I think that locking the bins, while an imperfect solution, makes the most sense. If it was loudly and clearly announced on placards and in preflight safety videos, and if the word got out through the news and social media after locks were implimented, it would become part of the public's expectation of what to do on a plane, such as 'no smoking'/'fasten seatbelts'/phones to airplane mode'. Also, if could solve the smaller problem of people sometimes jumping up to get their luggage as soon as the plane lands
First off what happens if there is structural damage resulting in overhead bins becoming an impediment to an evacuation? Every door or latch on an airplane can be opened at the mechanism except the flight deck door. It is not safe to have control of any locking mechanism far away from the unit itself. There would have to be an override, which if someone really wants to open a bin, will figure it out.
Huh? You mean if the bins as a unit collapse, blocking the exit? Can't they do that already? Maybe I just don't understand you but I don't see this impeding people's exit in any situation.
Second of all, if passengers try to pry bins open, it could slow down an evacuation even more. It would be bad for passengers to be standing in the aisles.
That might be a concern, but if there's a placard that says the bin is locked, and if passengers know that the bins will locked, I can't see why they'd try to pry them open anyway. Also, after a few seconds of prying I'd imagine that they'd give in to the pushing and yelling of passengers behind them. People yell and push now, but it's easier to push someone along if they aren't in the process of taking down a piece of luggage.
Third of all, there is safety equipment in some bins. A locking mechanism is going to be complicated.
I thought that safety equipment is usually in smaller bins close to F/A stations. Even if the equipment is usually put in normal luggage bin, it should be fairly easy to ad dividers and new doors to separate one existing large bin into two- one for luggage and a smaller safety equipment bin.
Fourth of all, locked bins is going to add weight. A central system with individual motors would be heavy. Airlines would protest. This would also cause maintenance problems. Broken latches is a frequent cause of short flight delays.
This is the most important concern. However, with modern composites and electronics it should be easy to make a relatively light system of individual latches wirelessly connected to a central locking panel.[/quote]
Barring this solution, I wonder if evacuation trials should be adjusted to assume that there will be people who block the aisles, hesitate at the doors, or do not move as fast. Maybe they can use data from actual crashes to find out somehow how many people on average choose to collect bags, and then direct a certain number of volunteers to hesitate in the aisles.