Only minutes after boarding their flight, 26 Frontier flyers were forced to get off the aircraft because, according to the pilot, the plane had gone over the weight threshold.
TikTok user Taylor, who goes by @tayloredvacations, posted this now-viral video on her profile. Taylor knows a thing or two about traveling, as she’s not only a Frontier passenger but also a travel agent.
At the beginning of the video, you can hear the pilot talking to the passengers using the plane’s intercom system.
The pilot says, “Unfortunately, we have to ask 26 passengers to step off the aircraft due to weight issues we are currently facing.” He also noted that the agents at the gate had been made aware of the situation and would be taking care of any questions and concerns.
He then made an apology and said that this was an issue they could not have predicted and that their hands were pretty tied, meaning there was no hope for any passengers who were still considering flying.
At the end of his statement, the pilot said, “Good luck, and thank you all for being patient.”
Even with a gesture of ‘good luck,’ many passengers were very angry and very confused.
The Frontier flight was originally supposed to go to San Juan, Puerto Rico, though Taylor notes in the video that it was instead rerouted to Orlando, Florida. Since uploading the video, it has garnered over 120,000 views and plenty of comments.
Surprisingly enough, one of the most popular comments on the video came from someone who was in total agreement with the pilot’s decision and the way the issue was handled. “They’re doing it for your safety,” the commenter said. “There’s a reason loadmasters exist, and more people need to realize they have one of the most important jobs in the industry.”
According to Indeed, loadmasters have the responsibility of determining how much cargo or baggage can be placed and organized on an aircraft. They must use aircraft weight calculations to figure out the best way to secure both cargo and passengers so that everything onboard won’t interfere with the aircraft’s center of gravity.
Many safety-concerned commenters noted that if they received that message from the pilot, they would be one of the first volunteers to step off the plane.
One person noted, “This is definitely a situation where I’d get off the plane before the pilot even finished talking. Definitely not a flight that I want to take.”
Another person wrote, “The second that the pilot started making that announcement, my family and I would have been moving our way off the plane.”
Some other commenters keenly pointed out that whatever cargo may have been on that plane seems like it was more important to Frontier than the passengers onboard. “Every decision that a large company like this makes is financially driven. It’s much less expensive to get people off a plane than to dump cargo or fuel,” said one person.
Anyone who has watched the news over the past decade knows just how fatal in-flight load shifts and inaccurate weight distribution can be. In 2013, the USAF Mobility Command was operating a National Airlines Boeing 747-400 that crashed very shortly after taking off from Afghanistan Bagram Airfield. Better known as Flight 102, this plane was transporting five armored military vehicles to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport before the accident occurred.
The plane was carrying over 94,000 kg of cargo, according to the Aviation Safety Network. The pilot stopped to refuel Bagram around 15:30 local time before takeoff, climbing around 1,200 feet into the air before the nose of the plane pointed straight up.
The sudden shift in weight caused the plane to stall in mid-air, banking to the right and leveling off just before hitting the Earth below, where it exploded into a massive ball of fire.
Moral of the story? Listen to the captain when they tell you to get off the plane for safety reasons and don’t try to be a hero.