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United says that '100%' of customers will be able to bring carry-on bags

Date: July 7, 2021

By Thomas Pallini, Business Insider

United Airlines plans to gut the interiors of its narrow-body Boeing and Airbus planes as part of a multi-year fleet revitalization program. Upgrades to the cabin will include installing seat-back in-flight entertainment screens, in-seat power at every seat, and LED mood lighting

One upgrade that flyers should look forward to more than most, however, is larger overhead bins that United says will create enough space for every passenger's carry-on bag. If that holds true, passengers will no longer have to worry about gate-checking their carry-on bags. 

"We're going to have one spot for each bag for each customer," Toby Enqvist, United's chief customer officer, said at an airline event on Tuesday. The hope is that by ensuring all bags will have an onboard home, passengers won't be in such a rush to board and can stop crowding gate areas waiting for their boarding group or zone to be called.

"You don't have to line up 45 minutes before the flight because everybody's going to have a spot," Enqvist said. "It's a game-changer." 

As many as six rollaboard bags can fit in each of the new overhead bins. Though, it may take time for flyers to adapt to the new storage method of putting bags on their sides instead of on their backs.

The new bins won't just aid passengers' peace of mind, they will help prevent departure delays incurred from gate-checking luggage. United staff will also be more focused on more important aspects of sending off a flight, rather than dealing with minor bag issues. 

"It's just going to create a different environment onboard the airplane," Scott Kirby, United's chief executive officer, said. "And that frees our customer, our flight attendants, our gate agents, all of our people that are interacting with customers to be customer service agents, as opposed to dealing with the kinds of issues that they had to deal with often in the past." 

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