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Terrified Tourists Boycott Thomas Cook Flight Home After Being Told To Sit At Back 'to Help Balance The Jet'

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11...alance-jet.html

When holidaymakers were asked to sit at the back of the plane to balance heavy luggage in the front of the hold, many thought it was a bad joke.

But it was a serious request. One of the doors to the hold was jammed, meaning bags could be loaded only at one end, making the plane nose-heavy.

However, the call for passengers to act as human ballast towards the tail provoked panic, and 71 refused to board.

Yesterday, as the airline insisted the arrangement was a routine procedure and entirely safe, the mutineers spoke of their terror.

The travellers had been waiting to fly home from Majorca to Newcastle on a Thomas Cook flight when they were told to abandon their allocated seats and sit at the rear.

The captain insisted the plane was safe, but some of those waiting to board claim that in-coming passengers, disembarking from the same plane, told them not to get on as it was the worst flight they had ever had.

Dave Charlton, from Blyth, Northumberland, who was due to travel on Sunday's flight with his wife Susan and son Adam, six, was terrified by the look on the faces of tourists getting off the plane.

'People were kissing the ground and putting their hands together like they were praying,' he said. 'There were girls sobbing and children crying.

'When people are getting off the plane saying, "Don't get on" and we'd been told there was a fault with it, there was no way we would get on. It's just not worth the risk.

'All we asked was that they fixed it. We just wanted a plane that would stay level without us being used as ballast.' The family flew back the next day with easyJet at a cost of £600.

Is it routine procedure to use passengers as ballast?

Any airplane engineers prepared to comment on this?

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It's routine to leave more time between planes taking off if one is classed 'heavy' as it'll take longer to climb from the runway....

It's routine to pack a cargo ship evenly so that it won't list in the water.

Don't see why this is a problem with a partially-booked flight. Maybe the incoming flight was a bit iffy 'cos the captain didn't make enough noise earlier about getting folks to move, and that led to a bumpy flight, causing him to insist a bit louder.....

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We do have a couple of airline pilots on HPC, maybe they'll give us the low down at some point.

I suspect this is a problem of what PR people call Expectation Management. Passengers don't expect to have to act as human ballast and it understandably worries them they they have to actively take part in balancing the aircraft correctly. What seems entirely routine and safe to the aircrew might appear worryingly cowboy to the passengers.

If the problem was explained clearly and calmly fair enough, but if, as I suspect, the passengers were told to just shuffle down to the back to help balance the aircraft, I can understand their concern.

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We do have a couple of airline pilots on HPC, maybe they'll give us the low down at some point.

I suspect this is a problem of what PR people call Expectation Management. Passengers don't expect to have to act as human ballast and it understandably worries them they they have to actively take part in balancing the aircraft correctly. What seems entirely routine and safe to the aircrew might appear worryingly cowboy to the passengers.

If the problem was explained clearly and calmly fair enough, but if, as I suspect, the passengers were told to just shuffle down to the back to help balance the aircraft, I can understand their concern.

I don't really see a problem to be honest. It all seems pretty reasonable to me. All the luggage is at the front so people go at the back - problem???

This just sounds very much like a case of a loud-mouthed, know it all minority who are shouting because they can and who then end up scaring a lot of the rest. Chavs who can probably smell an excuse for another day on holiday and some compen' money into the bargain. What's the betting it's on Watchdog soon?

It also sounds very much like a highly over-hyped story to me. Passengers kissing the ground and praying upon disembarking - my ****.

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A related anecdote: I was waiting to take off one time and the captain came back into the cabin to inform us that there was a slight fault with the plane's front braking system which engineers were checking.

This provoked mass hysteria, with one guy shouting "you expect us to fly in a deathtrap, let us off the plane" (I lost my rag at this point and told him to shut the ****** up and sit down).

The captain explained that:

  1. He would not fly a plane which was not safe
  2. All systems, including the front brakes, had back up systems
  3. He could stop a plane without the front brakes
  4. If passengers left this plane, they faced lengthy delays in finding seats on alternative flights.

Despite this, roughly half the passengers demanded to be put on another another plane. Muppets.

Anyway, suffice to say the plane took off, flew, landed and stopped without any problems. Hopefully those twats are still waiting for their replacement flight.

I suspect this is similar situation.

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A related anecdote: I was waiting to take off one time and the captain came back into the cabin to inform us that there was a slight fault with the plane's front braking system which engineers were checking.

This provoked mass hysteria, with one guy shouting "you expect us to fly in a deathtrap, let us off the plane" (I lost my rag at this point and told him to shut the ****** up and sit down).

The captain explained that:

  1. He would not fly a plane which was not safe

  2. All systems, including the front brakes, had back up systems

  3. He could stop a plane without the front brakes

  4. If passengers left this plane, they faced lengthy delays in finding seats on alternative flights.

Despite this, roughly half the passengers demanded to be put on another another plane. Muppets.

Anyway, suffice to say the plane took off, flew, landed and stopped without any problems. Hopefully those twats are still waiting for their replacement flight.

I suspect this is similar situation.

Best not to make a fuss like the level-headed French and Brazilian types? Perhaps at the start of their flight the captain noticed the airspeed indicator was a teensy bit wiffly but was confident all would be fine.

Personally I'd get myself off the plane pronto but then again I'm not the world's best flier :(

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11...alance-jet.html

Is it routine procedure to use passengers as ballast?

Any airplane engineers prepared to comment on this?

Only the economy class passengers are treated as "ballast", the first class passengers are treated much nicer.

This is why plane tickets need to be more expensive, it keeps the stupid at home and on the ground where they belong.

A symptom of modern Britain I'm afraid, worry about nothing whilst ignoring what is really dangerous. Maybe it is the result of too much info and too little intelligence. Or maybe people have simply lost all critical faculties.

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Only the economy class passengers are treated as "ballast", the first class passengers are treated much nicer.

This is why plane tickets need to be more expensive, it keeps the stupid at home and on the ground where they belong.

A symptom of modern Britain I'm afraid, worry about nothing whilst ignoring what is really dangerous. Maybe it is the result of too much info and too little intelligence. Or maybe people have simply lost all critical faculties.

You're a pilot aren't you SMAC?

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A related anecdote: I was waiting to take off one time and the captain came back into the cabin to inform us that there was a slight fault with the plane's front braking system which engineers were checking.

This provoked mass hysteria, with one guy shouting "you expect us to fly in a deathtrap, let us off the plane" (I lost my rag at this point and told him to shut the ****** up and sit down).

The captain explained that:

  1. He would not fly a plane which was not safe

  2. All systems, including the front brakes, had back up systems

  3. He could stop a plane without the front brakes

  4. If passengers left this plane, they faced lengthy delays in finding seats on alternative flights.

Despite this, roughly half the passengers demanded to be put on another another plane. Muppets.

Anyway, suffice to say the plane took off, flew, landed and stopped without any problems. Hopefully those twats are still waiting for their replacement flight.

I suspect this is similar situation.

:lol: Boarded a flight to Amsterdam a few years ago. Taxied to take off and we sat there for 10 minutes. Pilot comes over the tannoy saying, sorry for the delay but we have been experiencing problems with the breaking system and said in a really calm jovial way. " Don`t worry about it though as this does not prevent us from taking off" Everyone pissed themselves laughing ( Maybe some nervously) but it was all good and I would imagine they sold more booze and that short trip than they have ever sold. :lol:

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Is it routine procedure to use passengers as ballast?

Any airplane engineers prepared to comment on this?

Not a pilot, but I am a frequent flier. This has happened to me three or four times over the years, although not in the last ten years that I can remember.

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A related anecdote: I was waiting to take off one time and the captain came back into the cabin to inform us that there was a slight fault with the plane's front braking system which engineers were checking.

This provoked mass hysteria, with one guy shouting "you expect us to fly in a deathtrap, let us off the plane" (I lost my rag at this point and told him to shut the ****** up and sit down).

The captain explained that:

  1. He would not fly a plane which was not safe

  2. All systems, including the front brakes, had back up systems

  3. He could stop a plane without the front brakes

  4. If passengers left this plane, they faced lengthy delays in finding seats on alternative flights.

Despite this, roughly half the passengers demanded to be put on another another plane. Muppets.

Anyway, suffice to say the plane took off, flew, landed and stopped without any problems. Hopefully those twats are still waiting for their replacement flight.

I suspect this is similar situation.

I don't know what it is but there seems to be in some people some sort of psychological flaw in that they have to take the opportunity to cause a rucus whenever they can be pretty sure of getting away with it and appear to be able to claim the moral high ground.

Passengers on a plane who have this condition are in a situation whereby they can do or say virtually anything and get away with it because they use the "Safety is too important to compromise" line and can get away with it by coming over all hurt and scared if someone tries to shout them down.

You often see it with people complaining about people shooting the Countryside. You get idiots phoning the police because they see someone in a field in the ars3 end of no where with a shotgun. No evidence at all that they're doing anything at all illegal but people will ring it in "Just to be on the safe side". At least that's the excuse they employ, in reality it's because they can get a reaction out of it and feel all self important about it without the slightest chance of being done for wasting police time. Meanwhile some poor sap who is acting quite lawfully gets an armed response vehicle and a helicopter heading his way. If people were randomly reporting, say, motorcyclists on the off-chance that they were going to do something illegal or dangerous they would be locked up.

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You're a pilot aren't you SMAC?

I have a pilot's license, yes. Trim and balance are required on all aeroplanes, ships, and motor vehicles. I did laugh at the comments underneath the story. When the RAF loadmaster stated that it was perfectly normal some muppet retorted that they wouldn't trust the loadmaster. I guess they didn't understand what RAF stood for and what a load master does for a living............ :rolleyes:

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I guess they didn't understand what RAF stood for and what a load master does for a living............ :rolleyes:

I know I know! They hand out little white boxes with sandwiches and Panda Pops in, and sometimes they tighten up loose nuts with an adjustable spanner. When they've done that they lie down and fart a lot.

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I have a pilot's license, yes. Trim and balance are required on all aeroplanes, ships, and motor vehicles. I did laugh at the comments underneath the story. When the RAF loadmaster stated that it was perfectly normal some muppet retorted that they wouldn't trust the loadmaster. I guess they didn't understand what RAF stood for and what a load master does for a living............ :rolleyes:

Like I said above. It's insecure attention seekers who think they can cause a commotion without consequenses for themselves because they like being the centre of attention. You simply cannot argue with "safety".

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I know I know! They hand out little white boxes with sandwiches and Panda Pops in, and sometimes they tighten up loose nuts with an adjustable spanner. When they've done that they lie down and fart a lot.

I had an uncle who related a (possibly tall) tale of flying with Aden Airlines in the dim and distant past. Apparently the preflight check involved plucking the wing bracing wires and tightening them with a spanner to get the right note!

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We do have a couple of airline pilots on HPC, maybe they'll give us the low down at some point.

I suspect this is a problem of what PR people call Expectation Management. Passengers don't expect to have to act as human ballast and it understandably worries them they they have to actively take part in balancing the aircraft correctly. What seems entirely routine and safe to the aircrew might appear worryingly cowboy to the passengers.

If the problem was explained clearly and calmly fair enough, but if, as I suspect, the passengers were told to just shuffle down to the back to help balance the aircraft, I can understand their concern.

True, but the reason they had to act as human ballast was that one of the cargo doors was faulty...surely the appropriate thing to do is to fix the cargo door...

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Seems a bit of a non-story to me. Cargo loaded at the front because the rear door was jammed, so the passengers needed to sit at the back. Routine W&B distribution.

I'd be far more concerned about the figures used for an average passenger when calculating weight. You'll probably find its quite a bit lower than the current average weight per person. On a full airliner, that can make a rather large difference....

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True, but the reason they had to act as human ballast was that one of the cargo doors was faulty...surely the appropriate thing to do is to fix the cargo door...

And they'd still have whined because it may have taken hours. Also, what's the betting the same people would have complained anyway because the doors hadn't been fixed right?

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I'm not an airline pilot, but my father was and my sister is. Weight and balance calculations are a routine part of preparing a plane for a journey, and when it comes to the finer details like seating passengers when the load factor is relatively low, the main issue is fuel efficiency rather than safety. In this case, if the passengers stayed in their allocated seats and the aft cargo compartment was empty, that would have required the pilots to set the elevator trim in such a way that significantly more fuel would be burnt than if the passengers had been redistributed to balance the overall passenger plus frieght load more evenly. Attending to these details can save or cost a four-figure sum per medium-haul flight (e.g. the Costa del Hell to Newcastle), and so for airlines are well worth doing.

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It's routine to leave more time between planes taking off if one is classed 'heavy' as it'll take longer to climb from the runway....

Nothing to do with the time the 'heavy' takes to climb but because the 'heavy' will produce more wake turbulance.

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I have a pilot's license, yes. Trim and balance are required on all aeroplanes, ships, and motor vehicles. I did laugh at the comments underneath the story. When the RAF loadmaster stated that it was perfectly normal some muppet retorted that they wouldn't trust the loadmaster. I guess they didn't understand what RAF stood for and what a load master does for a living............ :rolleyes:

Generic problem with the world. Nowadays it is not a career advantage to be a person who knows their job and knows what they are talking about.

Experts are clearly not to be trusted, ignorant noise is trusted so much more. I blame the internet for this.

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I suppose it is some time ago, say 15 years, but a collegue had a holiday(!) in Russia and was on an internal flight when a crew member came into the passenger area, took up a floor panel and worked on the electrical cabling. They were flying at the time but did land safely.

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