New overhead bins will provide more carry-on space in new 737s

Airlines that order next-generation Boeing 737s and 737-MAXes can now opt for overhead storage bins that will provide significantly more storage for their passengers’ carry-on luggage.

Boeing's new “Space Bins” will provide 48% more overhead storage, a boon in today’s environment when more people are carrying on to expedite their travels and avoid ever-increasing fees for checked baggage.

Artist's rendering of Space Bins
Each of the larger bins will stow six bags, two more than the current pivot bins installed on Next-Generation 737s with the Boeing Sky Interior. That is based on a standard size carry-on bag measuring 9-in x 14-in x 22-in (23 cm x 36 cm x 56 cm). In all, the new bins will allow the storage of 174 standard carry-ons compared to the largest bins currently available on NextGen 737s, called the Pivot Bins, which hold up to 117 bags.

When open, the Space Bin’s bottom edge will be about two inches lower than on comparable aircraft, meaning passengers will not have to lift bags as high to load them. In addition, the lower bin lip height lets passengers see into the back of the bins more easily. Air travelers who have tried unsuccessfully to stow their bag because it was being blocked by another item they couldn’t see know how helpful that feature will be.

As well as accommodating the stowing of more carry-ons, Space Bins will be able to accommodate non-standard items, such as guitars.

Space Bins were developed in a cooperative effort between Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK), which will be the launch customer for the new bins and will begin installing them on all new deliveries of 737-900ERs and 737-MAX aircraft as soon as the bins become available in late 2015. The bins will also be available as a retrofit for NextGen 737s that are already in service.

“Alaska was the prime customer we sought input from because they were one of the leaders in asking for more room for carry-on luggage,” a Boeing spokesperson told TheTravelPro.

Boeing engineers observed first-hand how customers load their bags and developed ideas for improvement from their experiences. Alaska flight attendants, customer service agents and others then worked with Boeing’s design center personnel, tested prototypes, and provided input.

“We have reviewed the Space Bin design concept with many airlines and received valuable feedback from them as well,” the spokesperson added.

Alaska expects the new bins to reduce boarding times, improve on-time performance and require less assistance from flight attendants, it said in a news release.

While extra space for luggage will certainly be welcome and may free up some space under the seats, the Space Bins themselves will otherwise have no effect of the space available to passengers. Seat pitch – the distance from the back of one seat to the back of the seat in front of it – and seating configuration are determined by each airline. More information on legroom and seating configuration is available at

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Illustration courtesy of Boeing
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