.  When most of us frequent travellers heard that airlines were going to force us to spend more money for checking in bags, we collectively knew that it would mean that we would have less space in our overhead bins. Given that there simply is not space for everyone to bring a massive roller bag onto the plane, we know that we are going to have to focus on other ways to share our space.

Flight Tips - Sharing Overhead Bins - The Wise Traveller

Remember that overhead bins are not designed to hold musical instruments, duffel bags, or suitcases. This is why the belly of the plane has a cargo space – to house these types of things. Luckily, not everyone carries on two bags for their carry-on. If we make sure that we plan accordingly, we can make sure that we fit a great deal many more bags into our overhead than otherwise thought possible. These are my tips for sharing the overhead bin space.

Tip #1 – Do Not Put Your Coat In Until The Bags Are In

I consider this one of my personal pet peeves. It is annoying to hold your coat when you just get on the plane, and it would be even better if all our coats would fit into overhead bins without problem, but that is just not the world that we live in. If you are putting your coat in, you are actively taking away space from a possible carry-on. While it is possible to shove your coat in between a few bags, it is not possible to shove your bag in between a few coats. Alternatively, you can make sure that you put your coat in your bags before you board, so it does not even become an issue.

Tip #2 – Put Your Bags Above Your Seat

Most people should really adhere to this advice. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in row 10, only to find someone from a different row taking a spot above your seat as they continue down the plane. Even though it is not always possible, try to make sure that you store your luggage as close to your seat as possible.

Flight Tips - Sharing Overhead Bins - The Wise Traveller

Tip #3 – Put Your Bag In The Proper Way

Planes are strange, which means that you have to put your bags in the right way. All planes are shaped differently – even if you have two planes of the model of the same airline. It can be sideways, handle out, or wheels out. Sometimes you will find that a bag is not going to fit in the front of the plane, but it might fit in the middle of the plane. Want some advice? Make sure that you listen to the flight attendants. They know exactly how the plane works and know what the right way to put in the bag is.

We could also talk about how some people are putting in bags that are too big to meet the guidelines, but that is a story for another day. I believe that with this information, you are going to be using the overhead bins as a professional and find yourself with far more space than you thought was available before.

Bradley McGowan is a US based freelance writer, extensive traveller and a regular contributor to The Wise Traveller.