By Andrea Romano
May 23, 2017

The battle between your legroom and your carry-on is over.

For years, passengers on planes have had to grapple not only with tight overhead compartments, but also with shoving their carry-ons below the seats in front of them: sacrificing precious foot space.

Now, a group of students from the University of Hong Kong have come up with a clever solution that would free up some leg room without having passengers give up their carry-ons.

The concept for their invention, a pop-up compartment that stows under airline seats and serves as a personal storage hold, won a contest held by aircraft manufacturer Airbus, and it could — maybe, possibly — end up on planes around the world.

The Fly Your Ideas contest, held in Toulouse, France, awarded the students the €30,000 first prize for their innovative concept. According to Airbus, “The judges were impressed by the vision and skill of [the students] in seeing such a simple but effective solution for improved passenger experience. The new aircraft cabin design fully utilizes the space between the cabin floor and the cargo ceiling to give the passengers their own personal luggage space.”


More than 5,500 students, and a total of 365 entries, registered in the Fly Your Ideas competition for 2017. Since the program launched in 2008, over 20,000 students from over 650 universities in over 100 countries worldwide have participated.

Hopefully soon, we’ll be seeing this ingenious invention on our flights. Our feet will be especially grateful.