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SD: "We're not taking off until 14 pax relocate to the back" of an A321!

SD: "We're not taking off until 14 pax relocate to the back" of an A321!

Old Apr 4, 18, 11:23 am
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SD: "We're not taking off until 14 pax relocate to the back" of an A321!

After boarding was complete on AC110 yesterday, Service Director gets on the blower and announces that we have an imbalance. We won't depart until 14 pax volunteer to relocate to the back third of the aircraft.

I've seen pax reseating for weight and balance on commuter aircraft, but never on a jet as big as an A321. It took 15 minutes, and two waves of volunteer recruitment, to sort out the reseating. The only incentive to move, as far as I could tell, was that we would take off once enough pax volunteered to sit in the back. Otherwise we were going nowhere fast!

Is this a common practice on Air Canada? I've never run into it, but I only fly about 25% of my miles on AC, mostly intercontinental.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
After boarding was complete on AC110 yesterday, Service Director gets on the blower and announces that we have an imbalance. We won't depart until 14 pax volunteer to relocate to the back third of the aircraft.

I've seen pax reseating for weight and balance on commuter aircraft, but never on a jet as big as an A321. It took 15 minutes, and two waves of volunteer recruitment, to sort out the reseating. The only incentive to move, as far as I could tell, was that we would take off once enough pax volunteered to sit in the back. Otherwise we were going nowhere fast!

Is this a common practice on Air Canada? I've never run into it, but I only fly about 25% of my miles on AC, mostly intercontinental.
I don't know much about different types, but I'd think weights and balances issues could exist on any size of aircraft specifically on rotation? Doesn't the Airbus come with some weight sensors, thus making this calculation more seamless?

Seems unlikely an FA/SD would waste time with shuffling Y pax around unless it was legit, and the concern doesn't seem airline specific.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
After boarding was complete on AC110 yesterday, Service Director gets on the blower and announces that we have an imbalance. We won't depart until 14 pax volunteer to relocate to the back third of the aircraft.

I've seen pax reseating for weight and balance on commuter aircraft, but never on a jet as big as an A321. It took 15 minutes, and two waves of volunteer recruitment, to sort out the reseating. The only incentive to move, as far as I could tell, was that we would take off once enough pax volunteered to sit in the back. Otherwise we were going nowhere fast!

Is this a common practice on Air Canada? I've never run into it, but I only fly about 25% of my miles on AC, mostly intercontinental.
There is a late evening Alaska 737-800 from Seattle to Vancouver. Every time I have been on that flight, it has been lightly loaded, seat assignments were enforced and checked for weight balance. So AC is not the only one with these types of problems on mid-sized jets.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 11:32 am
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Question it worked

The flight operated o/t yesterday i.e. it worked, and did not affect on time performance.
I am surprised the flight was not cancelled if it was that empty?
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Old Apr 4, 18, 12:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
The flight operated o/t yesterday i.e. it worked, and did not affect on time performance.
I am surprised the flight was not cancelled if it was that empty?
Yes - it worked. And the flight was at least 70% occupied. But all the pax had reserved their seats toward the front, and the last 10 or so rows were almost empty after boarding. SD said that A321 was very sensitive to balance issues, but I must have flown on this type 40-50 times in the past decade, and this was the first experience with such a rebalancing.

What happens to pax who paid for a seat in a "better" place, or a "better" seat as I did, who get relocated due to W&B?
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Old Apr 4, 18, 12:38 pm
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I've only seen this once. Several pax were asked to relocate for takeoff and were allowed to return to their seats after the seat belt sign was turned off. But, yes, the location of the aircraft's centre of gravity matters.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:09 pm
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I remember having to do this once on an Airbus 340-300 on AC's YVR-YYZ route back in the days.....

Also back in the days when seats were so empty you can grab a row of 4 for yourself.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:14 pm
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More of an Embraer thing where Customers are asked to move from back to front. Did however experience this on the A321 last week (first time) on a very light load during the holidays ex Florida. Had to relocate 9 Customers who were sitting on top of each from Zone B to Zone C with the guarantee of a full row for each. It was like pulling teeth.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:20 pm
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This happened on our CUN-YHZ flight a couple weeks ago, also on an A321. They didn't ask for volunteers, but simply told the passengers in rows 18-20 to move to the back. I guess they just needed to move the CG back for takeoff, since they were allowed to return after we reached cruise altitude.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by karlpenney View Post
This happened on our CUN-YHZ flight a couple weeks ago, also on an A321. They didn't ask for volunteers, but simply told the passengers in rows 18-20 to move to the back. I guess they just needed to move the CG back for takeoff, since they were allowed to return after we reached cruise altitude.
On larger jets itís normally only a takeoff issue. Once in the air, the airplane is trimmed accordingly.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
On larger jets it’s normally only a takeoff issue. Once in the air, the airplane is trimmed accordingly.
Yeah they can even move fuel around, but that takes time, and its much easier to move people. Better that than to suffer a tailstrike which is probably why the 321 and stretched 737s are particularly sensitive. And probably the CS300 stretch as well.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
Is this a common practice on Air Canada?
Happened to me on March 21st on AC 129 (321: YYZ-YVR) - The flight was pretty empty. Not only did they move people to the back, they reopened the hatches and moved cargo around.

Delayed us about 25 minutes - Meant I wasn't in my bed in Vancouver until after 2am.

I was seated towards the back and I don't remember any stern announcements - Just pax that started to arrive down at our end of the plane, with instructions from the crew to 'sit anywhere.' Meant I lost my row to myself as I foolishly failed to move from window to aisle to block it up.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 1:40 pm
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Several years ago I had this on the CRJ100/200 on a YWG to YXE flight. Pilot was part of the way down the runway aborted takeoff and went on to the taxi way. We were advised that it a weight problem, apparently a combination of how men/women were distributed in the cabin, very light fuel load for the short flight and cargo.

As for cancelling flights, I think it unlikely since they need the aircraft at the other end to run another flight. My lightest load was a Dash-8 (don't remember if it was the 35 seat or 50 seat version) from Montreal to Quebec city. I was traveling with a coworker, the two of us were the only passengers on the flight. I was a Elite and he was not. At the gate, the agent just called us up by name. She said, something about boarding by priority not being as meaningful with us, in flight crew walked us onto the aircraft. We were permitted to sit anywhere.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 2:05 pm
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I'd always assumed..probably incorrectly...that part of airline logistics has influence on how seats are open, sold, and available on a flight for this very reason. I thought they tended to both open up selection from say, the back first and halt the front when the forward seats were getting full, and that they encouraged the GA's to start filling special requests and standbys from the back forward. Guess I was wrong.

I can see how this would happen on a carrier with open seating like WN, or on a smaller jet where it matters more and two empty seats in the rear can significantly upset the weight and balance..but on an a321, on a mainline like AC, it is surprising. I Suppose it is a combination of unique factors..light load to start, lots of no shows who were assigned to aft seats, light cargo..
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Old Apr 4, 18, 2:09 pm
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Last edited by Proudelitist; Apr 4, 18 at 2:10 pm Reason: Duplicate
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