The bulkhead: Not for people who need lots of stuff!!

Ah, the bulkhead. One of the best seats on the plane! Extra leg room, no one in front of you, a place where you can spread out all of your stuff and finally be comfortable. Or is it? So thought the woman sitting there on my flight early yesterday morning. She sat down in her seat, put her tote bag in the corner in front of her, and got out her water, magazine, purse, and snacks, and set them down around her feet. Obviously, not someone who flies all of the time. The flight attendant came over and let her know that she couldn’t have anything by her feet, and that both of her bags needed to go into the overhead bin. She freaked out. I mean, I could hear her side of the conversation with the flight attendant three rows back. “There’s plenty of room! Why can’t I have my purse? I have to have my purse! What if someone steals it?” Etc.

The bulkhead can seem like a great place—you really do have lots of leg room. But if you are paranoid about your possessions being out of sight for a period of time or need lots of stuff for a flight, it may not be the place for you. For a reason I’m not completely clear on, you are not allowed to have anything at all around your feet, not even behind your legs. (I think it has something to do with needing the area around your feet clear if there is an emergency and you have to run off the plane) If you do sit there, it’s easiest if you don’t need much besides a book or magazine. Certainly you can work there, just make sure your laptop or whatever else you need is close to the opening of your bag—it’s tricky to rummage around while the bag is in the overhead bin. Whatever you do, don’t force your bag under your seat—then you are taking away from the room of the person behind you.

Eventually, the woman yesterday gathered all of her things together and put them in the overhead bin, sighing loudly to signal her displeasure the whole time. (If she had listened to the flight attendants’ announcements in the first place, she would have known the score before she sat down. But that’s a rant for another day….) After takeoff, she loudly excused herself to the person next to her as she went to pull her purse out of the overhead bin. “So sorry! But I had to put all of my things up there, and I need them, so I have to go in front of you.” Passive-aggressive, yes. Oh well. Next time you sit in the bulkhead, try to be nicer and more prepared than her! Your fellow passengers will thank you.


  1. i’m not a fan of the bulkhead. doesn’t seem to be enough overhead bin space to accommodate everyone’s stuff, and you end up having to go a couple rows back if you don’t have high enough status to get on the plane first.

  2. I hate when that kind of thing happens. It was that woman’s ignorance that caused the problem yet she makes sure to inconvenience and annoy everyone else around her. I feel the worst for the flight attendants.

  3. I hate the bulkhead. I like to have my stuff available to me during the flight without having to get up and rummage in the overhead bins.

    But no reason to be passive-aggressive or rude about it, and yes, she should have known better.

  4. There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how bulkhead works. As someone who flies in bulkhead whenever I can for the extra legroom (I’m very tall), I have no problem taking down my things once we’ve reached cruising altitude. You cannot have items on the floor during takeoff or landing, but once it’s OK to use electronics, you can take your bag down, and have it with you until it’s time to prepare for landing. I typically board the plane and take out some reading material to read during take off. Then once the seatbelt sign goes off, I simply get up and take the bag I’d like out and put it either behind my legs or in front of me. No problem. When they make the announcement to prepare for landing, my stuff goes back up, though I keep my mobile with me.

    And if you’re worried about letting stuff out of your sight, there’s almost always room for your small personal item in an overhead quite near you and the FA will do everything they can to keep it near you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.