Why do the amount of seats available on departures keep changing?

IAW AFI 24-605, Volume 2, Para 2.12, firm seat releases must be provided to the passenger terminal no later than 5 hours prior to mission departure and are always subject to change.  Seat releases can be reduced at any time for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Working/non-working toilets
  • Broken seats
  • Change of destination
  • Hazardous cargo changes
  • Non-issue of maintenance waiver
  • Zero infant cots
  • No Passenger Monitor available on board.
  • Pallets of cargo effect the weight but so does how they are strapped down allowing safe egress to the seats.
  • When an A/c is refueling it has a certain weight allowance which can limit the seats, but the fact that a wet runway/aircraft is heavier than when flying on a dry day can also cut the number offered.

If the aircraft mission issues a seat release on arrival it's only firm unless any of the above (or other) issues appear.

  • Seat releases can also increases due to:
    More room and weight available if a piece of cargo can't make the flight
  • A leg of the mission is dropped so less fuel is required
  • Maintenance issue fixed or waivered to be able to take passengers (or more passengers)
  • New crew member is found to serve as a Passenger Monitor