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321XLR
22nd Jun 2023, 04:43
Hello Folks

Does anyone have any SOP's they can share from your company, or techniques, regarding keeping the passenger cabin as cool as possible during summer ops, for the loading process and taxi-out for takeoff.

Thank you

Check Airman
22nd Jun 2023, 08:11
Company says to start the APU 10 prior and shut it down as soon as external power is connected. That will lead to cabin temperatures north of 32C even when it's comfortably in the low to mid 20's outside.

Start the APU when boarding starts. Shut it down when everyone's off. In An A320, the cockpit can be at a comfortable temperature without the APU, while the back of the plane is hot and stuffy, so don't wait until YOU feel uncomfortable. By that time, the poor folks in the back are dying.

If the APU is inop, you can always refuse the plane. In lieu of that, you can run the packs off the HP air.

Capt Scribble
22nd Jun 2023, 08:51
Have the window blinds closed on the sunny side on turn round. If its very hot, run the APU, you have a duty of care to the pax.

Tu.114
22nd Jun 2023, 10:27
My company generally allows using the APU as required.

However, this does not mean "fire at will", as this does not only involve airline or onboard procedures. Individual airports have their own preferences and procedures as well. At some fields that tend to be closer to the equator and smaller in size, it is possible to run the APU and on-board AC as You see fit; other seem to abhor anything audible and running the APU outside their stipulated timeframe after on-block and before off-block may even carry a fine. Those fields, however, normally offer a ground-based air conditioning unit of rather variable quality.

If on such a field, the ground-based AC is inop or unsatisfactory, there usually are ways to quickly obtain a tactical dispense from the rule and be allowed to use the on-board systems. Be it a simple request via radio, a phone call to a number available in the airport documentation or a mere request to the ramp agent - all those have worked quite well in the past.

Then come the abnormals. The question whether or not one is willing to accept an aircraft with an U/S APU for a flight to a destination where its cooling capability is needed, is to be well considered.

Another thing, as You spoke about summer: the ramp is a hot place to work. A bottle or two of cold water from the galleys is sometimes easily spared and, if taken to the ground staff, often greatly appreciated.

Jonty
22nd Jun 2023, 10:35
If itís hot I run the APU, unless conditioned air is supplied.
Simples!

FlightDetent
22nd Jun 2023, 16:08
I think the window shades in the PAX cabin work.

The FAs at the previous operator swore that opening the overhead gaspers from PSU all down the cabin helped too, not sure about the technical basis for that. But happy to take their word for it, especially on the external air con unit is seemed to work.

That's apart from the obvious... well, one small thing:

The jetty-mounted conditioners have a control box for the operator. Now, the one at the old home base had two green push-buttons that got me curious. Labelled "NB" and "WB". There is empirical evidence, on the sh-jet when nobody was looking, hitting the "WB" mode increased the noise and cold wind markedly. :E

oceancrosser
22nd Jun 2023, 19:17
Company says to start the APU 10 prior and shut it down as soon as external power is connected. That will lead to cabin temperatures north of 32C even when it's comfortably in the low to mid 20's outside.

Start the APU when boarding starts. Shut it down when everyone's off. In An A320, the cockpit can be at a comfortable temperature without the APU, while the back of the plane is hot and stuffy, so don't wait until YOU feel uncomfortable. By that time, the poor folks in the back are dying.

If the APU is inop, you can always refuse the plane. In lieu of that, you can run the packs off the HP air.

Agree, I do the same. Really dislike airports that have really steep rules regarding use of APU, my pet hate is AMS, which does not provide any alternative like ground AC units (at least not at the D gates we use). AMS seems to be all in trying to lose business. I will not travel throught there in summer.

FullWings
23rd Jun 2023, 08:18
What annoys me when passengering is to arrive somewhere, then as soon as the brakes go on the packs go off and within a minute itís a sweaty hell down the back while youíre waiting for the jetty/steps/doors, etc. This totally negates any efforts from the airline before or during the flight to make your journey more comfortable as you have to drag your bags through a warm airport in wet clothes.

Duty of care overrides any airport requirements. I make an effort to comply with most things but if they seriously affect comfort/safety then they get ignored, like a couple of aircraft running their APUs is going to make a difference when there are 20 aircraft waiting to take off and another 10 waiting for a stand, all with engines running.

324906
23rd Jun 2023, 09:20
My last company did a cost benefit study re apu usage and found that it cost about the same to run it continuously all day due to wear and tear and demonstrable reduced reliability caused by increased cycles. The aircraft usually operated 4 or 5etops/edto sectors a day which required the app to operate continuously en route anyway. Changed a bit when apu on demand became available.

Uplinker
23rd Jun 2023, 10:49
What annoys me when passengering is to arrive somewhere, then as soon as the brakes go on the packs go off and within a minute itís a sweaty hell down the back while youíre waiting for the jetty/steps/doors, etc. This totally negates any efforts from the airline before or during the flight to make your journey more comfortable as you have to drag your bags through a warm airport in wet clothes.

Duty of care overrides any airport requirements. I make an effort to comply with most things but if they seriously affect comfort/safety then they get ignored, like a couple of aircraft running their APUs is going to make a difference when there are 20 aircraft waiting to take off and another 10 waiting for a stand, all with engines running.

Couldn't agree more. Not air conditioning a hot, (or cold), aircraft cabin is the ultimate in treating passengers as dumb animals.

(So is putting seat rows ridiculously close together, but that's another issue).

Vessbot
23rd Jun 2023, 22:36
other seem to abhor anything audible and running the APU outside their stipulated timeframe after on-block and before off-block may even carry a fine. Those fields, however, normally offer a ground-based air conditioning unit of rather variable quality.

If on such a field, the ground-based AC is inop or unsatisfactory, there usually are ways to quickly obtain a tactical dispense from the rule and be allowed to use the on-board systems.

What happens at one of these airports if no one answers the radio (or whatever the procedure is) and you turn on the APU... company gets a nastygram on your behalf some time later?

oceancrosser
23rd Jun 2023, 23:18
What happens at one of these airports if no one answers the radio (or whatever the procedure is) and you turn on the APU... company gets a nastygram on your behalf some time later?

So be it. I have had that happen to me. CPH airport complained about me running the APU sent letter to company. Hot day, stand AC unit barely breathing.
Our station manager confirmed state of airport AC. Company replied I was taking care of passengers. End of story.

Escape Path
29th Jun 2023, 02:15
+1 on everyone who mentioned cabin/temp comfort as a priority regarding customer service.
I know Copa Airlines in Panama advise the pax via the PA when landing in PTY to lower the window shades and open the gaspers in the PSU before leaving the aircraft, so I dunno... I guess it helps. Here are my 2 cents, empirical, of course.

- Turning off APU bleed (or the APU itself for that matter, as in "external power now connected to the aircraft") before opening the main door is a huge no-no. I try to balance the shutting off of the APU bleed with the pax load of the plane, so as to not cut off the bleed to the pax while there's still a significant amount of pax on board. This will heat the cabin air right up
- Try your best to not let the temps rise in the first place by coordinating the use of bleed and external air. If the airplane is baking in the apron, it will heat up quickly and it will then be quite a task to get the temps back down. They might not come down at all until some good 20 minutes after takeoff!!!
- In my part of the world at least (most airports in my country have a rule to only start APU 5 min before pushback), you can get some relaxation of this rule if you call the ramp supervisor on the ground/tower freq in an amicable way requesting clearance to start the APU outside of the allotted time because of excessive cabin temps. I might even throw "some pax are complaining" in there too, to try and get a little sympathy. Hasn't failed so far. Ahhh... the unmentioned treats of Latin America :ok:

Someone mentioned not to wait until you in your comfy cockpit feel uncomfortable because then it's too late for the folks in the back. I think that is the best single piece of advise in this whole thread. Some of our kind can be a little too much over ourselves and only think of the cabin temps whenever it's uncomfortable for them

737pilotguy
30th Jun 2023, 14:04
+1 on everyone who mentioned cabin/temp comfort as a priority regarding customer service.
I know Copa Airlines in Panama advise the pax via the PA when landing in PTY to lower the window shades and open the gaspers in the PSU before leaving the aircraft, so I dunno... I guess it helps. Here are my 2 cents, empirical, of course.

- Turning off APU bleed (or the APU itself for that matter, as in "external power now connected to the aircraft") before opening the main door is a huge no-no. I try to balance the shutting off of the APU bleed with the pax load of the plane, so as to not cut off the bleed to the pax while there's still a significant amount of pax on board. This will heat the cabin air right up
- Try your best to not let the temps rise in the first place by coordinating the use of bleed and external air. If the airplane is baking in the apron, it will heat up quickly and it will then be quite a task to get the temps back down. They might not come down at all until some good 20 minutes after takeoff!!!
- In my part of the world at least (most airports in my country have a rule to only start APU 5 min before pushback), you can get some relaxation of this rule if you call the ramp supervisor on the ground/tower freq in an amicable way requesting clearance to start the APU outside of the allotted time because of excessive cabin temps. I might even throw "some pax are complaining" in there too, to try and get a little sympathy. Hasn't failed so far. Ahhh... the unmentioned treats of Latin America :ok:

Someone mentioned not to wait until you in your comfy cockpit feel uncomfortable because then it's too late for the folks in the back. I think that is the best single piece of advise in this whole thread. Some of our kind can be a little too much over ourselves and only think of the cabin temps whenever it's uncomfortable for them

Living in a warm climate, my APU is turned on before the first passenger enters the aircraft and air is supplied at ALL times there are people on board. A gate hold or takeoff restriction just means that more fuel is loaded to account for the ~220 lbs/hr the APU uses. Passenger comfort (and mine) supersedes any memo from the beancounters sitting in their climate-controlled office. Airport restrictions honestly don't matter to me during periods of (too) hot weather. If an airport is that hung up on noise or emissions, supply air conditioning or I'll continue to use the APU. I haven't had any issues for 17 years.