Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201800019
Date reported 15 February 2018
Concern title Excessive carry-on baggage on board Boeing 737 aircraft
Concern summary

The concern related to the size and number of carry-on bags permitted on board [operator] flights on Boeing 737 aircraft.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern relating to the size and number of carry-on bags permitted on board [operator] flights on Boeing 737 aircraft.

The reporter advised that [operator] staff do not appear to check or enforce the number of bags or the dimensions of bags passengers are carrying on board.

The reporter advised that the size and number of carry-on baggage in overhead lockers leaves no room to stow anything, except under the seat in front. The reporter is concerned that the practice of placing oversized baggage under the seats would impede rapid access to an emergency exit in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

[Operator] has carry-on baggage allowances that are documented on [website address] for customers and within policy manuals for both Cabin Crew and Airports staff.

[Operator] airport staff and cabin crew are responsible for enforcing carry-on baggage regulations, both at check in and during boarding. If cabin baggage is excessive, ground staff will arrange for stowage in the hold.

The reporter advised that [operator] staff do not appear to check or enforce the number of bags or the dimensions of bags passengers are carrying on board.

[Operator] has carry-on baggage allowances that are documented on [website address] for customers and within policy manuals for both Cabin Crew and Airports staff.

[Operator] airport staff and cabin crew are responsible for enforcing carry-on baggage regulations, both at check in and during boarding. This is documented within policy manuals for both Cabin Crew and Airports staff.

During check in and boarding, [operator] staff can identify if carry-on items comply with the documented allowances and can check the cabin baggage dimensions by utilising the carry-on baggage allowance test units available throughout the terminals.

The reporter advised that the size and number of carry-on baggage in overhead lockers leaves no room to stow anything, except under the seat in front. The reporter is concerned that the practice of placing oversized baggage under the seats would impede rapid access to an emergency exit in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Cabin baggage is only allowed to be carried on board if it complies with the [Operator] Carry-on baggage dimensions and can be safely stowed in an approved stowage. Approved stowages include the overhead stowage and the area under the passenger’s seat. At emergency exit rows, the documented Cabin Crew Policy requires that the area under the passenger’s seat in front is kept clear. At these locations all bags must be placed in the overhead locker for taxi, take-off and landing.

The following cabin baggage management policy was implemented in 2017:

To assist with on time performance, Cabin Crew are required to follow the below bag tagging procedures on 737 Domestic flights with a five crew complement:

If a customer is travelling in Economy, and presents at the boarding gate with two pieces of carry-on baggage and isn’t seated in an overwing exit, Cabin Crew are required to tag the second smaller bag and ask the customer to place it under the seat in front of them once they’re on board.

The following PA’s are made on board the aircraft every five minutes during boarding:

[Bag Tagging Flight]

Hi everyone, thank you for taking your seats as quickly as possible. To help with our departure, all bags that have a red in cabin baggage tag placed on them need to be stowed under the seat in front of you. If you’re seated in an exit row, please place all bags in the overhead locker. To assist with boarding, we ask that you move into your seat as quickly as possible, leaving the aisle clear behind you.

[Non - Bag Tagging Flight]

Hi everyone, please place your smaller personal belongings underneath the seat in front of you and only larger bags, wheels first, into the overhead locker. If you’re seated in an exit row, please place all bags in the overhead locker. To assist with boarding, we ask that you move into your seat as quickly as possible, leaving the aisle clear behind you.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and advises that it is satisfied with the operator’s current measures in monitoring and mitigating the amount of carry-on luggage, and that their procedure of tagging the smaller items has assisted in the management of the size of luggage carried.

That said, CASA acknowledges the challenges airlines face in enforcing passenger compliance. The recent “Bean Safe” promotion is a CASA initiative aimed at promoting on board safety to passenger using understandable messages enlisting participation to support safe practices. While CASA will continue to promote “Bean Safe”, operational surveillance remains our primary means of monitoring aircraft weight and load operations and we will continue to monitor [operator] ongoing management of the requirements.

Last update 12 March 2019