Quick Etiquette Tip: Put your bag in the overhead bin the right way!

Last week on my way to Nashville, the last seven or eight passengers to board had to check their bags. This has become fairly standard, as more and more people try to carry-on to avoid checked-baggage fees. I get it, I really do. It sucks to pay $40 or more extra per trip. But as much as the flight attendants say it, there will never be room for everyone’s bag. There are ways, however, to make sure there is room for many, many bags. (Pictured: Samsonite Women’s Xspace 30″ Expandable Spinner, available on Amazon for $159)

The key? Put your bag in the right way. It is the biggest single thing you can do to make sure the most passengers can fit thier bags in the overhead. It can be slightly confusing, because on some aircraft the bags have to go in wheels first, on some they have to be handle first, and on a few planes they can only fit sideways. (In the past, I’ve always had a hard time getting my bag to fit wheels first on Southwest planes, so I’ve had to put it sideways. Last week on my flight home, though, I was able to make it work. So I guess it really depends on the plane.) On some planes, i.e. the Super 80s that American uses all the time, the bags will only fit on one side. The most important thing is to listen to the flight attendants! If you fly all the time, you probably know on any given plane how your bag will fit. But if you don’t fly as much, or you’re on an unfamiliar aircraft, pay attention!

You’ve heard it all before, and you’ll probably hear it every time you fly. The overhead bins are shared space. So do your best to share!!


  1. If I remember correctly, the bins on Southwest are smaller in the first 5 rows (where the plane is narrower) than they are as you get further back. You’re right that space can depend by plane too.

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