Pre-checking flight load

Old Jun 5, 17, 12:38 pm
  #1  
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Pre-checking flight load

How many of you know when you get on the plane how full the plane will be? Not that it makes any difference to know it, but I like to know ahead of time if it's completely full or fairly empty. Most times, you can tell by looking around the gate area, but not always.
I usually go take a ;look at the computer screen where the GA usually scans BPs. When he or she opens the door and walks down the jetway, that's a good time to saunter over and see how many BPs have been issued, how many throughs there are, and do the math.

Again, not that it makes any difference, but it's good to know.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 12:41 pm
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Don't know because it is what it is.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 12:50 pm
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nsx
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Originally Posted by doctall41 View Post
HI usually go take a ;look at the computer screen where the GA usually scans BPs. When he or she opens the door and walks down the jetway, that's a good time to saunter over and see how many BPs have been issued, how many throughs there are, and do the math.
I have not figured out how to do this with the new screen and its tiny font.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 1:20 pm
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I usually just ask the GA when I get there. They will usually tell me the exact number of empty seats sometime they will say something vague or approximate.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by doctall41 View Post
How many of you know when you get on the plane how full the plane will be?
Fly mostly Intra-California as I do, and you don't need to ask as ~95% of the time the answer will be "completely full", no matter if it's the first flight, the last flight, middle of the day in the middle of the week, be it ONT to OAK or SFO to SNA or SJC to BUR. etc., etc. WN's big Cali push is working very well, but the high loads mean we won't see "cheap" flights anytime soon.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I have not figured out how to do this with the new screen and its tiny font.
This - but I did see a different screen where the W&B is calculated and you can tell how many bags are on the plane, which is usually a good indicator.

For me, I've cracked the code, kind of. I used to have an employee go on the non-rev site, but now I can figure it out based on boarding number/time of day/destination etc... I've been pretty successful with this strategy.

I check in at T-24 exactly. If I get A15-30, the flight is empty. If I get A31-60, the flight is more than 50% full. If I get B1-30, the flight is 75% full with a lot of families/EBCI/A-List or 95% full in general. If I get B31 or higher, I can forget any hope of a middle seat open! It is a little harder to guess on connections. Note how I had the same number for FLL-TPA and TPA-BDL. Given it was a 738 vs 737, and the actual PAX count was roughly the same, with some people's connecting flights leaving earlier, they get better boarding numbers. on TPA-BDL, I was in line next to a lady from AUS. That flight is an hour longer, so she checked in an hour before me (assuming it was at T-24) and got the better number. Also, note below that I did not fly any thru flights, so this made my strategy easier to calculate. If you are flying, for example, STL-FLL, and there is a group of 20-30 that originated in OMA on the same flight, the count will be off!

This year, I've used this strategy on 6 flights:

First flight BDL-BWI I was way off and was 99% full, but they had a cancellation earlier in the day and delays compounded the situation, I had a high A but don't remember the exact number. (No Thru)
BWI-FLL had a load of about 19% and I had A30. (No Thru)
FLL-BDL had a load of 95% with myself at B3 (no Business Select though) (No Thru)
BDL-FLL had a load of 82% with myself having A50 (No Thru)
FLL-TPA had a load of 58% with myself having A47 (No Thru)
TPA-BDL had a load of 76% with myself having A47 (No Thru)
NOTE: Guessing the load % based on actual observations and listening to the flight attendant chatter.
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Old Jun 23, 17, 10:50 pm
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What benefit is there to knowing the load if you're already confirmed on the flight?
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Old Jun 24, 17, 1:25 am
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Originally Posted by TravelerMSY View Post
What benefit is there to knowing the load if you're already confirmed on the flight?
IME, if I know the load, it might affect my strategy of where I choose a seat to try to get an empty middle (or how affect far back I should sit if I'm flying with a companion who's not A-list). I'm not terribly picky with seats though, so not a big deal if I know the load or not (though I did like to peek at the screens before the IT switchover, since the load numbers were pretty easy to read)
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Old Jun 24, 17, 11:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ryw View Post
IME, if I know the load, it might affect my strategy of where I choose a seat to try to get an empty middle (or how affect far back I should sit if I'm flying with a companion who's not A-list). I'm not terribly picky with seats though, so not a big deal if I know the load or not (though I did like to peek at the screens before the IT switchover, since the load numbers were pretty easy to read)
I just ask at the gate.
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Old Jun 26, 17, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by ryw View Post
IME, if I know the load, it might affect my strategy of where I choose a seat to try to get an empty middle (or how affect far back I should sit if I'm flying with a companion who's not A-list). I'm not terribly picky with seats though, so not a big deal if I know the load or not (though I did like to peek at the screens before the IT switchover, since the load numbers were pretty easy to read)
Bingo- if the flight is booked to 30-40, you can pretty much grab any open row and have it to yourself, since there's not much penalty for those boarding after re: sitting in the back on such an empty flight. If it has 10-20 ish open seats, then you need to be much more strategic about where you sit to maximize the chance of an empty middle.
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Old Jun 26, 17, 12:46 pm
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So is there a way to precheck the load? I've been asking the gate agents but would prefer to do it on my own
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Old Jun 26, 17, 12:58 pm
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It used to be simple glance on the boarding screen to see the BP's issued & the thru count, then apply mathematics. Reports say after the conversion its much harder to read or find although I haven't seen it personally. As A01 often in the past, I had it down pat...

Last edited by joshua362; Jun 26, 17 at 1:25 pm Reason: typo
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Old Jun 26, 17, 1:11 pm
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nsx
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Originally Posted by joshua362 View Post
Reports say after the conversion its much harder to read
I'd say impossible to read.
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Old Jun 26, 17, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I'd say impossible to read.
From what I can tell, you can see the number of bags/cargo. That makes it somewhat easier to deduce the amount of people on board, but it is nowhere near perfect...and it's also in a separate screen, so not the main boarding screen. Very hard to figure out, regardless.
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