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There Were More Passengers Than Seats on a Recent 777 Flight

Feb. 28, 2017
2 min read
There Were More Passengers Than Seats on a Recent 777 Flight
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Usually, if a flight is oversold, airlines will offer passengers a monetary incentive to take a later flight in order to make sure there is one passenger per seat on the aircraft. However, on a Pakistan International Airlines flight in January, seven extra passengers were allowed to board a plane and fly from Karachi (KHI) to Medina, Saudi Arabia (MED) — allegedly in jumpseats and even the cockpit. Earlier reports suggested that passengers were standing in the aisles of the plane, but the airline has denied those claims.

According to Pakistani newspaper Dawn, PIA flight #743, operated by a Boeing 777, had a total of 416 passengers on board even though that specific plane's maximum capacity is 409, including seats for the crew. The overcapacity could have caused a serious safety hazard — passengers without seats wouldn't have had access to oxygen in case of an emergency, and the extra people on board would have likely been a source of congestion and confusion had an evacuation been necessary.

Since the incident occurred at the end of January, the airline performed an investigation and as of yesterday has taken disciplinary action against a captain, senior purser and terminal manager. According to Dawn, the captain won't be able to fly after he was issued a disciplinary notice, and is also under investigation by Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority.