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weight limit

New Arrival

I was on a flight out of Buffalo to BaItimore.  The flight was full, with 143 seats occupied.  After everyone is boarded, the gate agent gets on and announces that 5 people had to get off or the plane could not depart.  The gate agent said it was because of the weight with all of the passengers.  I am curious about this because I fly SWA frequently with a completely full plane.  In the past year I flew 25 round trips, of which about 75 percent were full, with every seat occupied   I never heard any mention of before of the plane being too heavy with all the seats occupied.  Is this a new policy that all the seats cannot be filled?


My question is why did the agent allow all 143 passengers to Board and then get on and announces that passengers had to get off?  If there are only 138/143 seats truly available then you should only book to 138.   Seems like very bad service.   Also she told the passengers that there was another flight available at 7 pm, but that flight was actually cancelled.  For reference this was Flight 1794 from Buffalo on May 15, 2018.




Re: weight limit for planes

Rising Star

SWA knows the weight of checked bags and cargo (if applicable) and work on an average weight per passenger to determine the total weight of the aircraft along with approximate number of carry-on’s, on board water, and fuel. One of the biggest factors for weight depends on the airport and most importantly weather conditions. Because of the weather, the max take off weight can vary. 


I have also been in this type of situation, and was also frustrated. Just keep in mind Safety and realize that all carriers do this, not just SWA. 

SWA Passenger, Community Champion

Re: weight limit for planes

New Arrival

It seems to me that the customers should not be allowed on the plane if they know it will be over the limit.  The Southwest agent waited until the last minute. She knew how many passengers there were prior to boarding and could have addressed it then.


Re: weight limit for planes

Active Member

Dispatchers will sometimes add (or flight crews will request) additional fuel close to departure time due to rapidly changing weather or air traffic control conditions. The extra fuel is required in case of long holds in the air or diversions. In these rare cases, passengers on board must be removed due to the weight of the additional fuel. Given the weather on the east coast the last two days, I suspect this might be the reason passengers were removed.

On the bright side, you can be happy that you are flying on Southwest with Boeing 737s! The "legacy" carriers tend to use smaller Regional Jets to markets like Buffalo and Baltimore. These Regional Jets are often weight-restricted and many times cannot carry a full load of passengers.