EDITED ON 28-MARCH-2011 at 7:05PM EST – Edited to correct the following, Boeing 737-800 aircraft with Big Bin overhead bins hold 114 “standard” sized bags and Sky Interior overhead bins hold 118. This information was reversed originally.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the new Boeing Sky Interior being fitting into its new 737 aircraft. While Boeing has stated “there will be more room for carry-on bags in the new, larger stow bins,” in fact there is less room for carry on bags with the new Sky Interior.
Looking at the Boeing 737-800’s non-Sky Interior bins vs the Sky Interior bins reveals less room for passengers to stow their baggage by volume, but by design the Sky Interior holds more … sort of. A Boeing 737-800, outfitted with 174 seats, with non-Sky Interior overhead bins offer a bin volume of 85.25 in² per seat, where as the 737-800, with 174 seats, with the new Sky Interior offers a bin volume of only 80.60 in² per seat.
In practical terms, the Boeing 737-800 Sky Interior accommodates 118 bags sized at the “standard” 22″ x 9″ x14″ , where as the older non-Sky Interior overhead bins can accommodate 114 bags of the same size.
The difference of four bags in the overhead bin may seem insignificant, unless you’re one of the last people boarding a plane.
By comparison however … the Airbus A320, with 164 seats, offers an overhead storage bins with a volume of 93.00 in² per seat.
For travelers the extra space, by volume, in the older Boeing 737 overhead bins and Airbus A320 bins, has some added advantages. When flying in the winter for example, there is more room to stuff your L.L. Bean Warden Parka over the bags in the overhead bins. For photographers that travel with a pouch-&-belt system there is less room to stuff your Think Tank Skin Kit over your bag. For business travelers that stuff their laptop in the exterior pocket of their expandable roll-aboard bag, there is less room to stuff your bag in the overhead.
So what does this mean for travelers? If you want to stuff more of your items in the overhead bin, look for an Airbus A320.
Below is a Boeing handout image of their new 737 Sky Interior bins and a photo of my Mountainsmith Correspondent bag in the overhead bin of an Airbus A320.