Was Jetstar plane full - and why did it take 30 minutes to fill?
I've been corresponding with Sonny Shaw, an an All Black fan who travels regularly and got on the Jetstar plane that Mike Earley missed on last Saturday. Shaw's details were given to me. He was in seat 12F and noticed no empty seats on the plane. Perhaps the plane was full. If so, who took Mike Earley's seat - and the other seven who missed out?
Shaw said that the passengers started boarding 10 minutes before the time on the boarding pass and the plane left 20 minutes late - after 4pm. He says
I could not understand how we started to board 10 minutes before the time printed on boarding pass and still left 20 minutes late. Five minutes before takeoff the purser made an announcement "this plane is VERY full can you put any small personal items under the front seat so there would be room in the overhead lockers". The hostesses where up and down the aisle I got the impression they were checking how many empty seats were left then they would go to the front and more passengers would arrive.The purser's announcement was made 15 minutes after scheduled departure time. I asked Shaw why he thought the plane left 20 minutes late. He said that Jetstar kept allowing passengers to board "My feeling was just to make sure the plane was full."
If so, that's concerning, given that some missed out on checking in. Jestar's rules that there is no check ins 30 minutes prior to the scheduled flight time. Furthermore everyone must be ready to board 25 minutes before the scheduled flight time. Is that so they can board early - which is apparently what happened. Assuming those checked in were ready to board, they would have to be in the departure lounge. So why were more passengers getting on the plane 20 minutes after scheduled departure time when they were in the departure lounge for up to 45 minutes?
Meanwhile Jetstar spokeswoman Simone Pregellio acknowledged having issued incorrect information initially about how late some passengers arrived, but insisted they were all too late.
She said they arrived 22 minutes late, and eight minutes before departure time. Now she is saying that they arrived eight minutes late, and 22 minutes before departure. Tomorrow she may say that 22 people arrived eight minutes before the check in deadline.
But if the plane departed 20 minutes late, she is still wrong. Maybe she meant eight people missed out and it left 22 minutes late.
It doesn't take 30 minutes to fill a plane - unless you are Jetstar.