The retention of
passenger baggage in airplane stowage bins during flight is
of industrywide interest. Many operators have developed detailed
guidelines for passenger carry-on baggage that include maximum
allowable baggage size, weight, and quantity. Airplane manufacturers
also are incorporating new design features into stowage bins
to enhance article retention. However, it is the proper loading
of the overhead stowage bins that ultimately will reduce baggage-retention-related
Every year worldwide,
an estimated 4,500 airline passengers and crew are injured when
items fall out of overhead stowage bins. This averages to approximately
12 injuries per day. The volume, weight, and loading of baggage
inside a stowage bin significantly affect baggage retention and
the risk of injury. Reducing the number of baggage-retention-related
injuries requires an understanding of the following:
of overhead stowage bins currently in use.
loading of stowage bins.
bin design enhancements to improve article retention.
TYPES OF OVERHEAD STOWAGE BINS CURRENTLY IN USE
Overhead stowage bins
were never designed to replace the checking of baggage for transport
in the cargo compartment of the airplane. In fact, early airplane
models, such as the 707, 727, and 737, provided a limited overhead
stowage. These appropriately named hat racks were limited
to stowing emergency equipment and soft items such as coats, hats,
blankets, and pillows.
But as the type and quantity
of passenger carry-on baggage evolved, so did stowage bin designs.
Stowage bin capacities have increased, and the designs have changed
to better accommodate the sizes and geometry of carry-on baggage.
Currently, there are
three types of overhead stowage bins: shelf, pivot, and translating
bins. Individual bin size generally is determined by the length
of the airplane, interior arrangement, carry-on baggage requirements,
and the spacing of the body frames to which the bins are attached.
Standard shelf bins range in length from 15 to 88 in. Standard pivot
and translating bins are 15 to 44 in long.
The shelf bin is the
most common design (fig.
1). Its door opens outward and up. It is most often found as
an outboard overhead stowage bin on older interior designs delivered
on both single-aisle and twin-aisle airplanes. The pivot and translating
bin designs have a controlled rate of opening and provide good visibility
during opening and closing because the door opens out and down (figs.
2 and 3).
Pivot and translating bins are common on both single-aisle and twin-aisle
airplanes. Stowage bin designs have evolved over the years and depend
on the available space within the airplane. Table
1 on the following page summarizes the types of stowage bins
available by airplane model. The maximum load capability of each
stowage bin is identified on load-limit placards displayed on the
interior surface of each stowage bin.
Early derivatives of
twin-aisle airplanes typically used the pivot or translating bins
for the center or inboard overhead stowage bins, and shelf bins
for the outboard overhead stowage bins. MD-11 airplanes, however,
were offered with two overhead bin configurations. Some used a translating
or articulating center overhead stowage bin, while others used a
center shelf bin. Newer twin-aisle airplanes such as the 777 and
767-400 have a more open interior aesthetic design that uses outboard
pivot bins and inboard or center translating bins.