The boarding process can be one of the most stressful aspects of air travel for both flight attendants and passengers. As the clock counts down to departure time, the crew is tasked with make everyone sit down, ensure that all galley and cabin items are stowed in accordance with regulations and carry out all their security checks. At the same time, passengers are in a race to be the first on board the plane in order to secure the most coveted piece of real estate: space in the overhead compartment.
Naturally, most travelers want to place their luggage directly above their seat for easy access during the flight, and so they can quickly grab and go once the plane lands. But space above an airplane seat is not guaranteed or reserved for people seated in that particular row. In fact, most domestic aircraft have three passengers at a time on each side of the aisle in the main cabin. How do all three travelers get priority for the same space? There is very low cost carriers who charge extra for carry-on baggage, but even they don’t guarantee space above a given seat – rather they sell the ability to store a bag in the cabin, period. Then there are those travelers who try to place their luggage towards the front of the cabin, even if they are seated further back, just so they can retrieve it when exiting. But is it a bad label?
There are many questions about the space above our heads. Here, flight attendants give their most practical and polite advice.
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“So many passengers put all of their belongings above their heads just to free up space at their feet for legroom, and that creates a space problem overhead,” says Karina Kay, an air hostess based in Vegas. But personal items are supposed to be stored under the seat in front of you, Kay says. “Of course, we all want to be comfortable and stretch out, but keep your belongings until boarding is complete. Give others with larger carry-ons a chance to place their bags, then place yours in the surrounding space. Many crew members also suggest keeping your winter coats and jacket on until the boarding process is complete and then placing them on the stowed bags.
But some flight attendants disagree. “If someone pays to check her bag, why can’t they put the smaller item in the overhead? It’s first come, first served.” denversaid Lucy Williams. “That being said, I will always ask if we need space, if they mind using the area under their seat, but I won’t force it.”
Regardless of the destination of the baggage, “as the number of passengers in the aisle looking for space begins to increase, the likelihood of the flight departing late also increases,” says Michael Clip, a flight attendant. based at New York Cityfrom John F. Kennedy International Airport. “We can’t close the start gate until everything is stowed properly. If there is no room for the bags, we have to wait for an agent to get off the plane and start tagging the bags to check them at the gate. That takes time.