Court Orders Iberia To Start Weighing Carry On Bags

Iberia’s flight attendants object to the larger overhead bins that the Spanish airline and British Airways sister carrier has been putting in Airbus A350-900 planes. Customers are able to fit more bags into XL bins, making them heavier. And flight attendants went to court seeking an order that they don’t have to lift those bins closed. Specifically, they sought one of two remedies:

  1. An order requiring Iberia to replace large bins with smaller, less customer-friendly bins
  2. An order declaring flight attendants wouldn’t be required to close the bins prior to departure

The Court declined to impose either of the cabin crew union demands, did order the airline to limit the weight of carry on bags that passengers bring on planes.

Already there’s a weight limit for carry on bags on Iberia: 10kg (22 pounds) for economy passengers and 14kg (31 pounds) for business class. However it isn’t well-enforced. The court would require weight checks, as some airlines do in Europe and elsewhere.

There’s another solution to all of this, of course. Use better overhead bins. The larger bins American Airlines uses, for instance, have an auto lift feature where you simply pull down the bin and it helps raise it up, power assist as it were. That way whomever is closing the bin isn’t actually lifting up the full weight of the bin.

About Gary Leff

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. It is the responsibility of FAs to ensure all o/h bins are closed and secured as part of the pre-departure checks. If they don’t want to do it then who is to do it? Passengers? Sure, most would do it but they are certainly not obliged to.
    If FAs don”t want to do it, I’d suggest they are in the wrong job.

  2. It’s a very fair complaint IMHO. Having to push a bin that could easily weigh 200-300lbs repeatedly is an OSHA issue that could cause serious overuse injuries to FAs. Airlines and OEMs must address the push force required to close the bins using innovative solutions.

  3. Iberia is the worst. Ryanair has better legroom, AA better service. And btw, they’re still requiring masks on all flights. No warning at booking, online check-in, or at airport counter. Absolutely insane

  4. @Fred

    Your comment is an ethnic remark and it is 100% TRUE. The Spanish, I’m talking about real European Spanish and not those who speak Spanish due to colonization in the Americas, are known to be lazier than other White ethnic groups. We have seen this on Iberia for the past twenty years. Getting up late and having 11:00PM dinners is what the Spanish are known for. With France we have arrogance and no one should deny it. Every ethnic group and race has characteristics based on having unique dna and it’s helpful to know these characteristics so we can make informed choices. We know we can blame these flight attendants for being lazy and making a problem where there is no problem. Franco was right.

  5. As someone who ended up with multiple blown disks in his back from pitching bags* among other things, I understand their concern. I applaud AA for their assistive bin closure technology. The FAs have a legitimate point in this case. Y is correct here.

    *Career ending BTW.

  6. John – I know.

    Y – you are the problem. Boo hoo the little babies have to do their jobs. Of course the customer should be screwed over for their convenience.

  7. Never knew iberia had this already low weight limit of 10kg….sister airline BA has a 23 kgs limit

  8. Hmmm…
    So if I’m understanding correctly, it looks like people need more room for luggage above their heads… while they continue to get less and less room in their seats.
    Am I alone in thinking that priorities are a little upside down here?

  9. If the overhead bins are too heavy for some FAs, why not use 2 FAs to close those bins?
    It might take a moment longer, but lots of bins are closed by the passengers anyways.

    Although of cause no passenger has the obligation to do this, they could do a quick announcement like “Dear passengers, the boarding is complete. Welcome on board and enjoy your flight. We will now close the overhead bins.If you want to help us to get off the ground two minutes earlier, you are welcome help with the overhead bin over your seat.

  10. Finally! I wish this was worldwide/

    Also not sure why the FAA is asleep on this matter: I am pretty sure that US airlines regularly fly with more weight in the overhead bins than they are certified (buy the FAA) to carry, and in the case of an accident it’s quite likely that people would be killed by the overweight bins falling on people.

  11. Jake – you’re a lazy little fa pansy aren’t you? Show me a case where the OHB has fallen on someone?

  12. Iberia already provides it’s customers with plenty of incentive to fly other carriers.

    This is just one more giant middle finger to the customer. It’s a shame. Love visiting Spain, but not so much that I’d fly Iberia when France & Italy are an option.

  13. I guess I’m the only one who finds the “pull down” buns to be terrible?
    They are super awkward
    People often struggle to coordinate pulling the bin down while lifting their bag.

    Also: in what world is an overhead bin 200-300 pounds?
    Even my big checked bag rarely gets over 50 pounds, and that’s massive.

    These bins carry 2-3 carry on bags maximum.
    It’d be hard to get those to 50 pounds

    So 150 pounds max. And that’s truly a max.

    Plus the bin is cantilevered so it’s not like you’re pushing the entire weight
    I’d say 50 pounds true lift max.

    The bigger problem is getting the bags into the bin.
    I often see frail and weak people struggle, leaving the FA (or a man) to help
    AA’s solution doesn’t help this, and in fact makes it worse.

    But in today’s world it’s seen as gauche for a man to offer help leaving the FA to do it

  14. @Stuart~ 23kg is the checked bag weight limit, 10kg is cabin bag.
    Actually 10kg for a cabin bag is pretty generous; many airlines have a 7kg limit.

  15. Stand facing the bin. Push up with both hands. No one handed lift as you go by. Any average female should be able to close a bin easily. And quite a few could do with the exercise.

  16. Isn’t spain the only country in Europe still requiring masks? It’s at least possible COVID went to their head and has had a very negative impact on their thinking.

  17. @Airfarer, you’re a riot. @ken m, how about you stand up and lift about 10 of those bins up without the auto assist and then revisit your response. I actually think the mask wearing has impacted your common sense.

  18. Glenn t – Incorrect. The limit for BA hand luggage is 23KG.

    Flyer1 – If you can’t lift ten of those bins in a row then you’re either frail, disabled or unfit. Plenty of people have jobs lifting a hell of a lot more than that, a hell of a lot more often.

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