One of the scarcest resources on a plane is overhead bin space. Before 9/11 it was common for airlines to allow two full-sized carry on bags onboard and that didn’t even count your personal item. Planes weren’t as full, and airlines didn’t charge for checked bags, so most customers didn’t do that and it was generally possible to find space in the overhead bins.
Now that planes are booked full, TSA wants to limit how many items go through their security checkpoints, and airlines charge extra to check bags, people may only bring a single full-sized carry on but more people are doing it filling up those bins.
Though several airlines have put in larger overhead bins, there’s still not enough space, and one of the biggest frustrations passengers express in social media is being forced to gate check their bags. The rush for bin space can be a war of all against all, but that includes passengers versus crew too.
Crew board first and, with airlines reducing closet space (or removing closets altogether) they’re taking up bin space themselves. Sometimes though they want it all to themselves as appears to have been the case a week ago on American Airlines flight 164 from San Francisco to New York JFK.
Cabin crew took a sharpie on wrote “Crew” on an overhead bin in the last row of the Airbus A321T aircraft, back by the rear galley of the aircraft.
At least they didn’t take bin space above a bulkhead row, where passengers have no under seat storage area and must put all of their belongings above their seat. Using a marker, though, to create their own rules and signage is both a poor way to treat the aircraft interior, and a poor image to display to customers.
Whether or not it comes off easily, American Airlines will be redoing the interiors of these aircraft once they take delivery of new Airbus A321XLRs. That’s because these premium three-cabin planes that have been flying between New York JFK and both San Francisco and Los Angeles will be converted into standard (densified) A321s, while those routes will see new planes with a flat business suite, premium economy, and coach cabin with less legroom instead.