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When you travel, do you ever wonder how you can be that person who is always ahead of the pack, even when things go awry? Hosts Vinod Viswalingam (@VViswalingam) and Geoff Dahl (@geoffdahl) are proud to present The Seat 1A Podcast.

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Experience 026 Show Notes. More from the mailbag. The baggage above you - overhead bins. The Seat 1A Podcast.

Dec 13, 2019

Recorded 06 December 2019

Written by: Geoff Dahl & Vinod Viswalingam

Listen to this experience wherever you download your podcasts - including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play and Overcast.

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In this experience we go back to the mailbag and thank Joe R for his questions about overhead bins and baggage and the struggles that go with it in modern day air travel.

It's a perfect time to look at this question, with lots of extra travel for the year end holiday season.

Overhead bins are a relatively new phenomenon in air travel – you just have to look at old movie footage when it used to just be a shelf. Have Vinny or Geoff ever experienced a non-bin flight before (hint – yes).

A more recent change in the drive for more revenue, most airlines charge for checking in baggage – which means it ends up in the cabin. Vinny was in the heat of the action when WestJet (WS) changed their policy.

You need to pay attention to what kind of airplane type you're flying with – narrow body or wide body – to know what the
differences in bins you may have. Also, just because it fits on one aircraft model, doesn't mean it will fit on another. For a good idea what will fit, check what the crew is bringing on board. Are your outside bag pockets stuffed full? Do you panic when your bag doesn't fit...and then turn it 90 degrees? Are the crew helping with the overhead bin Tetris game? Are airline staff at the boarding area checking to see how many bags might be brought on board? Who has the "space bin" and what difference does it make? Do you know your bag and if it's going to fit in the bin? Has anyone ever seen a flight attendant with a bin closing stick? Vinny did flying from DFW-LHR.

Passenger behaviour...we've all seen it before. Please don't plug up the centre aisle. Remember that the bin is not your personal closet space – and that bin above you is only the preferred space for you. Economy passengers dumping their bags in business class bins. Vinny sharing a crazy childhood story flying from BOM-BLR – overhead bins can make flashing lights and uniformed police show up.

Are your bags fitting in the sizer? What if you know it does...will a gate check tag mysteriously disappear?

Designer bags – some passengers treat them like they need a separate seat and a bin of their own. But what if you have to put your bags under the seat in front of you? Override your instinct and don't take your bag in the case of emergency! And what about kennels?

News Items:

  • Dailyhive article "Flyer stripped of air miles for using elaborate scheme to smuggle fat cat onto plane"
  • Reuters article "Indonesia fines Garuda after CEO fired over smuggled Harley Davidson"
  • Businesstraveller article "Qantas B747 makes final flight to mainland USA"

If you have an overhead bin story, a question or other experience that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. Show notes are available online at




NEWS ITEMS | Flyer stripped of air miles for using elaborate scheme to smuggle fat cat onto plane (15 November 2019)
"...Russian airline Aeroflot has stripped a passenger of his air miles and removed him from their frequent flyer program after he violated their rules by sneaking his overweight cat on one of their flights.

Mikhail Galin, 34, brought his cat Viktor aboard flight SU1702 from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia..." | Indonesia fines Garuda after CEO fired over smuggled Harley Davidson (06 December 2019)
"...Indonesia will fine flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia (GIAA.JK) for violating aviation rules after its chief executive was accused of smuggling a Harley Davidson motorcycle onboard a new plane, state news agency Antara cited the transport minister as saying.

A day earlier, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said CEO Ari Askhara would be dismissed over the allegations..." | Qantas B747 makes final flight to mainland USA (05 December 2019)
"...Qantas has made its final B747 flight between Australia and mainland USA, ahead of the aircraft’s retirement in early 2020.

The final B747 jumbo flight on Qantas’ QF74 service departed San Francisco on December 3, according to tweets by both San Francisco airport, and the Qantas Airways USA accounts..."



  • 01 December 2019 TSA nearly had 3 million people flying (2,870,764)
  • First  flight with the 777 was in June 1995
    • "...The 777 was certificated right on schedule on 19 April 1995. Just over a month later, the US Federal Aviation Administration awarded 180min ETOPS clearance on 30 May, ensuring that the 777 was the first airliner to enter service such approval when it debuted with United Airlines on 7 June 1995 between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles..."PICTURES: The life and times of Boeing's first 777 ( | 19 September 2018)
  • Cathay Pacific (CX) last 747 flight was 08 October 2016. Last commercial flight was 01 October 2016.



  • Joe R
  • Mikhail Galin
  • Ari Askhara



  • What's in this experience? [00:00:46]
  • User feedback about overhead bags. [00:01:00]
  • Great timing for this experience with holiday travel. [00:01:19]
  • TSA busiest single day ever on 01 December 2019. [00:01:56]
  • Dialling it back - there didn't used to be overhead baggage bins. [00:02:15]
  • Vinny only experienced non-bin aircraft once in Russia. [00:03:02]
  • The relatively recent change to charging for check-in means lots more bags in the cabin. [00:03:49]
  • Vinny working with WS when checked bag charges went into effect - way more bags in the cabin. [00:04:22]
  • Airlines calculate how much a passenger is going to bring. [00:04:50]
  • Look at the differences in aircraft types for where the bins are. [00:06:57]
  • Know what aircraft type you're flying on. [00:07:47]
  • Boeing narrow bodies are generally similar. [00:08:02]
  • Look at the size of the bag a crew member carries. [00:08:47]
  • Those few centimeters can make a difference between a Boeing and an Airbus bin. [00:09:58]
  • Check and see how much is stuffed into your outer bag pockets. [00:11:02]
  • People panic when the bag won't fit and then they turn it 90 degrees. [00:11:21]
  • How are the crew members operating when you're loading your bags? [00:13:00]
  • Are crews checking the number of passenger bags in the gate area? [00:14:18]
  • Looking at the actual bin itself. [00:15:51]
  • Widebodies can have a different fit - starting with the 777. [00:16:18]
  • Boeing and the "space bin". [00:18:18]
  • Know your bag and if and how it can get in the bin. [00:19:13]
  • Vinny's AA experience DFW-LHR with a flight attendant and her bin closing stick. [00:19:44]
  • Passenger behaviour - sometimes it's just wow. [00:21:26]
  • Tip - pull into your row when you get to your seat. [00:21:43]
  • Ich bin ein suit jacket? Vinny's FRA-YYC experience with TS. [00:23:48]
  • The bin above you is not specifically for's a preferred space. [00:26:17]
  • Economy class passengers putting their bag into first business class bin. [00:26:33]
  • Vinny shares a crazy childhood baggage story on IC from BOM-BLR. [00:27:19]
  • The mad rush of people in India to get on the plane. [00:28:05]
  • The bin above Vinny and his father was full - now what? [00:28:51]
  • Who's black bag is this in the aisle? Queue the bomb squad. [00:29:55]
  • Finally the bag owner is revealed...and the circus that follows. [00:31:03]
  • Vinny's carry-on bag that fits sometimes won't be allowed on some airlines. [00:32:44]
  • Geoff's experience with the baggage sizer flying MCO-IAH. [00:33:06]
  • Vinny and the disappearing gate check tag at SFO. [00:33:29]
  • Entitled space for certain passenger's designer bags and purses...but what if it has to go on the floor? [00:37:14]
  • Vinny's trick in case he needs to put the bag under the seat in front of him. [00:38:28]
  • Why the bags have to go fully under the seat at landing and takeoff. [00:39:11]
  • In case of emergency....DO. NOT. TAKE. YOUR. OVERHEAD. BAG! [00:39:49]
  • A go kit in your bag in case of emergency. [00:42:28]
  • What about if you're travelling with a kennel? [00:44:09]
  • News items. [00:46:05]
    • Flyer stripped of air miles for using elaborate scheme to smuggle fat cat onto plane. [00:46:10]
    • Indonesia fines Garuda after CEO fired over smuggled Harley Davidson. [00:49:00]
    • Qantas B747 makes final flight to mainland USA. [00:51:45]
  • Show wrap-up. [00:53:42]