Overhead Bin Blues
I was thinking about the overhead bin evolution a couple of weeks ago while boarding a flight from the east coast. Some airlines have now restricted carry-on bags to those who are seated in the 1st and 2nd seating calls. So if you flew on points or bought a deeply discounted ticket you are likely at the end of the line when it comes to boarding, and you are now forced to check your bags.
It used to be that overnight business travel caused the most stress. You typically ended up on a full flight and had to fight off the other like-minded travelers who were also trying to squeeze their roll-on bags into the overhead bin.
Then came the flight reductions, causing all flights, no matter what time of day, to be full. So, not only were you fighting off other business travelers, who knew how to pack an overnight bag, you were also fighting Joe Shmo, who travels once in a blue moon and has no idea how to respect the unwritten rule of airline travel. He has two carry-ons that are far to big, and he spends 20 minutes getting settled in, holding up the traffic behind him trying to load on to the airplane.
Then came the toiletry regulations, swinging the pendulum back while Joe Shmo decided it was too much trouble to pack his shaving kit into a zip lock bag. Bags were once again checked to avoid the hassle.
This article from the New York Times points out that the bin creep has once again returned as the general public decides to leave its hair product behind, enticed by the handy little toiletry packet that hotels provide for a nice markup.
Buyer beware: several airlines will soon start charging for a second piece of luggage. When will the overhead bin find a natural balance?