Viscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 23165 posts, RR: 23 Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1935 times:
Quoting CallBell (Thread starter): Does anyone know why this 747 seems to have Door 3R blocked off? If it did, was there a seating capacity limit on this aircraft?
That aircraft was leased from BA. A few 741/742/743 operators including BA, KL and CX (they were possibly the only ones, not sure) had the overwing #3 door exits deactivated sometime in the early 1980s or thereabouts. In the cabin they were panelled over with standard wall panels and several additional rows of seats were installed in those areas, although some lacked windows. I recally flying on BA and KL 747s after those exits had been sealed off.
While the change apparently met certification requirements for evacuation, it was controversial among air safety experts since it obviously meant a much longer distance to the nearest exit for quite a few passengers, especially when combined with the increased number of seats.
Photos below of BA/KL/CX aircraft after the #3 exits were deactivated and the door outlines deleted.