Airbus A350 has oversized overhead bins for carry-on luggage

Airbus A350 had oversized overhead bins for hand luggage

In a recent court decision Spanish judges have ordered Iberia to limit the weight of hand luggage that passengers are allowed to carry on board.

The problem came from where they did not expect. The Airbus A350 is equipped with bins for carry-on luggage, which the aircraft manufacturer calls XL bins. Each of them easily fits five full-size “cabin” suitcases. The lockers are located on consoles, and in order to close them, you need to lift the entire weight of the box and everything that is in it to the ceiling. If on ordinary narrow-body A319, A320 and A321 lockers are closed by lowering and snapping the door, here (like Boeing) you need to lift the filled box up.

Now the math. Each overhead locker has a maximum capacity of 30 to 45 kg, but Iberia allows passengers to carry hand luggage between 10 and 14 kg. Multiply by 5, it turns out 50 & ndash; 70 kg.

Moreover, Iberia does not have a weight control procedure for every hand luggage carried on board, so the actual weight of each locker can be several times higher than the declared maximum.

Flight attendants have to bend down at the same time to lift such a weight above their heads above the passengers due to the design of the seats. Since there are 112 overhead lockers on each of the A350-900s, each flight attendant will perform this “push-up” with weights 14 times.

On their own, overhead bins do a great job with the ever-growing mountain of carry-on luggage that passengers take on board and can carry any weight with a margin, but they can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of female flight attendants.

Iberia received its first A350 in 2018, with a total of 20 aircraft on order. The airline has conducted several experiments to assess the risks and has even found safe ways for crew members to close the shelves. However, the court was not satisfied with this: it concluded that Iberia failed to “take preventive measures.”

Stewardess unions asked to replace the XL cells with more traditional overhead shelves, or at least impose a ban on Iberia , expecting them to close some of the boxes.

The judge rejected these demands, saying they were unfeasible, but ordered Iberia to introduce new measures to weigh passengers' hand luggage and enforce their own rules.

The airline must also ensure that short crew members — below 1 meter 63 centimeters — the locker was closed by two crew members together, thus minimizing the risk of injury.

Finally, concerns were raised about the recently introduced new Iberia uniform, as the design of the women's suit restricts movement in the shoulder area. Iberia is already working on redesigning some of the uniforms to make it easier for flight attendants to close the top berths.

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