Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY
Published 2:33 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2019 | Updated 3:17 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2019
United Airlines plans to add larger overhead bins on most of its planes in a bid to improve boarding and take a major stress out of travel.
The airline on Friday said the larger bins will accommodate one bag per passenger on domestic flights. On a 179-seat Boeing 737-900, that translates to room for an extra 65 bags.
Toby Enqvist, United’s senior vice president and chief customer officer, showed a photo of one of the larger bins with six larger roller bags comfortably tucked inside during the airline’s media day in Chicago Friday.
“This is like my Mona Lisa,” he said.
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Enqvist said the goal is to end the need to check bags at the gate, a process that slows boarding and peeves customers who then have to go to baggage claim to retrieve their carry on.
The larger bins should also smooth boarding because passengers boarding later shouldn’t have to walk several rows back to find a spot for their bag, a situation that creates what he called a “mosh pit.”
“With the one-to-one (bag) ratio, all that stuff goes away because everyone will have rooms for their bag,” he said.
The airline will start adding the overhead bins net year and plans to have it on 80% of its mainline jet fleet by 2023, most of them serving flights within the US. Many of its widebody planes serving international routes already feature larger overhead bins. However, planes due to be retired in the next five years will be outfitted with the new bins.
Enqvist said United passengers won’t lose space elsewhere due to the larger bins because they slide down and out. The only possible impact might be on tall passengers when standing up.
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