Offloaded: Either You or the Plane is too Heavy

A B737-800 Qantas plane bound for Sydney from Brisbane had to offload nearly 40 passengers because the aircraft was too heavy to fly. About 40 passengers were told to get off the plane and were put on the next flight.

Qantas explained that the culprit was due to a faulty fuel pump that resulted in the aircraft’s load reading giving out an error. Well, being offloaded a plane can cause a lot of inconveniences to our travel plans but to err on the side of caution should be the utmost importance for all airlines.

And then I wondered what is the maximum gross take-off weight for a B737?

I did a quick search online and according to,a typical 737 can carry about 180 passengers and the maximum gross take-off weight is 79,015kg (174,200lb). An empty 737 weighs about 41,145kg, hence if I am not wrong, a 737 can carry about 37,870kg of cargo or passengers.

Hmm… so I decided to do a rough calculation,

If every passenger weighs an average 100kg, 180 passengers will weigh a total of 18,000kg. And if every passenger checks-in a 30kg bag, the total cargo load will be about 5,400kg. That brings me to a total combined weight of 23,400kg – and my figures were loosely put together. 40 passengers will weigh (at most) 4000kg. Offloading 40 passengers equates to reducing the payload by about 10%.

Hence, my next question beckons and putting discrimination aside, I know it is an industry practice for airlines to charge for extra baggage but what if airlines decide to charge us if we were grossly ‘overweight’?

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