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Overhead Bins: Assist Mechanism

assist mechanism
Posted by on November 1, 2016

[[Video]]: 737 Bins Assist Mechanism

Did you know that some Boeing overhead bins have an assist mechanism? As a flight attendant who shuts hundreds of overhead bins each flight, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this until last year! I had been shoving the entire weight of the full overhead bins when there was an easier way! Luckily I flew with someone who noticed I wasn’t taking advantage of this great assist mechanism and he told me about it. I made this video to share with you and with other flight attendants who may have missed the memo, as I did.

I got mostly positive feedback from my video, from both flight crew and passengers who had not been aware of this assist mechanism. A few colleagues kind of made fun of me, “Yeah, we knew that already,” and “Yes, I knew this—I read the memo when it came out.” Oh well, you can’t make everyone happy. I figured that since this was something I had somehow missed I probably wasn’t the only one. Comment below if you knew about this assist mechanism or not. Next time you’re on a plane that has this, give it a test. See how much difference it makes when you flip the switch vs. not using the assist. Tell us what you think!

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Travel Tip: Luggage

assist mechanism
On topic overhead bins, be careful when you purchase luggage that claims to meet airline sizing restrictions. Sometimes the wheels protrude beyond the approved measurements or the luggage expands to a depth that won’t fit in overhead bins. I advise bringing a measuring tape if you are shopping in person for luggage. And remember that different airlines have different bag size restrictions. Also different aircraft have different sized overhead bins, so the excuse, “It fit on my last flight” doesn’t always fly. When I’m traveling with my kids (who are still young: age 8 and 3), I find it easiest to pack my things along with the kids’ in a rolling duffel bag and I check that bag. Then for onboard I pack a backpack and tote bag for me, my 8yo carries a rolling backpack, and my 3yo carries a mini rolling backpack. Everything fits under the seats (my tote bag fits alongside the mini backpack). Then I don’t have to worry about overhead bin space at all.

One cool thing in larger, more modern Boeing aircraft is the newer Space Bins, which hold 50% more bags but the way they are designed, the weight loads toward the bottom of the bin and doesn’t require any assist mechanism! I haven’t flown yet on a plane that has these, have you?

assist mechanism

photo credit: Jason Redd