Qantas trials Boeing 737 upgrade to fit more bags in overhead bins

By David Flynn, July 10 2012
Qantas trials Boeing 737 upgrade to fit more bags in overhead bins

Qantas will trial a new overhead bin system in its Boeing 737-800 aircraft designed to fit not only larger carry-on bags, but more of them.

The retrofit system, codenamed Project Amber and developed by aircraft interiors firm Heath Tecna, will be installed by Qantas into one of its Boeing 737 jets in the fourth quarter of 2012 and promises to boost overhead storage capacity by 30-40%.

Project Amber is a pivot bin system (similar to that adopted by Boeing in its Boeing Sky Interior design) which can replace Boeing's standard 'shelf bin' designs for the Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft to increase overhead storage capacity.

The bins can also be used to upgrade newer 737-800 'Next Generation' aircraft which have been factory-fitted with the Boeing Sky Interior.

Heath Tecna claims the pivot bins can not only hold a larger bag size than the 737-800NG's standard Boeing Sky Interior bins, they can hold more bags – "approximately 36-42 more roller bags per cabin than the BSI, depending on the cabin’s configuration" according to Heath Tecna veep Gary Chris.

"At the heart of Project Amber’s design is a pairing of odd sized pivot bins that allow passengers to transversely stow up to seven roller bags on their sides per 80 inch module supplied", Chris says.

"Furthermore, the bin assist system will help to close fully loaded bins more easily and travelers will enjoy extra head room as the new pivot bins arch upwards.”

Qantas is the first airline in the world to trial the system, says Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi. "The easy stowage of carry-on baggage is important for our customer experience and the trial will allow us to test a new design.”

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

 That should be interesting given the new strict carry on policies and the intimidating carry on frame and scales at the gates. All these extra bags are going to make it hard for the desperates that need to get off the aircraft the moment the engines stop.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 May 2012

Total posts 76

I think Jetstar should look at this system, nobody wants to pay for baggage so the overhead bins become very full, very quickly.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 582

From my observation, the issue is far bigger on Qantas than Jetstar. The bags are bigger, more rigid and there are more of them on busy flights.

But the issue is far bigger on the 767's than the 737's (especially those with the Sky Interior) with their tiny bins. Qantas would be much wiser to fit new bins on the 767's (a refit that is already proven and widely used) than trailing a new system where it isn't really needed.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

It's good to see that Qantas is trialling something that is clearly an existing problem now. It will be good if this works and cause less stress for passengers.

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