Airliner - Baggage Holds - Wide-body Airliners

Wide-body Airliners

"Wide-body" airliners frequently have a compartment like the ones described above, typically called a "bulk bin". It is normally used for late arriving luggage or bags which may have been checked at the gate.

However, most baggage and loose freight items are loaded into containers called Unit Load Devices (ULDs), often referred to as "cans". ULDs come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the most common model is the LD3. This particular container has approximately the same height as the cargo compartment and fits across half of its width.

ULDs are loaded with baggage and are transported to the aircraft on dolly carts and loaded into the baggage hold by a loader designed for the task. By means of belts and rollers an operator can maneuver the ULD from the dolly cart, up to the aircraft baggage hold door, and into the aircraft. Inside the hold, the floor is also equipped with drive wheels and rollers that an operator inside can use to move the ULD properly into place. Locks in the floor are used to hold the ULD in place during flight.

For consolidated freight loads, like a pallet of boxes or an item too oddly shaped to fit into a container, flat metal pallets that resemble large baking sheets that are compatible with the loading equipment are used.

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