Innovative Solution to Overhead Bin Crowding Innovative Solution to Overhead Bin Crowding

Innovative Solution to Overhead Bin Crowding

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Almost everybody has suffered from the lack of overhead bin space on a flight. If you are unfortunate enough to board at the end of the process, quite often all the overhead bins are full. A classic example of this is the low-cost carrier, Ryanair, which has 189 seats on its Boeing 737-800 yet only has space for 90 bags in the overhead bins, meaning nearly half the passengers end up having their hand luggage checked — that should help explain their pricing model and premium on every bit of cabin space.

In the next few years all that may change thanks to an innovative solution found by students from the University of Hong Kong, who have won this year’s Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition. The team have developed a bin that pops out of the floor from under the seat in front of you.

Underseat Storage

The innovative solution gives each passenger their own personal storage bin; while the bin may not be large enough to fit larger carryon bags, it definitely would be big enough for laptops, briefcases, purses etc.

Open Bin

The Fly Your Ideas competition is held annually and offers the winning team a prize of €30,000, with the winners announced in Toulouse, France. This year’s winners really impressed the Airbus Judges, and a spokesperson for the company confirmed that “'The judges were impressed in seeing such a simple but effective solution for improved passenger experience,” adding “The new aircraft cabin design fully uses the space between the cabin floor and the cargo ceiling to give passengers their own personal luggage space.”

Closed Bin

For this year’s competition, students had to provide an innovative solution that answered one of five challenges identified by Airbus. The challenges spanned manufacturing innovations, to passenger experience, and the competition as a whole attracted close to 5,500 participants from around the globe. Since its inception in 2008, Fly Your Ideas, has had entries from over 20,000 students and 650 universities around the globe.

Our Take

This is a truly innovative solution to a problem that affects a significant number of the billions of fliers each year. Hopefully, in the long run, this innovation will be incorporated into aircraft across the globe. What do you think?

Source: Daily Mail

Images courtesy of Airbus

3.5 / 5 - (6 votes)
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  • A really clever idea and one that would not cost the airlines much to introduce when refitting their aircraft.

  • The more small things that people put down there, the more space there will be left in overheads for the bigger items. how many times have you seen smaller items that easily could fit under seat taking up space in overheads? I personally don’t put anything at my feet because it takes up legroom but would consider this since it does not use any legroom.

  • The best solution would be for the airlines to stop charging baggage fees. These problems really did not exist prior to the airlines charging to check bags.

  • this is a fantastic innovation

  • Just fly F!

  • Cool idea, but how would it work when all three(or more) people in a row use it. Poor person in the window seat would have a devil of a time getting to theirs. Guess they’d have to wait for the others to get theirs and disembark. I see it slowing disembarkment down.

  • Great idea. Might limit leg room though.

  • Good to know some folks are trying to figure out a better way of thinking about this problem.

  • That’s a great idea!

  • Interesting idea but I would prefer the cabins have rows of seats removed since less cattle means less need for trough space.

  • Air Flyer says:

    How is different from keeping your bags under the seat in front of you?

  • Rob Arias says:

    Great, simple, idea but unfortunately I really doubt it’ll be mass implemented

  • The_Bouncer says:

    Interesting idea!

  • Daryl Ann Jones says:

    Great idea. Just hope no one forgets to retrieve their stored items.

  • charlesj says:

    Sounds good. I can’t turn my head, and trying to keep my eye on my bag so someone doesn’t accidentally walk off with it when we are unloading passengers is more than just a pain in the neck (which is why I try to put my bag as close to across the aisle from me as possible.

  • I hope that catches on. Refits maybe difficult and/or expensive in order to reroute wiring, piping and whatever else. But any new planes should adopt this ASAP. I find it hard to believe that it hasn’t been thought of already though. Bending down there and fishing out smaller items might be problematic.

  • Cool idea – but don’t see how it can be implemented unless the airlines monetize it

  • That’s so cool!

  • Looks like a good idea, but highly impractical. More spaces to clean up, more places to forget luggage…

  • If this space really is available, why don’t they use it just to create more leg room? I could see a more innovative solution that alternates the heights of each row of seats based on this extra space, thereby increasing legroom for passengers. I also agree with a previous poster that the problem with carry on isn’t small items such as purses or laptops (which may be banned soon anyway), it is actually with large roller that can’t fit in the overhead bins because they are full.

  • I think that actually takes even more room. Better to leave it empty and we can always put our bag under the seat anyway.

  • Haha very creative.

  • Jason Picker says:

    Not a good idea. Space for bags is what is needed, this minimizes the space, meaning no bag will be able to fit underneath.

  • Simple yet inovative

  • Well this does look promising! I did notice that it yes it wouldn’t fit the carryon bag, which might work if everything else fits into the bin they give you and your carryon fits under the seat. Often times I see that ppls carryon doesn’t fit under the seat. I like their thought process though! Always need more ppl thinking outside the box. Did anyone see a handle to open it? Or maybe a button?

  • Great idea. Hopefully integrated into next design

  • Sounds so simple! Almost on the cusp of being absurd. Strange no one else have thought about it before:)

  • Nice idea, so there will be also an immediate verification of what it’s a small luggage and what you need to put overhead. No need to argue anymore with the crew.

  • My solution: fly in th e J or F cabins! 🙂

  • I’m surprised people think this is such a great idea. With such cramped space between the seats and the chaos of people boarding a flight it would be nearly impossible for someone to use this system,

  • Airlines don’t have an incentive to help you carry more on, in my experience they prefer to enforce arbitrary weight limitations to sting you with a gate bag check fee.

  • interesting idea… just more ways to get more money airlines!

  • is this overhead or underfeet competition? 🙂

  • Alice Chen says:

    The pictures look quite small, I don’t know if most carry ons will even fit there. Overheads are usually for larger things anyways, so I’m not sure if it would be much help. Interesting idea though.

  • Great idea, but the problem is never those items that fit under the seat in front, but the massive wheelie bags going up in the bins…

  • A push in the right direction, how many of us have experienced cramming of bags over head especially if you late on the plane.
    So this space has always been available, amazes me why it’s taken this long to think up.

  • I’d like to see this in action soon!

  • I like the creativity, but unless the size was big enough to fit in a full-size carry-on, this seems almost no different than the current situation where people can put computer bags/purses/etc. under the seat in front of them (albeit with more foot space).

  • I think people may pack more stuff into carry-on because of this extra space?

  • Great idea! My only concern is will this cut into legroom? I can’t quite tell from the photos.

  • Not sure it solves the overhead problems. I don’t even think my purse could fit in there but of it is implemented hopefully the space will be made a little deeper than they created.

  • Looks like a great idea!

  • Great idea!

  • It is a rather crude concept which I don’t think would work, as others have said anything below the seat you have to open will be forgotten about. The business model of the low cost carriers requires a quick turnaround, and the crew opening compartments below the seats would be too time consuming. There may be something in it though in the sense of if the area below the seat cab be made a little bigger or deeper it might hold more of the luggage.

  • This looks like a great idea whenever airlines are retrofitting their airplanes to add more seats.

  • A simple idea, yet impressively innovative!

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    At last an idea that could go some way to solving the overhead storage, fight for space problem many of us encounter regularly.
    To work effectively it would need to fairly large or deep enough to basically the same space offered overhead.

  • Sebastian says:

    Thats really an interesting way to store it!

  • how sure are we that this space is empty? and what are the effects on performance & safety by filling it?

  • Great idea but as others have pointed out, the chances of this being implemented are slim. It would be expensive to refit a fleet of planes and I too can envision people forgetting items they have placed in there.

    I doubt it would make much of difference in alleviating the overhead bin space problems. People will still bring oversized carryons to avoid baggage fees or delays at the carousel.

    • After all pax leave an aircraft, do the crew check the overhead bins to make sure they’re empty?

      How on earth would you check all underfloor bins are empty? Get down on your knees in every seat row? Can’t see it happening…

  • MICHAELJ says:

    This might free up some leg space but would not appear to alleviate the roll-on issues.


    amazing invention

  • I would assume that is already being used by the Cargo Bay which is revenue generating….

  • Great idea!!

  • Most travelers would appreciate some extra room to store their items. However with a Mass of people trying to board at once and considering how cramped the seats already this idea is going to be a real cluster-f*@k when its used in the real world

  • This is a really great idea and it would be a great improvement to the current situation. A few years ago, I decided to take the overhead bin issue out of my travel stress. I became a one-bag travel minimalist. The only bag I carry fits under my seat — even when I’m traveling for work or on the road for a month. I’m able to do this by smart packing and planning. I understand that some people can’t (or won’t) do this, so this overhead bin solution would be much welcomed by them.

  • More storage is welcomed but I suspect people will forget items stored in there.

    • says:

      I agree it’s an innovative idea, but disagree people will forget things, It’s at their feet. They use floor space now. It just keeps it organized in my opinion

      • The difference is though that at the moment bags under the seat are at your feet where you can see them. This idea will put them under the floor where you can’t. It is much easier to forget things you can’t see.

  • It’s certainly innovative and any idea is a step in the right direction. But I’m not holding my breath until it’s implemented, and I’m not holding my breath in thinking it will help. Yeah, maybe a laptop or skinny purse, etc. But it’s not going to solve any issue for those who are essentially packing a carry-on in lieu of a checked bag. But again, I like the simplicity and thought behind it. It certainly doesn’t hurt anything (until the airlines figure out how to monetize it like a locker).