The only positive part of the American Airlines project to cram more seats into its domestic aircraft is that they’ve also added bigger overhead bins – big enough that each passenger should be able to bring one regulation-sized carry on bag onto the plane and stow it in the overhead.
Yet American Airlines still tells agents to make customers gate check bags on planes with these bigger bins.
- American doesn’t want passengers boarding the plane and finding there’s no space available, because it takes more time to check that bag, since it involves search time and bringing the bag back up to the front, and that’s going on at the last minute – it risks delaying a flight by a couple of minutes.
- And despite having more overhead bin space, customers still bring on odd-sized bags, bags that are too large, and they don’t know how to place the bags in bins correctly to maximize space (rollaboards should be turned onto their sides).
American is trying to proactively offer guidance to agents on how many bags per flight will need to be gate checked, based on the number of passengers booked and the aircraft type as well as the origin and destination (some routes have more carry on bags than others).
American might consider educating customers on how to use an overhead bin, rather than making customers gate check as many bags, to take advantage of the bigger bins.