Hello I'm just curious about the reason to why the overhead bin was most commonly being put on top of our seat and head.

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    $\begingroup$ where else then? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ I just wondering if the overhead bin can be removed. We can create escape system like jet fighter pilots in the event of plane fall. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ @HermesDjohar You want to spend an 8 hour flight strapped tight into a seat and wearing an oxygen mask, for the minuscule chance that you have to eject? $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ Well, if you put them under the seats they wouldn't be overhead bins anymore. $\endgroup$
    – 0xdd
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ ... but you can stow your bag under the seat in front of you. Always have been able to. No need for a lower bin. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Because it is the most efficient use of space.

Due to the physics, specifically the way pressure differential is spread in a container as stress, a perfectly circular tube is the best shape for the body of an airplane, and a rectangular box is way, way, worse. Modern airlines have an oval cross-section, but it is still a lot closer to a tube than a box.

The question is than how do you allocate the space inside a tube. The widest floor area is in the middle vertically, so that is where the passengers go. Now we have roughly one to two meters of vertical space both above and below the passenger deck, not high enough to accommodate people but enough for cargo and storage.

Naturally you would want the heavy cargo to go below, and passenger storage to go above, for logistic reasons. Putting them on the same deck as the cabin would reduce the usable floor area for putting seats. You'd want maximum floor area to place the maximum number of passenger seats to increased revenue on the same flight.

  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad question. First sentence sums it up perfectly. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ The Soviet Ilyushin Il-86 briefly tried the "luggage at hand" idea, where passengers loaded their own luggage on a lower deck as they boarded (similar idea to some trains with passenger loaded baggage racks at the end of carriages). The twin aisle Il-86 only had overhead bins for the window seats, $\endgroup$
    – Mackk
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 12:16

People need to store their carry-on luggage somewhere. The space above passengers' heads is usable space. So it's only logical to store carry-on luggage in the space above passengers' heads.

You ask:

Well, why it's not below the sit? I mean, if the plane fall wouldn't it lower the risk of someone get hit with heavy stuff on their head??

Cargo is already stored underneath the seats. Checked baggage is stored in the cargo hold underneath the passenger compartment. Small carry-on items can already be stowed directly underneath the seats. There's no additional room for baggage underneath the seats.

Removing the overhead compartments would reduce the risk of someone getting hit in the head by falling baggage, but as far as I know, these injuries are already rare.

You also write:

I just wondering if the overhead bin can be removed. We can create escape system like jet fighter pilots in the event of plane fall.

No, it's not feasible to create a fighter-style escape system. See: Could ejector seats save lives in commercial aircraft?

  • $\begingroup$ "People need to store their carry-on luggage somewhere." Why can't people just check it, like they used to do? Who is in such a freaking hurry that they can't walk down to the baggage carousel and pick up a bag carrying a weeks worth of stuff (based on the size of things I see stuffed into overhead bins) when it comes out? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Well, some items are allowed in carry-on luggage but not checked luggage. Some items are things that the passenger would like to use during the flight. Checked luggage is more easily stolen than carry-on luggage. As you mention, picking up checked luggage takes time. Even if checked luggage didn't have these disadvantages, that's not an argument for removing overhead compartments. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads a lot of airlines now charge for checked baggage but allow carry on for "free" (i.e. included in the initial ticket price). I flew carry-on all around Europe this summer to avoid an extra 15-30€ per bag per flight. It wasn't about the speed, it was about the price. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads: Because sometimes what's in carry-on luggage is stuff you might want during the flight. For instance a sweater, laptop computer, books to read... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads If I don't need more space, why would I want to get to the airport early, stand in line at a counter, check my bag, walk farther through the airport, find a baggage claim, and wait around for up to 40 minutes? And I risk my luggage being lost, which means that even if I do check a bag, I need to carry on necessities anyway, including toiletries, electronics, and a change of clothes in case my bag is lost (failing to do this is how I once ended up at a fancy New Years Eve dinner in a grubby old t-shirt). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:26

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