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Mostly seated flight asked to disembark then re-board - How common?

Mostly seated flight asked to disembark then re-board - How common?

Old Dec 10, 19, 12:16 pm
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Mostly seated flight asked to disembark then re-board - How common?

Hello

Not really a complaint, maybe annoyance level of 3 on a 10 point scale, LOL. Mostly just curious if this is common, and why it might have happened.

Yesterday morning, AAL1915, CLT-> BOS, was nearly fully boarded, when something strange happened. The Flight Attendant announced that everyone needed to disembark the plane due to a seating issue. My initial thought was there might be a different issue and we were in for a long delay. However, 10 minutes after everyone was off, the announcements were made to start reboarding per group, etc. My boarding pass info had not changed, and I appeared to still have the same seat.

However, just as I reached the boarding scanner, the person in front of me, received an incorrect seat message and was asked to step aside. They then scanned my ticket, I also got an incorrect seat message. To make a long story short, this happened to several others behind me, all in group 2-4. This time, they began re-issuing seats on the fly, of course I lost my MCE and ended up in the back in an aisle(I survived).

The only information I was given, was by a very friendly Flight Attendant, who said there was an equipment change. However, I don't believe there was a change, even if there was, it was made before we initially boarded. I booked that flight a month ago, and picked that seat, which was still assigned when I got my boarding pass, the configuration seemed the same.

Do any of you experts have a guess what may have happened/

Thanks
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Old Dec 10, 19, 12:37 pm
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The flight appears to have run about 30 minutes late, overall. And it operated with an A321, which is what it was scheduled to have. If there was an equipment swap after everyone had to deplane and reboard, I would think the delay would be much more.

The notes in the flight record (obtained on ExpertFlyer) also don't note any maintenance or specific issues.

"3CLT/ETD0830 CSV-DELAY DURING CUSTOMER BOARDING *0705"

To answer the question in your title "How Common?"...its not very common at all. In the past 2 years of flying ~125K miles, it didn't happen at all to me.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 12:38 pm
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This is all they entered into Sabre:

CLT 800A C13 BOS 2 B19 1018A 1109A B19 CLT A6 140P 3CLT/ETD0830 CSV-DELAY DURING CUSTOMER BOARDING *0705 7CLT/AUTO REACCOM DLY FLT COMPLETED SEE N*P1AA1915CLT09DEC *0728*CRCYMG 4CLT/OUT0834 OFF0849 *0749 2BOS/IN1045 *0945 3BOS/ETD1131 AUT-SYSTEM GENERATED DELAY UPDATE *1031 4BOS/OUT1131 OFF1146 *1046 2CLT*/IN1404 *1304
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Old Dec 10, 19, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
The flight appears to have run about 30 minutes late, overall. And it operated with an A321, which is what it was scheduled to have. If there was an equipment swap after everyone had to deplane and reboard, I would think the delay would be much more.

The notes in the flight record (obtained on ExpertFlyer) also don't note any maintenance or specific issues.

"3CLT/ETD0830 CSV-DELAY DURING CUSTOMER BOARDING *0705"

To answer the question in your title "How Common?"...its not very common at all. In the past 2 years of flying ~125K miles, it didn't happen at all to me.
Thanks! Yes the delay was caused 100% by getting off the plane, and then back on. All was normal until then, glad it's uncommon.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 1:42 pm
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The only time I’ve seen anything similar to this is a deplaning to move to another gate and aircraft due to a Mx issue. I’ve never seen this seating issue in 34 years of constant flying.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 2:04 pm
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A few years ago when AA was refurbing the 763 cabins, we had to deplane after boarding started because half the business cabin had seats assigned from the old config and half had boarding passes from the new config.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
To answer the question in your title "How Common?"...its not very common at all. In the past 2 years of flying ~125K miles, it didn't happen at all to me.
Well, AA flew 282 billion seat miles last year on about 2.4 million flights, so your 125k annual miles aren't even a drop in a bucket...

One potential reason is there were some seat duplications perhaps due to an IT issue (perhaps related to an equipment swap) that they thought would be easier to sort out by getting everyone off and re-boarding.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 2:23 pm
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Were you possibly moved to/from a reconfigured 321 to a non-reconfigured 321 or to/from a LUS 321 to a LAA 321? Excluding the A321Ts, there are 3 different 321 configs flying: LAA, LUS-original, LUS-reconfigured. And, soon a 4th of LAA-reconfigured. Until the fleet is done (by 2021 I think), seat changes are going to be a potential issue during last minute equipment swaps.

And then of course the A321neos, but I'm not sure if those seat configs are the same as the reconfigured LUS aircraft.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 2:28 pm
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My first thought (although there's no evidence) was that the flight experienced a seating dispute between passengers or between a customer and an employee. Policy of some airlines now is to deplane everyone if a passenger must be removed from the flight.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
Were you possibly moved to/from a reconfigured 321 to a non-reconfigured 321 or to/from a LUS 321 to a LAA 321? Excluding the A321Ts, there are 3 different 321 configs flying: LAA, LUS-original, LUS-reconfigured. And, soon a 4th of LAA-reconfigured. Until the fleet is done (by 2021 I think), seat changes are going to be a potential issue during last minute equipment swaps.

And then of course the A321neos, but I'm not sure if those seat configs are the same as the reconfigured LUS aircraft.
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
My first thought (although there's no evidence) was that the flight experienced a seating dispute between passengers or between a customer and an employee. Policy of some airlines now is to deplane everyone if a passenger must be removed from the flight.
If there was a dispute, it was a very quiet dispute, nothing seemed to be going on.

The FA I spoke to, did say something about the NEO, that they thought they were going to have, but didn't in fact have. The part about this is, it seems that would have been handled prior to initial check in, not after boarding. I really don't think the FA knew for sure what happened, she said it was a first for her, in her 10 years with American. I have had seats changed in advance a few times because of equipment change, but that's usually days or even weeks in advance, definitely before boarding. It seemed too quick to be a maintenance issue.

In this case I booked my seat a month ago, nothing about it ever changed until re-boarded. And several of us lost our original seats.

After these comments, my guess is some sort of human error by the gate agent, or perhaps an IT issue, possibly both. Either way, I'll assume it's a one off.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 5:03 pm
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25 years/3M seat-miles, it never happened to me, but in 17+ years on FT, I have heard of it happening once or twice.

So I'd say not unprecedented, but quite rare.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 6:55 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
Were you possibly moved to/from a reconfigured 321 to a non-reconfigured 321 or to/from a LUS 321 to a LAA 321? Excluding the A321Ts, there are 3 different 321 configs flying: LAA, LUS-original, LUS-reconfigured. And, soon a 4th of LAA-reconfigured. Until the fleet is done (by 2021 I think), seat changes are going to be a potential issue during last minute equipment swaps.

And then of course the A321neos, but I'm not sure if those seat configs are the same as the reconfigured LUS aircraft.
Flightstats shows that the aircraft was briefly substituted at 7:31am and changed right back, presumably right after boarding commenced for an 8am flight. They both appear to be LUS planes configured as J16/Y171 as far as I can tell. Perhaps that was enough to cause a seating issue?

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Old Dec 10, 19, 6:59 pm
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An equally strange occurrence happened to me awhile back:
We were mostly boarded at DFW on a LUS 321 (this was around the time that the LUS crew and aircraft were separate from LAA but the LUS 321's were starting to creap on DFW routes) . This was a RON plane and apparently there is some sort of security sweep that's supposed to happen first thing in the morning for these aircraft. The pilot announced that this security sweep did not happen so everyone had to deboard in order for this task to be completed.... then we re-boarded.

The FA's were quite vocal that they couldn't believe this oversight could happen at DFW "isn't this our new headquarters?" quipped one of them
Whoops
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Old Dec 10, 19, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by flightrisk View Post
Flightstats shows that the aircraft was briefly substituted at 7:31am and changed right back, presumably right after boarding commenced for an 8am flight. They both appear to be LUS planes configured as J16/Y171 as far as I can tell. Perhaps that was enough to cause a seating issue?

Very interesting, makes me feel even more confident in the human error theory.

FWIW, I asked AAL for an explanation. They generously gave me 5000 miles(which I did not expect, the flight was only $300), but stated they could not determine the cause.
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Old Dec 10, 19, 7:16 pm
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The underlying issue -- rearranging a few seats -- probably is fairly frequent. Expanding the "Dr. Dao approach" to this issue is probably relatively new.

Imagine ordering 5 people in MCE to go sit in steerage and you can likely figure out why it is faster, more efficient, and less brand-damaging to simply reboard.
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