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Old Mar 3, 14, 9:19 pm   -   Wikipost
FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Best MCE / Main Cabin Extra / Exit / Blocked Seats on 738 / 737-800 (consolidated)
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This thread was previously dedicated to discussing the permanent blocking of the centre seats in rows 16 and 17 on 737-823 aircraft that have been fitted with MCE, and has now been repurposed to include all seating strategies on MCE-equipped 738s. As MCE phases in, 738s will exist with the following configurations:

  • Economy from row 8-30: This configuration features MCE from rows 8-13, exit rows are 14 and 15, and the centre seats in rows 16 and 17 have been taken permanently out of use through the installation of a tray table across the armrest (similar to short-haul business class offered by many European airlines). Note that these rows without centre seats do not offer more legroom or width and are not MCE seats.
  • Economy from rows 7-30: This configuration does not have MCE, though it does have the updated cabin, LCD IFE and articulating seats in first and economy.
  • Economy from rows 7-28: This configuration does not have MCE, and features CRT-based IFE, no articulating seats in economy and first class seats similar to those used on the MD-80.

The general thread discussing MCE rollout and eligibility can be found here.


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Old Oct 29, 12, 9:11 pm   #1
 
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Best MCE / Main Cabin Extra / Exit / Blocked Seats on 738 / 737-800 (consolidated)

Was on AA #1514 DFW-FLL today and noticed that the middle seats in row 17 were blocked off with a console.

Asked an FA about it while getting off the plane and she said that they had blocked off middle seats in some other rows also. She said it was a staffing issue, reduced the capacity on the 757 aircraft so that they could fly with one less FA. I think the FAA rule is one FA/50 PAX.

This is a good alternative if you can't snag an exit row. Is this something that will eventually happen on all smaller 757's? Also, does anyone know if you can determine in advance if your aircraft has been reconfigured?

I did notice when printing my boarding pass 4-5 hours before departure that I was unable to access the set map.

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 30, 12 at 1:23 pm.. Reason: retitle thread - preserve OP title
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Old Oct 29, 12, 9:14 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by dfwdal View Post
This is a good alternative if you can't snag an exit row. Is this something that will eventually happen on all smaller 757's? Also, does anyone know if you can determine in advance if your aircraft has been reconfigured?
Maybe it's the first step toward an "intra-Europe J" product
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Old Oct 29, 12, 9:27 pm   #3
 
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I think the AA 757s have 182/188 seats. So if the 50 pax/FA rule is true (I have no idea) wouldn't that mean they would need to block more than 30 seats? That seems like a whole lot just to save one FA. Although if there were very low loads, I suppose it could make sense.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 8:14 am   #4
 
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AA has stored some 752s, including aircraft that are only 20 years old. The 738 is cheaper to operate. Unless the pax demand on a route is consistently more than a 738 can handle or the flight is longer than a 738 can handle (which implies that the fuel burn for a long, thin flight is justified financially), the 738 is a better choice. Blocking seats in a 752 is just a short-term workaround.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 8:49 am   #5
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What's a "smaller" 757? All of AA's 757s, are, iirc, 757-223s.

The "fix" allows them to fly thinner routes - or those with higher value and substantial cargo - with at least one fewer FA, and perhaps also lays out some weight and balance solutions before there is a problem. They must also have those seats blocked for assignment.
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Last edited by JDiver; Oct 30, 12 at 9:16 am.. Reason: add cargo
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Old Oct 30, 12, 9:09 am   #6
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Originally Posted by will2288 View Post
I think the AA 757s have 182/188 seats. So if the 50 pax/FA rule is true (I have no idea) wouldn't that mean they would need to block more than 30 seats? That seems like a whole lot just to save one FA. Although if there were very low loads, I suppose it could make sense.
Correct. I can't see a savings from having a mechanic install, then remove, 30+ seat blockers to save the costs of an FA. If AA is routinely flying 757s with 30-seats blocked off it had better see outstanding yields on those routes (which must demand the takeoff/range capabilities of a 757 or they'd use a 738).
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Old Oct 30, 12, 9:33 am   #7
 
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Is it possible it was related to FA's not being able to get to work because of Sandy, and the decision was to block the seats and fly rather than cancel because of FA unavailability?

Just a thought since I've never heard of it before.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 10:48 am   #8
 
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Would they need to physically block the seats if the goal is FA staffing, or could they just limit the # of pax onboard?

If you have 150 pax (needing 3 FA) and 180 seats (but did not sell/use the remaining 30), is that OK in the eyes of the FAA, or would they have to be unusable seats?
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Old Oct 30, 12, 10:52 am   #9
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Originally Posted by bchandler02 View Post
Would they need to physically block the seats if the goal is FA staffing, or could they just limit the # of pax onboard?

If you have 150 pax (needing 3 FA) and 180 seats (but did not sell/use the remaining 30), is that OK in the eyes of the FAA, or would they have to be unusable seats?
The seats must be unusable. If a plane has 300 usable seats, it must feature at least six FAs whether the passenger count is one or 300.

The OP mentions "several" blocked seats yet as others mentioned, more than 30 would have to be blocked in order to fly with just three FAs, which makes me skeptical of the FA's explanation to the OP.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:13 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by dfwdal View Post
Was on AA #1514 DFW-FLL today and noticed that the middle seats in row 17 were blocked off with a console.
Flight 1514 on October 29, 2012, was operated with a 737-800 aircraft.

On MCE converted 738s four middle seats are permanently blocked to bring the capacity down to 150 which would reduce the minimum staffing of that type to 3 (if the FAA goes along with the seat blocking scheme).
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:20 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchandler02 View Post
Would they need to physically block the seats if the goal is FA staffing, or could they just limit the # of pax onboard?

If you have 150 pax (needing 3 FA) and 180 seats (but did not sell/use the remaining 30), is that OK in the eyes of the FAA, or would they have to be unusable seats?
They must be blocked, but it's not exclusively an FAA rule in that LH physically blocks a few seats on some intraEU routes in order to fly with fewer FAs.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:24 pm   #12
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Have a look at AA60 the 19:25 Departure from DFW-MIA today (30 Oct). It clearly shows 16 B & E and 17 B & E missing.

It's a MCE configured 738
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:34 pm   #13
 
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For those wondering how they are blocked on a 738
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:44 pm   #14
 
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14 cfr § 121.391

Just for reference!

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...13.2.6&idno=14

Quote:
14 CFR § 121.391 Flight attendants.
(a) Except as specified in § 121.393 and § 121.394, each certificate holder must provide at least the following flight attendants on board each passenger-carrying airplane when passengers are on board:

(1) For airplanes having a maximum payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds and having a seating capacity of more than 9 but less than 51 passengers—one flight attendant.

(2) For airplanes having a maximum payload capacity of 7,500 pounds or less and having a seating capacity of more than 19 but less than 51 passengers—one flight attendant.

(3) For airplanes having a seating capacity of more than 50 but less than 101 passengers—two flight attendants.

(4) For airplanes having a seating capacity of more than 100 passengers—two flight attendants plus one additional flight attendant for each unit (or part of a unit) of 50 passenger seats above a seating capacity of 100 passengers.

(b) If, in conducting the emergency evacuation demonstration required under § 121.291 (a) or (b), the certificate holder used more flight attendants than is required under paragraph (a) of this section for the maximum seating capacity of the airplane used in the demonstration, he may not, thereafter, take off that airplane—

(1) In its maximum seating capacity configuration with fewer flight attendants than the number used during the emergency evacuation demonstration; or

(2) In any reduced seating capacity configuration with fewer flight attendants than the number required by paragraph (a) of this section for that seating capacity plus the number of flight attendants used during the emergency evacuation demonstration that were in excess of those required under paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) The number of flight attendants approved under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are set forth in the certificate holder's operations specifications.

(d) During takeoff and landing, flight attendants required by this section shall be located as near as practicable to required floor level exists and shall be uniformly distributed throughout the airplane in order to provide the most effective egress of passengers in event of an emergency evacuation. During taxi, flight attendants required by this section must remain at their duty stations with safety belts and shoulder harnesses fastened except to perform duties related to the safety of the airplane and its occupants.
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Old Oct 30, 12, 12:48 pm   #15
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It's clear the OP incorrectly listed the flight as being operated by a 757 when it was really a 738 with the MCE Configuration. (http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL1514)

Apparently AA has opted to block 4 additional seats on these aircraft to bring the available seating down to 150 - which only requires 3 FAs.

The thread title is not correct.
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