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Payload Optimized [The Definitive Thread]

Payload Optimized [The Definitive Thread]

Old Sep 7, 10, 2:20 pm
  #1  
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Payload Optimization Flight

Last evening I was waiting in ATL in the "A" concourse for my delayed DCA flight when I heard an agent at a nearby gate make this announcement:
"This flight to Houston is a designated Payload Optimization Flight. There are empty seats. We have standbys. We are waiting word from operations headquarters on whether we will be allowed to board any standbys."
I have never heard this phrase before. Is it a blip? Or might we be hearing more of this in the future?
ATL to IAH is not very far so I don't think having enough fuel should have been a problem. In about fifteen minutes, the answer came back, "yes". They were told they could board the standbys.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 2:33 pm
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I haven't heard the phrase from Delta, but yes, I have seen standbys on flights with empty seats where one couldn't be immediately confirmed due to flight weight restrictions. Commuter jets, short runways with unusually hot weather... this stuff happens.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 2:49 pm
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Perhaps something related to a heavy cargo load. I have seen Hawaii inter-island aircraft take cargo rather than passengers on some flights. Ditto for some Caribbean aircraft.

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Old Sep 7, 10, 3:20 pm
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a strange announcement, probably not something that needs to be broadcast all over the area. Was it the M88? A strange thing thats for sure, as I can't imagine that they would have a payload limitation on the route given the nature of the route and hard to imagine that they would have such a large shipment of cargo moving.

Maybe a maintenance problem that limited the payload.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 3:25 pm
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Found this on another board:
"A Delta flight gets designated 'Payload Optimized' on the flight plan when either revenue pax or cargo will be left behind or the flight is planned to be within 500 lbs of MTOW/RATOW. The payload optimization program automatically sets in motion a number of items. Dispatch reviews the entire fuel load, the Load planners eliminate any tolerance, rampers use actual bin weights and gate agents use child weights. The clearing of non-revs is taken away from the gate agents and given to the load planners to determine if any wiggle room remains. Many of the things you might do to squeeze some extra pounds are done as soon as the flight is designated 'payload optimized'."
Seems odd this would be an issue on ATL-IAH.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 3:28 pm
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The Payload Optimization program has been in effect at Delta for several years (2007). It essentially looks at current and historical load information and compares them with actual limitation weights for the given aircraft for the conditions on that day. There are a number of weight limits on an aircraft that have to be considered in performance planning: Things like 'Placard' weights including max taxi weight, max takeoff weight, and max landing weight (this is the one that generally gets short domestic flights where weather requires alternate fuel to be carried). There are also performance based weights like the Runway Allowable weight and Climb Limit Weight (these are the ones that often get Interantional flights particulalrly on hot days with high altitude airports or short runways).

In any event, if the Payload Optimization program sees that todays load is within a certain window near a limit weight, a number of different departments are notified that that flight is being payload optimized. As the Captain, I get a big note on my flight plan. The Gate Agent is alerted via a message on their screen. In general, this program should be transparent to revenue paying Pax and there's really no need to discuss what happens behind the scenes. However, one restriction on the GAs is that they can't load any non-revs without specific authorization. I would not normally expect a Gate Agent to use the phrase in a PA announcement (though I don't know of any restriction against doing so), but it does let any nonrevs in the gate area know the reason that they aren't being cleared at that time even if the screens show open seats. The problem is that outside of Pilots and Gate agents, many nonrevs (particularly buddy passes, parents, and dependents, and employees form other departments) would have no idea what Payload Optimized means. In the end, the 'non-rev' portion of the program attempts to avoid loading a nonrev on a weight critical flight only to have the Agent come on the plane to pull the nonrev and make them perform the 'Walk of Shame'.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by meh130 View Post
Seems odd this would be an issue on ATL-IAH.
Considering there's a tropical storm in the region, there has to be enough fuel to reach two diversion airports even after flying around projected weather.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 6:02 pm
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Sometimes known as "Weight Critical"
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Old Sep 7, 10, 7:19 pm
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My brother spent a year flying Beechcraft Islanders (10 pax) for South Pacific Island Airways out of Pago Pago. He'd often have to freeze it at seven pax, (a 70% load factor?) and still just barely get off the ground. But then Samoans can be large, and often they'd carry a LOT of luggage.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 8:27 pm
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Was this a flight to IAH or HOU? If the latter, I could totally see this on one of the CR9s that flies the route, especially with the tropical storm.
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Old Sep 7, 10, 8:35 pm
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My guess is there is valuable cargo that had to go.

The first Southwest flight of the day (737) MSY-BWI typically flies with 75 pax max as the cargo is full of seafood (Crabs).
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Old Mar 15, 16, 9:38 am
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Payload Optimized [The Definitive Thread]

Currently on DL1059 SLC-BOS. The GA just made an announcement about that the flight is "payload optimized". They can't gate check any items so they keep on making the announcement. Delta, that is why you shouldn't fly a horrible A320 on the route.
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Old Mar 15, 16, 10:06 am
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Haven't seen many Domestic Flights referred to as "Payload Optimized" before. This is common on ultra long haul international (JNB, SYD, formerly DXB) and can be a reason why the flights commonly go out with seats to spare (can have a significant impact to Non-Revs). My guess is it was critical some out of the ordinary cargo was needed to be carried on this route.
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Old Mar 15, 16, 10:17 am
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Now we're sitting on the taxiway waiting for the winds to die down. Now I'm starting to be worried about a possible diversion to get fuel.
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Old Mar 15, 16, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by BostonPlanesAndTrains View Post
Currently on DL1059 SLC-BOS. The GA just made an announcement about that the flight is "payload optimized". They can't gate check any items so they keep on making the announcement. Delta, that is why you shouldn't fly a horrible A320 on the route.
Okay, they can not gate check, which would also mean you can not carry it on.

What happens then? Pretty sure nobody is going to just leave their roll aboard at the counter and hope it gets there someday.
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