Lifting Carry On Baggage into Overhead Bins
December 15, 2015
In the advent of the recent company communications with Flight Attendants who are purser qualified, we’re receiving a number of questions about a Flight Attendant’s responsibility as it relates to the stowage of passenger baggage onboard the aircraft. Specifically, information in this year’s Purser Recurrent training has created a misperception that there has been a change in policy as it relates to the stowage of cabin baggage where some Flight Attendants now believe they are “required” to lift passenger baggage into the overhead bin. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Since the mid-1970’s, the company and Union have shared a mutual understanding of a Flight Attendant’s responsibility regarding the carrying and stowage of passenger cabin baggage and personal articles on Company aircraft.. That is, to assist passengers in stowing properly sized cabin carry-on baggage and personal articles. Within the context of assisting, “the company does not require a Flight Attendant to carry or lift acceptable passenger cabin baggage and personal articles which are of a size or weight which would require her to seek assistance (emphasis added). In such a circumstance the Flight Attendant should request the assistance of other company personnel to arrange proper cabin stowage of the articles prior to aircraft departure.”
In addition, in the November 27, 2009, Onboard Update, the company further clarifies their expectation of Flight Attendants in an article entitled Managing Carry-on Baggage for On-time Departures. Specifically, we are to proactively assist and direct customers to available storage locations. Using Backsafe® techniques to reposition items in overhead and stowage compartments to maximize space.
In some instances, stowage of the baggage might best be accomplished by enlisting the assistance of another passenger or checking the baggage to the passenger’s final destination. However, in recognition of our vital role in evacuating the aircraft in an emergency and in the interest of avoidance of occupational injuries, there is no disagreement with management that lifting a passenger’s carry-on baggage into an overhead bin is not a Flight Attendant responsibility most especially when the weight of the item exceeds the ability of the Flight Attendant in question. In every circumstance, you are in the best position to know your personal limitations. Be smart – get help when directing customers in the stowage of their carry-on baggage.