First Time For This Kind of Delay: Defuel the Plane

Defuel the Plane

Courtesy: American Airlines

First Time For This Kind of Delay: Defuel the Plane

I’m sure there’s some flyers out there that may have experienced this before, but this past weekend on my flight from DFW to DCA was the first time I’ve ever experienced needing to defuel the plane, which led to a delay of an hour.  I was on American Airlines Flight 2752.

Once the flight was boarded, the pilot came on to the loudspeaker letting us know that we were ready to go…accept for one minor issue: we had too much fuel.

The pilot told us this was because the flight came from the hangar, where is scheduled to fly somewhere different than DCA.  This was important because DCA has nighttime curfew limitations that, according to my understanding from what the pilot said, is impacted by how heavy an aircraft can be when it lands during certain times at DCA.  We were originally scheduled to land at DCA at 11:00pm.

The pilot said they planned on flying low to burn some extra fuel, but that wouldn’t work either because of an excess of baggage and passengers on the plane. Therefore, the pilot said we’d be delayed about 30 minutes to an hour as we waited for the fuel truck to come and actually defuel — take fuel out of the plane.

This was a first for me and my husband and for others flying on the aircraft. It all ended up okay though, since the flight attendant came around to give us drinks while we waited. All told, we were in the air almost exactly an hour after our scheduled departure.

Have you ever experienced a delay based on that reason? I assume that many times this may never be an issue because it seemed it was based more on the fact that we were flying to an airport with curfew restrictions and DCA’s restrictions are unique in comparison to other noise restrictions because they still classify some stage 3 aircraft as non-compliant.  We’d love to hear if you’ve ever had a similar experience.

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