An interesting conversation on FlyerTalk piqued my interest. A traveler was scolded for placing his small bag into the overhead bin by a flight attendant who made him place it under his seat. The problem? That was his only carry-on item. Should you be allowed to place smaller items in airplane overhead bins if you do not have a larger item?
Small Bags In Airplane Overhead Bins – What If You Have No Other Bags?
While ultra-low-cost carriers in the U.S. have tried to reset consumer expectations when it comes to carry-on items, for most travelers the expectation is still one larger carry-on item plus one personal item. For most that means a rollerboard bag plus a purse or briefcase that is intended to be placed under the seat in front of you.
But what if you are traveling light and don’t want anything to constrain your feet room? Should you be able to place your small item in the overhead bin?
On FlyerTalk, a passenger was reprimanded by a United Airlines flight attendant for placing his smaller bag into the overhead bin:
“I know overhead space is at a premium. I never have an issue boarding as a 1K because I really only need my laptop with me. I decided to just bring the laptop bag on my flights last week. Put it in the overhead upright so tiny sliver of space. The FA comes along and asks who owns the laptop I state me and she said do you mind putting it under the seat in front of you. I replied I did indeed mind. (The floor has germs, people drop ice cubes, spill drinks, etc.) The FA says you “must” put it under the seat in front of me and passed it to me. I was fuming. Did not say anything. Next flight it was allowed. It’s little sliver of overhead space.”
I’ll never really understand why people are germaphobes, but I certainly feel his pain. Why shouldn’t he be able to put his small bag in the overhead bin if he doesn’t have a big one? Even in first class, it’s nice to have that space for your feet…
And his subsequent action is hardly surprising:
“For my flight today I have a carryon bag. You know what is in it? My laptop and lots of empty space. Yes, I do not want my laptop on the floor.”
Sad, isn’t it?
Maybe the issue could have been resolved if he had explained it was his only bag, but even if overhead bin space was full, he should not have had to give up his overhead bin space. While “first come, first served” is not without exceptions (no one should be able to put multiple bags in the overhead bin space), I shake my head at what happened to him.
While announcements about not placing your smaller bags or coats in the overhead bins are common, I think an exception applies if this is your only item. When that is the case, I believe passengers should be allowed to utilize the overhead bin space for that purpose.
What do you think? Was the man selfish for not wanting to put the small bag under his seat?
image: United Airlines