But a number of airlines are increasing the space above passengers' heads.
U.S. airlines United and Delta are the latest to replace or upgrade their overhead lockers to create more space and Boeing engineers are said to be designing interiors with bigger capacity in mind.
Fighting for room: It can be difficult to find space for your suitcases - especially one that's near your seat
UK airlines such as Virgin and British Airways say the issue doesn't affect them because they do not charge for checked in luggage.
But certainly in the U.S., passengers are bringing carry-on luggage in a bid to avoid paying what can be considered hefty fees for checked-in suitcases.
Carry-on luggage is therefore getting bigger and travellers are finding that they struggle to find somewhere to stow their possessions.
This means they may be asked to check bags at the gate - for which the airline can charge.
United Continental says the percentage of passengers bringing their bags on board has hit 87 per cent in recent years - and it is being stricter about the size and number of carry-on bags passengers bring.
Super-sizing: American Airlines, whose workers are shown above, is installing larger overhead lockers
‘The size of the carry-on has increased...they are stretching the limits of their bags,’ says Scott O'Leary, managing director of customer solutions at United Continental Holdings Inc.
While more room in a locker is a reason passengers may choose to travel with an airline, there are fears that it could encourage travellers to bring larger cases.
Flight attendant Tim Kirkwood, who asked that his airline not be identified, explained: ‘A bigger bin is good because at least more stuff will fit up there. But it just seems to encourage them to bring more stuff.’
Despite this, Boeing is designing its lockers to better fit the dimensions of today's carry-on cases.
‘We never used to talk about how many bags would fit. We talked about volume,’ says Boeing cabin expert Kent Craver.
For passengers, ‘it's whether or not my bag fits,’ he adds.
The 787-8 can accommodate 10 per cent more carry-on bags than the larger 777, despite the volume inside being equal.
The increase in space also means passengers are more likely to end up with their bag within reaching distance.