As Airlines Consider Banning Use Of Overhead Bins, One Simple Reason That Makes COVID Spread Worse

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Its actually an ICAO best practice recommendation that national authorities can adopt.

    IATA as an industry group voiced support for the list ICAO guidelines that were issued including minimizing cabin luggage volume and usage of overhead bins.

  2. I bet wait times at baggage claim could be reduced drastically if airlines and airports cared more. If we can get to a point where luggage is already waiting for us by the time we get to baggage claim then I would be 100% onboard with removing all overhead bins.

    Better yet, deliver all luggage directly to the trunk of the Uber, Lyft, parked car, rental car, or bus/shuttle that we are taking to leave the airport.

  3. @Jason – “I bet wait times at baggage claim could be reduced drastically if airlines and airports cared more.”

    Airlines will care when caring will make them money.

  4. The guy with the weird disgusting feet thing must be a contortionist to manage that. Fascinating and revolting at the same time.

  5. I can easily keep distance from others at check-in (which are completely empty anyway) and at the baggage carousel. I cannot keep distance from others on board, especially from people grunting as they lift their heavy loads on top of me.

    There’s no comparison. Bravo Italy for following the lead of Singapore, the Nordics and others (and yes, you do get to check the bag for free in exchange).

  6. It can be done- I can’t remember the last time I got to the baggage carousel before my bags. But then I live in Singapore (and always stop in Duty free to save on high alcohol taxes)…

  7. It is difficult to adhere to safety standards at the airport and on board an aircraft. Nobody keeps a distance, masks are lowered. But it is everyone’s choice to travel in such conditions. I do not agree with one of the commentators about the luggage. No one except yourself has the right to take your luggage, airport staff will not be responsible for the fact that something happens to your luggage, so you do not need to be so lazy that the airport delivers your luggage to Uber’s trunk.

  8. Gary – while BANNING the use of overhead bins is a bit extreme (and neither ICAO nor IATA advocates for that), the sterility of checked baggage can be easily maintained by disinfection processes immediately after acceptance and prior to redelivery. This can be done via manual sanitisation using consumer grade equipment at smaller airports and automated spray systems attached to a conveyor at larger airports. There are even AMS standards for the disinfectants that can be used in such circumstances.

  9. @gleff

    The WSJ is behind a paywall (but you knew that!). However, your statements about LGA terminal payments are taken out of context.

    Subtitle of the linked article says this: “Port Authority says change is needed after decision to raise minimum wage for thousands of workers”

    And From the first paragraph:

    “The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s board of commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to allow restaurants and retail stores to increase prices as much as 10% at the region’s three major airports.”

    Seems to me this about far more than just the LGA terminal project.

  10. A very dumb idea. First of all it will cause people to cram more items around their feet and under the seats necessitating in a longer time to evacuate a plane in an emergency. It will also result in more people congregating in and around the baggage claim areas. Stupid stupid stupid!

  11. The best thing that they could do is to eliminate the overhead bins altogether. Given the choice of waiting for checked luggage at the carousel or waiting on the plane for the unloaders to unload, I’ll gladly wait at the carousel – and hit the restroom on the way there and maybe get a bite to eat instead of standing there on a stuffy plane! As it is, I always try to sit as far forward as possible, with only 1 small underseat bag, so I can get up as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off and get to the head of the line so I can get OFF THE PLANE while the unloaders unload. It would be possible to load and unload a plane in under 5 minutes if we didn’t have to deal with all the lugged onboard luggage!


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