Jetstar passenger baffled by ‘weird’ take-off request

One passenger was stunned by a 'random' request by cabin crew, but there's a simple safety explanation

A Jetstar passenger Annie (left) and a image of the inside of the cabin (right).
A Jetstar passenger has revealed the 'weird' request before takeoff. Source: Tiktok

A Jetstar passenger has expressed her bemusement over a ‘weird’ cabin crew request to a packed plane just moments before take-off.

Annie was flying from Brisbane to Perth on April 23 when Jetstar staff asked six passengers to move to the back of the plane to “balance out” the plane.

“The plane was pretty much full as we were sat not far from the back of the plane. Then on the speakers, they announced they needed three women and three men to volunteer to move seats to balance out the plane just for take-off,” Annie told Yahoo News Australia. “Then they would be able to move back once in the air."

She explained that one woman was moved to behind her seat, but then said she could move back soon after. “It was a bit random because I’d understand if the plane was full at the front and empty at the back but almost every seat was taken on this flight.”

Posting about the experience on social media, Annie asked if anyone else had witnessed this before, adding that the request was the “weirdest thing”.

A Jetstar spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo that the request was made as part of a critical safety measure ahead of take-off.

“Ensuring the optimum weight and balance configuration for take-off is critical to the safe operation of all flights,” A Jetstar spokesperson told Yahoo. “We thank customers for their understanding.”

According to Simple Flying, every aircraft has a maximum take-off weight assigned to it – and most aircraft don’t have a large enough maximum take-off weight to carry a full cabin of passengers along with their luggage, a full cargo hold and full fuel takes, therefore balancing is required.

While airlines will do this in a multitude of ways, including only carrying enough fuel required for the journey, and balancing luggage in the hold, another way they do it is to ask passengers to move seats.

“Note that if you are asked to move for weight and balance reasons, it is not anything personal,” Simple Flying state, explaining that the height and weight of passengers are averaged out by airlines.

A man looks on from Shep’s Mound, a plane spotters’ lookout as a a Jetstar Airbus A321 takes off from Sydney International airport January 20, 2024 in Sydney.
A Jetstar plane taking off. Source: Getty

Responding to the video made by Annie, many Aussies, including airline staff, were quick to respond to her question. “I work for Jetstar, it’s totally normal,” said one viewer. “Sometimes the cargo is put in the wrong place and it’s a quick fix for takeoff instead of having to get the ground crew back & open it up.”

Another Jetstar worker commented to say that it happened to him “a few times”. “It’s really important for the plane to be balanced for take off.”

Another passenger who said it happened to him called it “absolutely ridiculous.”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.