mfamguy79
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:48 pm

No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:04 am

Hi All,

I was on a UA Express CRJ flight from LAX to SJC yesterday and the flight was quite empty. Maybe at the most 15 passengers. Before we began boarding the customer service agent made an announcement that she had to change all our seating because she stated that it was federal regulation to seat passengers after row 6 of the aircraft when it is empty. I had never heard of such a thing and wondered if this was true or was this a cover for something else? Anyone ever head of this? Just curious  Smile

~Naveen
Naveen
 
ssides
Posts: 3248
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 12:57 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:07 am

I've never seen it on an RJ, but several times on turboprops (SF3s and EMBs). Many times, when these flights go out half-empty, they need to balance the weight distribution out. Nothing too terribly unusual, but as I said, I would think jet aircraft would have enough power to avoid the problem.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
Bridogger6
Posts: 665
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:21 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:12 am

As gate agents, we've been asked to balance out the weight on our 733's before. Working a flight from PHX-OAK there were only 20 people on the plane and except for the first class passengers, weight and balance had called us to move all the people to row 15 or higher. Maybe it had something to do with how they placed the cargo.
 
Okie
Posts: 3555
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:30 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:14 am

I have never heard of such.
I have many times in the past seen passengers moved due to C/G issues. Generally the smaller the aircraft the more likely the move.
The ATR's seem to be especially susceptible to C/G issues with light loads because of the baggage hold is ahead of the wing.
I have not been on very many lightly loaded aircraft in the last couple of years though, airlines seem to be matching up aircraft size with passenger loads pretty well. The days of having a row of seats to yourself have long gone.

Okie
 
DouglasDC8
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:57 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:20 am

It's not a matter of having enough power, it's about keeping the aircraft's center of gravity (CG) within approved limits. Most newer aircraft don't have any CG challanges when they are empty. I do recall that the 727-222's I used to load plan were tail heavy when empty. The solution was to block passenger seating in the rear of the cabin, or if the aircraft had no passengers to move around, load some ballast fuel in the center fuel tank.

As for the agent's statement that "it's a federal regulation...", that shows that that agent didn't understand what the issue is. The airline may have a policy in effect to keep people behind row 6 when there are light loads. This would prevent departure delays caused by re-seating passengers after boarding. And it is a federal regulation that aircraft be operated within their approved CG envelope. So I guess the agent put the whole thing together in her mind that it was a federal regulation to have people seated in a particular manner.
 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:21 am

This happens from time to time, I have even seen it happen on a 767 on one occasion - once flew from Europe to the New York area on a 767 with only about 50 pax on board, 10 pax sat in J class and the Y class pax were not permitted to use the first 10 rows of the coach section until the airplane was at its initial cruising altitude.
 
lsgg
Posts: 542
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:48 pm

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:31 am

I remember that on a flight between LGW and GVA in a A319 Easyjet, the F/A told us to sit in the back of the a/c. It was full at 75%
I thought it was something with the weight, the a/c could take off easier...

[Edited 2005-08-17 21:33:32]
Swissair forever !
 
EZEIZA
Posts: 4421
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:09 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:42 am

it happened to me, but the other way round??
It was a fokker F-100 on Montenegro Airlines and there must have been around 25 pax, and we were not allowed to sit after x row. We were all sat upfront.
Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12424
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:03 am

On a AA flight on an ATR-42 from SJU to Br.Virgin Is., I was told to stay in my assigned seat until reached crusing altitude, due to balance reasons. I then moved to a window seat on the starbord side. There have been a number of threads on this issue, including as to some Ryanair flights (737's).
 
geoffm
Posts: 2082
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 5:58 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:09 am

Quoting Mfamguy79 (Thread starter):
Anyone ever head of this?

Yes, on a CRJ from MSY to MCO. The plane had less than a dozen passengers and all had been assigned to the first few rows. The FA asked us to spread around the aircraft. It was to do with the centre of gravity, as already suggested. It's more fuel efficient to have the plane relatively level (or rather aerodynamic) rather than nose downwards had everybody sat at the front (more drag).

Geoff M.
 
777DadandJr
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:37 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:12 am

Off on a slight tangent here.
Are there balance issues on an a/c such as an ERJ-145, where there is unbalanced seating arrangement (1 x 2)?

Just curious. Maybe I'll post in tech.

Thanks!

Russ
My glass is neither 1/2 empty nor 1/2 full, rather, the glass itself is twice as big as it should be.
 
Okie
Posts: 3555
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:30 am

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:32 am

Quoting DouglasDC8 (Reply 4):
So I guess the agent put the whole thing together in her mind that it was a federal regulation to have people seated in a particular manner.

I suspect that it is more along the lines it is easier to say than the real reason of which most passengers would not understand C/G issues anyway.

I have heard many "because of federal regulations on aircraft" that simply do not exist. I wish I had made a list of them over the years. Since most do not inconvenience much, its just easier to follow along.

My favorite was "federal regulations prevent us from having coffee on afternoon flights" The correct answer would be "since this a relatively short afternoon flight we did not expect anyone to order coffee could I interest you in a juice or a soft drink" but then again that is NW.

Okie
 
Iflewrepublic
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 11:31 pm

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:50 pm

"Due to the relatively short nature of today's flight, we will not be offering a beverage service..." I have never heard any of our crew members (not saying that it hasn't happened) say "Due to Federal Regulations..." I would S--- a brick if they pulled that one. I always enjoyed seeing the Memphis girls claw their way up the aisle of a DC-9 on take off so they could get their beverage service in.

Iflewrepublic.
Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
 
baw716
Posts: 1460
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:02 pm

RE: No Seating Before Row 6 If Plane Is Empty?

Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:38 pm

Mostly weight and balance issue. Although...on some aircraft on some airlines, passengers are restricted access beyond a certain point, not into the galley area behind the cockpit. I don't believe there is a lav in the front of the RJ, so the only reason on empty flights would have to be weight and balance. Otherwise, the rule would apply on all flights for security purposes.

baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998