American Airlines DC Flight Delayed By 1400 Pounds of Government Paperwork

On Monday there was so much government bureaucracy that 1400 pounds of federal paperwork actually delayed an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles.

American Airlines flight AA163, the 5:30 p.m. LAX departure, was delayed while the airline offloaded cargo. The pilot explained to passengers that “government documents” had to be removed.

Before offering any speculation about a detailed Mueller indictment, bear in mind that’s unlikely to be sent to the West Coast. Frankly it could be anything. Here are the total rules published in the Code of Federal Regulations, 1997 – 2012.

While airlines are one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country, ‘deregulation’ not withstanding, the Department of Transportation isn’t one of the agencies with the most rules promulgated during this period of time. So it’s surprising to see 1400 pages of government documents slowing down a single flight — even one from the DC area (and National airport has its own myriad set of restrictions).

According to American the flight was indeed delayed to remove 1400 pounds of cargo. The carrier speculated that it could have been US mail (“overstuffed flat-rate boxes and birthday cards bound for the West Coast”) and that high heat led to a weight restriction.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Before offering any speculation about a detailed Mueller indictment, bear in mind that’s unlikely to be sent to the West Coast.” – why is this comment necessary on a travel blog?

  2. Someone May have typed Transcripts of All the Lies the Supreme Orange Man That the Resident of the WH has told. get Rid if the Papertra and Now Take Down the Clown….. the Russian Circus needs Him

  3. 1400lbs is roughly two-thirds of a pallet, maybe an entire small pallet, of paper. Federal paper could include money. Even in small bills, 1400lbs of cash is a lot of money
    Question: how is cargo weight calculated this precisely? Does the plane have a built in scale
    Or is luggage weighed before loading it? If so, how, because carry on bags and people are not weighed beforehand, unless TSA or Facebook is sending our personal data to the airlines.
    Wait a minute…is this how luggage gets lost? Plane weighs too much, remove luggage, especially heavy bags, and put it on another plane. We may find Amelia Earhart before that cargo shows up.

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