I took a day trip the other day BGI-SJU-BGI on an American Eagle ATR72.
On the way back from San Juan to Barbados the check in agent couldn't give me a seat allocation as there were already 48 people checked in and they had to wait to see if any more seats were released.
He told me to go to the gate and wait for my name to be called out. That afternoon a lot of Eagle flights from San Juan to various Caribbean islands had these "weight and balance" issues. Soon requests were being made for passengers to volunteer to be bumped from most departing Eagle flights.
I started to worry that I wouldn't get on the flight so I started to be really nice to the agent at the gate. Soon the passengers with assigned seats were boarded, and the rest of us had an agonising wait.
Eventually most of us were allowed to take the flight which left about 3/4 full.
My question is what are these weight and balance issues that affect ATR's in the Caribbean? Is it weather-related? This seems to happen a lot to Eagle flights.
Is BGI at the limit of an ATR's range (2h15m)?
Will RJ's ever be deployed in the Caribbean?
After a while the flight on an ATR can seem quite long! Having said that, in contrast to my other Eagle flights in the Caribbean, the crew were really nice and friendly both ways.