Baggage holds

Airliners must have space on board to store baggage that will not safely fit in the passenger cabin. Designed to hold baggage as well as freight, these compartments are called "cargo bins", "holds", or occasionally "pits". Occasionally baggage holds may be referred to as cargo decks on the largest of aircraft. These compartments can be accessed through doors on the outside of the aircraft. Despite what is seen in many movies, access doors between passenger cabins and baggage holds are rare in modern airliners. Depending on the aircraft, baggage holds are normally inside the hull and are therefore pressurized just like the passenger cabin although they may not be heated. While lighting is normally installed for use by the loading crew, typically the compartment is unlit when the door is closed. Baggage holds on modern airliners are equipped with fire detection equipment and larger aircraft have automated or remotely activated fire-fighting devices installed. Narrow-body airliners Most "narrow-body" airliners with more than 100 seats have space below the cabin floor, while smaller aircraft often have a special compartment separate from the passenger area but on the same level. Baggage is normally stacked within the bin by hand, sorted by destination category. Netting that fits across the width of the bin is secured to limit movement of the bags. Airliners often carry items of freight and mail. These may be loaded separately

rom the baggage or mixed in if they are bound for the same destination. For securing bulky items "hold down" rings are provided to tie items into place. [edit]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.