Virgin Passengers Bumped to Make Room for Extra Fuel

Posted Apr 27th 2011 09:10 AM


virgin passengers bumped to make room for extra fuel

mikecogh, flickr

Two passengers were escorted off a Virgin Blue plane by police Thursday when they refused to be bumped to make room for extra fuel.

The flight from Melbourne to Bali needed extra fuel to compensate for bad weather along the route.

The pilot asked for two passengers to leave the flight voluntarily. When nobody offered, the last two people to board the plane were chosen.

According to a local news source, passengers sympathized with the two men. "They had taken care to book their flights, they were ready to go to Bali and then they were told they couldn't," a passenger said.

Virgin Blue called the incident "totally regrettable," IB Traveler reports. But, the fuel needed to be doubled because of the bad weather.

This isn't the first time that passengers have been bumped to make way for fuel. Back in January, 37 passengers were kicked off an EasyJet flight to accommodate 11 tons of extra fuel.
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Robert Horwitz

Well at one time or another in our lives most of us have heard the expression "BYOB". For those of you who may not heard it generally it is a reference given by a restaurant that doesn't serve Liquor. It means "Bring Your Own Bottle". I have a suggestion for Virgin Blue. How about "BYOG" "Bring Your Own Gas".

May 02 2011 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach Katona

Frankly, I sympathize with those passengers. I think that all airlines should set up the seating to prepare for possible situations like this. For instance, set up the seating configuration to be five seats less than the airplane's actual capacity so that they would not need to kick anyone off if a situation like this comes up. I mean look at it from the passengers point of view, they arrive at the airport having gone through all the rigorous procedures and ready to travel somewhere only to be told that they have to wait. Well there goes all their plans. I can't blame them for being upset.

May 01 2011 at 4:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Clark Busch

What kind of airplane was it? The average of two people I am guessing is around 400 pounds. The amount of jet fuel in weight would be around 58 gallons of fuel. How much does the jet use per hour. Does 58 gallons of Jet Fuel make the plane fly that much farther? Lets say at cruise it uses 20 gallons a minute. So guessing a three minute more flight the passengers were kicked off. I think there was an issue off more fuel taken on the plane than planed and instead of off taking the fuel and the passengers were instead.

April 29 2011 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's Virgin's fault for poor planning. I think they also made a poor choice. Passengers pay more money than the same weight in freight.

April 29 2011 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Josh-D. S. Davis

There's no such thing as "Full, plus full fuel". In addition to the pax seats and bags, planes also carry cargo. It's likely the choice was was either remove 2 PAX, or remove an entire container of cargo.

Either way, the airplane may be performing common carriage, but it's still privately owned. Failure to leave when asked becomes trespassing.

The captain is the legal and final authority over the safe operation of the flight, and can ask someone to leave the plane for any reason.

Getting bumped for W&B would have meant bonus money/vouchers. Maybe meal and lounge coupons, hotel accommodations, etc.

Getting escorted off the plane by police for trespass means getting no flight, no refund, no vouchers, court costs, embarrassment, and possibly even getting blocked from flying that airline.

It's ok to be disappointed, and maybe even grumble about it a little but, so long as there's a move to comply with the instructions.

April 29 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Travelling with big jets is always a trade-off between cargo/passenger weight, feul weight, unroute weather, destination weather, ATC restrictions, etc, etc

This flight could've probably made it without off loading these passengers, BUT it wouldn't have been legal. In that case this headline would have read;

"Virgin flight leaves without the legal requirement of fuel"

In aviation it is ALL about safety. It is most unfortunate that this happened to this guys, but people, please stop complaining. The reason air travel is so safe is because these hardline legal requirements.

April 28 2011 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought they built passenger airliners that accommodate the maximum number of passengers and maximum allowable fuel. I guess we are just showing up fatter to the airport.

April 27 2011 at 12:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to StuartT's comment

I'm a pilot... I don't know one airplane that can take max payload and max fuel. That's not the way it works. You would think ppl would be concerned about safety and gladly get off the plane... I actually think it's like an auction, ppl don't want to go overweight but they're waiting for someone else to take the hit. I bet if the pilot said "ok, we'll just take off overweight and fly to Bali" a few passengers would get off!

It's funny how everyone is all about money and doesn't want to pay extra money for safety. But when there is an accident, then they all come out of the wood work and say there should be more safety and blah blah blah! Flying is a business... the consumer has almost complete control over what happens. If there is a majority demand by the public for more safety, it will happen. If you're not willing to make yourself heard, don't complain when something doesn't go your way.

April 29 2011 at 9:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jordan's comment
David Harrison

How far can you get with 350 # of fuel? Averaging 175# per person? What 100 miles? Not trying to be an a-hole just asking. Do airlines always cut it this close? I think not.

May 02 2011 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down