The pivoting overhead luggage bins in the Boeing Sky interior have a tiny switch/lever on one side. In my experience, cabin crew always flips this switch on every single bin (as indicated by the arrow below) when closing them after boarding. At least KLM/Transavia does it as a standard procedure on 737NGs.

So what does this switch do?

Photo of Boeing Sky overhead bin with the switch marked

Image adapted from Boeing Media Center

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if this is more on topic here or on Travel SE (because it's more a passenger-facing thing). Opinions (in the form of close votes) welcome. $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Apr 20, 2023 at 7:25
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Well, you are asking about the functional purpose of a specific part of an airplane, so it ought to be fine. It's not obvious that understanding this detail would benefit one's travel experience, so it's hard to argue that it would be a better fit for the other site. Seems fine here. We do spend a lot of time talking about obscure details at least in some instances! $\endgroup$ Apr 20, 2023 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


op photo compared with patent
Left: adapted from the image in the question
Right: adapted from public domain

The switch activates an assist mechanism, making it easier to close with a heavy load. Said system stores energy when opening.[1] Activating it while the bin is empty or with a light load will launch the bin upward when it is pushed, and will make it harder to open and reset.[2]

closeup of the switch
Here's a closeup of the switch from a training video that found its way onto YouTube

[1] Here's the patent that is assigned to Boeing if you're in the mood for patent legalese
[2] See training video

  • $\begingroup$ Lovely answer, thanks! (Pity you're "not back".) Now I can't stop wondering what would happen if I tried activating that assist next time I need to close a full bin mid-flight. But I'm probably not brave enough to risk ending up taped to my seat or banned by the airline… :-) $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Apr 25, 2023 at 13:06

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