Overhead Bin Blues

October 17, 2008

in Luggage Stories

This took place quite a while ago, but it seems some things never change. In 1984 (yes, ’84) my husband and I went to Europe on our honeymoon, making several stops. The last visit was to London. We were booked on British Air for the return flight to the USA. I believe the plane was a 747. We boarded the plane, and attempted to put some of our wonderful souvenirs in the overhead bin, only to find that the ENTIRE bin was taken up by one very large, very heavy suitcase. We called the stewardess over and she determined that the bag belonged to the fellow in the aisle seat across from us (we were in the center section). He smiled and said, yes, that it was his and he was bringing POTS & PANS to his relatives in the USA! After determining who the bag belonged to, the stewardess took charge of the situation by . . . walking away and doing nothing. Nada, zip, zilch. All of the surrounding bins were also full, and we had to stow our belongings under our seats . . . under the seats in front of us . . . you get the idea. Add to this, the owner of the bag was a dead ringer for Yasser Arafat, minus the head piece. I for one am now very glad about carryon limits.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim November 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I'm sorry, but why would you think that you have assigned space in the overhead bins?


Overhead Bin Blues L November 20, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Kim, your comment is so ridiculous I had to comment back. No one thinks they have assigned space in the overhead bins, but the Arafat-lookalike should have checked his Pots and Pans in the baggage hold. At the time, there were no regulations regarding carry-ons; the regulations were put into place for people like him who took advantage. Common courtesy would indicate that every passenger be allowed at least some space in the bins, if only to keep less stuff from flying around the cabin in case of turbulence. Add to that this very, very heavy and very, very, large suitcase could have actually had virtually anything in it – like a grenade launcher.


JL March 9, 2009 at 8:01 am

Lady, the comment about the guy looking like Arafat makes the rest of your story worthless. It just makes you a bigot.


Are a Fat April 2, 2009 at 8:55 am

The lady with the souvenirs, you should have your passport revoked and be confined to house arrest. You have no business EVER traveling and dealing with other human beings. This was not an airline issue or any failure on their part. This is 100% YOUR self centered opinion and attitude.


Joe April 2, 2009 at 9:32 am

It is my feeling that this type of story is best kept to yourself.

This story may cause people to feel:

A – There problems with the airlines are being belittled

B – You have nothing better to worry about other than this small trivial issue

I'm sure you don't mean to make feel people either way, but I do wish you better travels in the future.


stphn g April 2, 2009 at 12:25 pm

what? you had to put your stuff UNDER THE SEATS IN FRONT OF YOU?! that is the most outrageous thing i've ever heard! it's not like that is what that area is designed for… (and yeah, the Arafat comment… c'mon… uncalled for, really.)


kathryn April 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm

i don't really know why you're under attack. you know the mid size suitcase…? well that puppy is the new "over night bag". of COURSE there's not room! it would never occur to anyone to put some of their crap under the seat in front of them…it's "just not DONE"!

as for "assigned space" well no. you have to rely on your co-passengers to care whether they are toting too much crap or not. guess what? ain't gonna happen.

i moved a large briefcase (an expandable one that had all my work and two days clothes in it) from the overhead to under the seat in front of me so that another passenger could stow his bag above (it wouldn't have fit under a seat). the steward was FLOORED…said he'd never seen ANYONE do anything like that before.

hello? any humans out there?


anna April 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I agree, the comment about the guy looking like Arafat makes you sound like a bigot.


Nick April 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm

What a bigoted remark at the end there. Grow up, seriously.


pam April 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

What irks me are the people from the back of the plane who fill the front bins, so they don't have to schlep their bags to the back and place them in the bins where there seat assignment is. I fly United almost all the time and am always in Seating Group 4. I follow the rules and check my larger bag, bring my computer bag and purse on the plane as my two carry-ons and still have trouble getting space in the overhead bins.

Recently, I was boarding a flight to St. Louis and the man boarding ahead of me put his bag into the overhead bin just above my seat and continued to the back of the plane. I pulled it out, handed it to him and explained that space was assigned to our rows and he would have to find space in the area that his seat was. I got thumbs up from the people around me.

And, if your bag does not fit in wheels in/out, it is too big. A bag placed in the bin sideways, takes up the entire bin, so no one else has room for their bags.

It really boils down to people who do not respect the fact that there is a limited amount of space and that space is to be shared, not hogged !!


anon April 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Arafat? Really? Grow up.


stphn g April 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm

kathryn… are you kidding me? "just not done"? the last 50-12 times I've flown all i've heard was, "Please place your carry on in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you."…. and that was from the flight attendant…

and i'm sure your flight "steward" was "floored" because she'd never seen anyone be considerate to another passenger… not the fact that you stuffed a large expandable briefcase under a seat.


kathryn April 3, 2009 at 2:50 am

stphn. you're correct on both counts…people are encouraged to put stuff under the seat in front…but how many actually do that? a lot of times the bins are full of stuff that's easily small enough to fit under there.

and yes, it was the mere fact that i actually cared enough to move my gear that had the attendant shocked. that doesn't make a ton of sense to me. the man is standing there, obviously distressed, the attendants are opening every bin on the plane trying to help him out, the plane (obviously) wasn't going anywhere until his stuff was stowed…and the rest of the people on the flight were acting like this guy just didn't exist. i don't get it. my case did fit under the seat, as would lots of other stuff that was above, but no one offered to help this guy in anyway. people amaze me.


Jips April 3, 2009 at 6:45 am

As I read your story, I could see how you'd be somewhat annoyed. But after the Arafat comment I am pretty sure you are a self centered bigot with a sense of entitlement. And in that light, your complaint is silly

Tell me, where else should he have kept HIS precious souveniers? You seem to think your crap is more improtant than his, and that you have more right to the overhead space.


stphn g April 3, 2009 at 7:30 am

well, people are amazing. i think the point we seem to have gotten away from is that this person's complaint is a non-issue and only seems to stem from the fact the guy taking up the space she wanted or felt she was entitled to looked "different"… but i suppose one person's non-issue is another person's therapy session. perhaps this was an exercise her therapist suggested so that she could face the fear and frustration she's held in since 1984 (yes, '84.)

(but ppl seriously need to grow up about their damned carry-ons… i'd suggest packing essentials for survival and a small change of clothes…. and that's about it. i realize it's stupid to check a bag of stuff if you're only going to be gone for a couple of days and it can fit in your carry on…. but CAN it fit in your carry on? and on the return flight if you happen to have souvenirs consider shipping them home if you can't pack them well enough to survive a luggage trip. & yeah, you can tell me how expensive it is for shipping and how precious the item but again, grow up. you're not the only person in the world with things they'd like to get home safely… be considerate. like kathryn.)


Kay April 3, 2009 at 11:31 am

And, of course, it never crossed that woman's mind that, perhaps, since it was 1984, the man had never flown before so didn't know about checking his bag? Just a thought.

And what ever happened to carry-on size limits? They *do* still exist, even if not enforced.

If items were measured to see if they exceeded those limits, and people were required to check the bag if it didn't, this problem would have been greatly reduced long ago. Instead the problem got worse and worse as more and more people carried larger and larger bags on board in order to avoid waiting at the baggage pickup.

By the way…since airlines are now beginning to charge for checking any bags, this issue is going to become a much bigger problem. (Perhaps *then* we'll see the on-board size restrictions enforced? I won't hold my breath.)


kathryn April 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

kay, good thing you're not holding your breath…cause you're right, people are trying to carry more and more on board, partly because of fees and partly because of the baggage area chao i guess. things i have seen on recent flight though…people have had their bags "deboarded" either because there was no more over head room or because they were simply too big. i also saw a guy on my last flight have his bag taken from him right at the boarding gate (he was SO pleased, doofus). so something's changing.


Kay April 5, 2009 at 5:27 am

Boy, wouldn't that be nice! All the airlines finally turning away too-large bags at boarding.

If it keeps up, it won't take long for those folks who try to bring everything and the kitchen sink onboard to figure out that it's no longer an option for them. That they'll have to wait for their large-sized suitcases at the baggage area just like the rest of us.

(I'm sure some of them think we're stupid for not carrying our own stuff onboard ourselves. Personally, I'd rather pay a Skycap to deal with my luggage right at the curb and not have to haul the darn stuff all over the airport, and am willing to pay a few bucks and some of my time for the freedom that provides me.)

Of course, the airlines' interest is probably to charge for the bag, but I don't really care why they do it as long as the ultimate result is to finally create enough space on board for *everyone's* REASONABLE carry-on items.


life can suck, live February 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Big boring story for a boring person.

British Airways have always been a good flying airline caught them for 50 years, never had a problem.

Stop fussing because you have to put your bags in the correct place UNDER THE FRONT SEAT


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: