Airlines cash in on overhead bag bins

Passengers pay extra for early boarding

With the aim of charging ever more fees from passengers, airlines are now taking control of the overhead baggage compartments.

As many airlines are charging for checked-in bags, this is pushing customers to carry on as much as they can get away with. That in turn is forcing passengers to compete for the baggage bins – and to pay extra for early boarding, to get first access to the compartments.

Exact figures are not yet available about early boarding revenues, but analysts say it is increasing.

“There is growth there,” says Jay Sorenson, president of airline consultancy IdeaWorksCompany. “Airlines will implement more of these fees.”

But the rising demand for carry-on baggage space has the potential for making passengers even angrier. The battle for the bins is made even worse by the fact that there are now more passengers per flight than ever before.

“When someone gets to their row and looks up and sees something’s there, they kind of freak out about it,” flight attendant Brian Easley recalls. “They will throw a fit and they will start screaming at whoever put their stuff in their spot. We’ve had to throw people off the plane just because they refused to walk up a few feet and stick it in another overhead bin.”

The New York Times