Air France is to install new overhead lockers with 60% more luggage space in two models of its fleet, in a bid to speed up passenger boarding and baggage reclaim.
The new lockers will be installed in around 50 planes, of the models Airbus A320 and A321. Manufactured by aircraft equipment and technology group Safran, they are dubbed “new generation ECOS baggage management system” lockers.
The new design (pictured below) is taller and enables bags to be stored “upright” on their sides, with any wheels towards the back.
This means that there will be 60% more room, with much greater capacity for “cabin-style” bags particularly (suitcases with wheels and a pull-out handle that are often the maximum size allowed as “carry on” luggage).
For the A320, the new lockers will have capacity for 166 bags (when stowed correctly), versus 104 in the old space. The new A321 lockers will fit 192 bags, compared to the previous 113.
This puts the capacity of the lockers much closer to the number of passengers on board, which can number 165-174, depending on the plane.
The new lockers are designed to enable more passengers to use “carry on” luggage, speed up stowage, avoid passengers from rushing to fit their bags upon boarding, and ensure that fewer cabin bags are required to go into the hold due to eventual lack of space.
The new lockers will also feature sliding doors, in contrast to the usual models, which open out into passengers’ head room. This feature also aims to make loading faster and easier.
It is also expected that an easier boarding experience will encourage more passengers to bring cabin baggage only, reducing waiting times and delays at luggage belts for those who do have checked-in luggage.
Catherine Villar, client experience director at Air France, said: “Air France will be the first company to offer these innovative baggage lockers. They will allow us to respond to strong demand from clients who want to travel with only cabin baggage, to save time during their trips.
“Boarding will be easier and quicker, as much as for passengers as for crew. This will represent a significant gain in terms of comfort and operational efficiency.”