Airline overhead bin ettiquette

Since we all agreed on the issue of reclining one’s airline seat, I thought we might tackle the issue of overhead compartments.

I personally don’t have any problem regarding overhead bins. But I’ll describe my practices and let you tell me if I am being rude.

I generally travel with only one carryon, either my briefcase for a one-day trip, or a overnight suitcase for an overnight stay. For longer trips I check my suitcase, and carry a backpack or something.

If I only have one bag, I put it above instead of under the chair in front of me. And if I am wearing a coat, I’ll generally stick it above with my carryon.

Not infrequently, when folks board closer to the departure time they will have trouble finding space for their carryons (is it mere coincidence that the last arriving folk seem to have the max permissable carryons?) :wink: I have had passengers - and even steward(esse)s ask if people (like me) would take their single bags out of the overhead and put them under their feet, to free up room for the latecomers. I absolutely refuse to do so. My reasoning is that I have as much right to use the overhead for my one bag thereby preserving what little leg/foot room I have, as someone who maxes out their carryon with 2 bags.

I generally board when they call my section (tho I don’t rush to be the first in line). It is not uncommon for me to find the overhead above my row already full (whether or not anyone is already seated there), so I stick my bag in the closest open bin - usually across the aisle or a row or 2 closer to the front of the plane.

I often hear folks arriving later complain that “their” overhead bin is filled. IMO you are not required to put your carryon in the overhead bin directly over your seat.

It is not uncommon for passengers and cabin staff to be somewhat rough with luggage already in the overheads, trying to cram in additional bags and slam the doors shut. I deal with that simply by not packing anything that will be crushed or damaged. But I don’t think I would feel comfortable being as rough with someone else’s stuff as many others seem to be.

So - what’s the verdict? Am I a rude carryoner? If I am, is my TRQ (Total Rudeness Quotient) ameliorated by the fact that I never recline my seat? :wink:

I agree with you completely in this matter. It’d be nice if everyone used the bin over their seat, but as someone else used “mine” (in your scenario), obviously I’m just as entitled to use another one as they were to use “mine”. And someone else’s poor planning (too many carryons, too large carryons, etc.) isn’t my responsibility to deal with. If I bring two bags, I’ll put one under my seat, even if the bins are empty when I board, but yes, I do claim the “right” to utilize bin space for my one reasonably sized carryon, even if that leaves my feet some breathing room.

By using only one small bag, I made the conscious decision to sacrifice security (that is, risk my checked bag being lost) or comfort (perhaps doing laundry instead of bringing more stuff) in exchange for foot room, and I’m not particularly inclined to value your security or comfort over mine when your lack of it is due to being a selfish idiot, sorry. I can’t imagine a well-planned unselfish reason for such a thing to happen, but if it were to manifest, my answer might be different.

I pretty much operate the same way you do.
I travel with a small backpack and purse.
I like to carry on.
I try to use the overhead bin above me, but if necessary, I can cram my backpack under the seat in front of me. But I do like leg/foot room.
And yes, sometimes the space above my seat is full, so I have to put my pack in the closest possible spot. I once watched a rather loud altercation between an indignant older woman, a latecomer, and the rather scattered younger lady who had taken the matron’s overhead bin spot.
I am not that territorial, but try to keep my stuff to myself.
I’ve never had anyone ask me to take out my backpack, and I must say I’d be flabbergasted if they did.
I don’t recline my seat either, except occasionally on overseas flights.

One problem is that the airlines are now charging for checked bags, which means that people are bring even larger bags as carry-ons these days. Another problem is that planes are more likely to be fully booked these days.

That also leads to infrequent travelers bringing carry-ons that don’t really fit in the overheads, but they don’t realize it because they never travel. So they get placed sideways which wastes a lot of space.

I agree, except that if I was asked to put my bad under the seat to help out someone else, I would do so. But, I have short legs.

Wait, they agreed about the reclining issue? :wink:

I have a small carry-on, back from 2000. I’m surprised as to what passes by carry-on these days, the smallest suitcases are still bigger than mine!. That one I have to put overhead, there is no way it fits underneath the seat in front.

Anything else I carry (backpack, purse) gets put underneath the seat. Sometimes it is the only thing I take as carry on, so I place it directly there, and don’t bother with overhead. For me, overhead is extra hassle when boarding and getting off the plane.

Jackets I always wear and use as blankets because airplanes are usually way too cold for me.

I disagree. First choice for my carry on is under my seat. That way I don’t have to bother someone else to put it in the overhead or get it down for me, since I can’t reach it myself.

Second choice would be in the overhead directly over my area. I’d never use the overhead over another row. It’s such a pain in the ass when I have to wait on people who are grabbing their stuff from the overhead before I can get off the plane. It’s a double pain in the ass to wait for people to move to another area and then grab their stuff.

If it’s under my seat then I can grab it and go a lot faster than it if were in the overhead, and I rarely bring more than one carry on for this reason.

I think you should put as much under the seat in front of you as possible, with any overflow going in the overhead bin. If everyone did that, loading and unloading the plane would be so much faster and smoother, and that benefits everyone.

Of course, I also think that checking luggage should be much less of a pain in the ass, so clearly I’m delusional in my air travel hopes. (I flew this weekend in a small plane with very small overhead bins. I’d say that 40 of the 70 passengers had to gate check their carry-ons. It was a crazy mess disembarking, with so many people crowding the jetway looking for their bags.)

Absolutely. I haven’t used the overhead in years for exactly this reason. I like being able to just reach down, grab my bag and being ready to go.

Hmm. I can’t recall a single instance in which my placing my bag into the overhead or taking it out slowed any fellow passenger as much as a second. I never stand up before it is my row’s turn to deplane, and I grab my bag and am right behind the person in front of me by the time we get to the plane door. Of course, I’m reasonably fit and over 6’, and my bag doesn’t weigh more than I can easily carry.

How exactly do you envision that my use of the overhead slows down anyone? And putting the bag beneath my feet certainly doesn’t benefit “everyone” - assuming I am included in that group.

Doesn’t the allowance of 2 carryons entitle you to put 1 overhead and 1 underseat? If I carry on only 1 bag, am I not entitled to not choose which of those I wish to use? If I arrived late and all of the overheads were full, I would gladly slip it underseat.

If I intended to max out my permitted carryons, I would expect to do whatever it took to not be the last person to board. Heck, if you have a close transfer, that’s even more reason to pare down your carryons.

I don’t understand this either, unless it’s because you fly on small planes. On the large planes I usually fly in, it takes them forEVER to open the door after we arrive at the gate. People use that waiting time to get their stuff. The delay after the door is open is merely the delay of people carrying bulky stuff up a narrow aisle and walking slowly.

Because in the time it takes you to stand up and grab your carry on from the overhead bin, I could already be out in the aisle and on my way out. The reason you don’t feel like you’re slowing things down is because everyone ahead of you is doing the same, and slowing the entire process down. If we all had our bags under our seat and were ready before we got into the aisle, the entire process would go a lot faster.

I carry a small carry on I’ve had for years - it fits under the seat in front of me. What really bugs me is that, we’ve had to wait, in the aisle, for a long time while somebody has to stuff their duffle bag, coats, what seems to be their entire weeks’ luggage in the overhead compartment before they sit down. They should either let these people on first so they can get everything put away and sit down before letting other passengers on or put them on last. Same with getting off. There’s no reason to hold up the entire boarding procedure because some people bring luggage for the overheads. On the other hand, there are some people who have mastered the knack of standing up, grabbing their stuff in the overheads and heading down the aisle quickly. Credits to them.

I generally put my carry-on under the seat in front of me, because I find it more convenient and quicker when leaving. But I don’t begrudge anyone else who prefers to put their baggage in the overhead compartment.

That being said, if the flight is full and the flight attendants are asking people to move their baggage out of the overhead bins to make room if possible, I’d do so. If my baggage were up there in the first place. Which it’s not.

I’m not sure I agree. It seems to me that planes generally empty at a pretty set pace, whether folks are getting stuff or not.

Plane stops at gate, some eager beavers stand up filling the entire aisle. Then the plane proceeds to empty row-by-row from front to back. Once in a while you will have some idiot holding things up trying to wrestle some oversized object from overhead, but in the vast majority of my flights it seems folks depart the plane at about the quickest pace you could espect folks to move through the door in single-file. Like I said, by the time I get to the door, I am right behind the person in front of me - and just about every other passenger does the same.

Not planes - but on my commuter train I have on occasion stayed in my seat to be the last person off the car instead of filing out in sequence. Gets me to my office about 30 seconds later. If I stood up 10+ minutes earlier to be the first person off, I might get to work 2 minutes earlier.

Always makes me smile when some self-important idiot in the back of the plane stands up right away thinking that will get them off significantly quicker.

“I’m sorry, I can’t put anything under the seat in front of me. I need the room for my HUGE BALLS.”

If another passenger asks you to put your bag at your feet then that’s rude, but if they just want to move your stuff within/between bins then that’s fine. Only condition is that your coat and soft bags go on top after the repacking is done.

But if it’s a flight attendant asking then you should go along with it. As mentioned, bins aren’t assigned to a particular seat. You get your seat and foot space, but bin space is shared and the flight crew can dole it out unevenly if that’ is what they need to do to get everyone packed it. It’s unfair but that’s how flying is, you just have to file it next to middle seats and kicking toddlers.

I disagree. My first item goes under the seat in front and my second will go overhead. I think it is selfish to use space that others may need because I may be “entitled” to do so.

I has never occurred to me to put something above when I have room on the floor. Especially since there always does appear to be a problem with space up there. Why would someone insist on contributing to the problem?

I usually only carry on what will go under my seat. I don’t like to use the overhead bins.

One way overhead bins cause delays is geniuses who figure they can save themselves some hassle by putting things in the bins toward the front, leaving the people in the front seats to send their bags farther back.

If your second item is just a coat or small soft bag, I think it’s a bit greedy to insist on putting that in a bin, too.

I don’t buy the argument that those with tight connections should plan for that by bringing along less luggage. Mainly because most tight connections I’ve experienced have been beyond my control from weather delays, repairs, etc. If I’m late getting to the gate it’s because I’ve already been through hell with my last flight.

In my recent flying experience, flight attendants were pretty aggressive about gate checking bags if the bins were full. I haven’t flown much since the charge for checked baggage became common, though.