At Economy Class and Beyond, we like overhead bins. Or rather, we like large overhead bins.
With airlines seeking to monetise every part of the travel experience (without exception), as well as recent travel chaos – people have chosen to take their larger 1-item with them (normally a trolley bag of some sort). Thus, the fight for space board an aircraft has been getting worse (as your author witnessed on a flight back to London Heathrow from Hamburg, where all the overhead luggage space was taken, requiring people to gate check items and risk them taking a substantial about of time to be delivered at Heathrow).
Airbus introduced a new overhead bin in its catalogue at Aircraft Interiors Expo – The L Bin (or Large Bin) for the A320 family.
The bin in the open configuration
The idea behind such a refit is simple enough – when refitting an aircraft, the XL Bins require additional space to be installed, otherwise, they will interfere with the equipment of the aircraft. In addition, you would be replacing a lot of the interior to accommodate it.
The L Bin negates this fitting option, with it able to fit in using a lot of the current infrastructure in place, with only certain bits being needed to be replaced, rather than the whole cabin, with a slightly less deep bin (one inch less than the XL), but able to fit four cabin bags per bin installed.
In the closed position
A chance for more revenue – but a chance for customer satisfaction.
Let us go back to my opening preamble – the desire to keep luggage with us. that isn’t going away fast – be it from a want to travel light, not to pay fees to store bags in the hold, or fear of a bag being lost.
These feelings and experiences won’t go away in the hurry- especially with the year in passenger experience on the ground we’re all facing at the moment.
Larger overhead bins offer chances for airlines as they seek to monetise the cabin. Certain airlines already have “upsell” fares to allow passengers to stow bigger bags in the overhead bin. Whilst this is meant to speed up boarding, passengers just see this as another money-grab tactic.
By giving passengers larger overhead bins (and reducing the cost to refit them into existing fleets), it opens up some accessible options to passengers who do choose to take their trolley bag everywhere, without fearing their bag is in going to be left behind.
And whilst it won’t be the biggest thing in the passenger experience list in the world – and in a lot of cases noticed at all, they will notice it when they’re aboard an aircraft and find they can’t take their bag into the cabin.
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