4th April 2023

Too much hand luggage

Initial Report

Flight was completely full, 3 cabin crew onboard, 1 was inexperienced. Flight was already circa 90 mins late.

Overhead lockers filled up very quickly, we made several PA’s to try and ensure customers stowed their bags as requested.

When last customer boarded, we still had about 5 cases to stow, so I asked one crew member (inexperienced crew) to go into the cabin and try to make space. No1 & No2 should remain at doors for door coverage. Ground staff stand at the door and wait for me to decide if we need offload bags or not. But I have to stay by the open door, so I have to try and guess from where I’m stood. If I say we need to keep the door open, but in the end we don’t need to offload any bags, then the delay comes down to me and I’ll be “managed” accordingly. So there is pressure from the company not to incur a delay. So I tell them to close the door.

At one point, all 3 of the crew were in the cabin trying to sort the hand luggage, so there would have been no door coverage at all.   We managed to stow all the cabin bags that were in the aisle. Once we push and complete the demo and start securing, we find another wheelie case that a customer was hiding behind their legs and 2 large back packs in the exit rows that customers had kept behind their legs. We added the wheelie to the wardrobe which was now completely full and we had to stuff the backpacks into the locker.


Company Comment

Boarding is a busy time for cabin crew and we understand the reporters’ concerns. Being proactive by monitoring overhead lockers, the organisation of them and regular communications using cabin announcements will help our customers make the best use of the approved stowage areas around them.  Cabin crew supervision of the cabin, as far as reasonably practicable and in line with our safety procedures should help direct our customers where to place larger and smaller items of carry-on luggage making use of the under seat stowage (approved rows) and correct placement in the overhead locker. As well as being present in the cabin, communication (face-to-face, interphone) is key between colleagues and customers, the SCCM is kept up to date in the event of baggage offload.  The SCCM should also inform the flight crew if they require their support if they are being pressurised by ground teams and a cabin safety report would need to be completed.   There has been an influx of cabin crew joining and whilst our flights are operated in accordance with the required crew levels including experience, newer, inexperienced crew will require support, coaching and on the job learning to build their knowledge and experience.  If the crew determine that they need to rearrange items in an overhead locker, please be mindful of manual handling if crew need to reorganise items in the overhead locker.  We encourage safety reporting to help us build a picture of the operational day to look for trends.

CAA Comment

Regulatory requirements stipulate that an operator shall establish procedures to ensure only hand baggage that can be adequately and securely stowed is taken into the passenger compartment. If excessive quantities of hand baggage are being taken into the aircraft cabin it suggests either the operator’s procedure is not effective or is not being followed. Cabin crew should not be pressured to close the aircraft doors until they are satisfied that all baggage can be properly stowed and will not requiring off-loading to the aircraft hold.

CHIRP Comment

Hand baggage issues vary massively between operator’s. Regarding this operator, CHIRP continues to receive reports that this is an ongoing issue, with one reporter claiming to have recently off-loaded 30 bags. Please continue to report these occasions internally for every sector that this continues to be an issue on, if you can and your operator has the process to receive photos, take photos of the excessive baggage, this might help the operator address potential safety concerns with the ground handling team.

CHIRP appreciates that sometimes it can feel as though you are not being listened to when you submit a safety report to your company, however this is not the case, reports must be received for operator’s to trend which routes specifically this is still an issue on, if crew stop reporting then there is the potential for an operator to conclude that this is no longer an issue.  We would encourage  you to seek feedback on an issue if you haven’t had a response, in line with your company safety reporting procedures. CHIRP recognise that there are commercial pressures for an on-time departure and that the crew can occasionally find themselves in an almost impossible situation; please communicate with the ground staff and the flight crew regarding the excess baggage to ensure that safety is not compromised.

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