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DL Wheel Of Excuses!  
User currently offlineairguardtn From United States of America, joined May 2007, 53 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3212 times:

When your DL flight is late either arriving or leaving ATL, do you wonder as I do, "What is the excuse this time?" Today it was, " The aircraft at the gate before we got there broke, so we were late." Sounds good but I got a notifacation from DL 2 hours before saying that my flight was late. Really, they could have not found another gate in 2 hours, or do they just spin the Wheel or Excuses? I'm going with the later.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinejetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7438 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3077 times:
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It happens at places like ORD, MIA, LAX, SFO, JFK, EWR, and the list goes on and on. It's not an epidemic at DL and nowhere else. You're talking about the busiest airport in the world, it happens. How long was your delay into the gate?


Made from jets!
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2916 times:

DL has nothing on the UA summer of 2012 wheel of excuses, recently UA has gotten a little better with on-time.

I find the UA top excuse lately to be "airport conditions preventing departure". Just what does that mean? I've been at the airport when a flight shows that as the reason for a delay and the ramps, taxiways and runways are void of traffic.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlinePWMRamper From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 645 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2891 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 2):
I find the UA top excuse lately to be "airport conditions preventing departure". Just what does that mean? I've been at the airport when a flight shows that as the reason for a delay and the ramps, taxiways and runways are void of traffic.

Back in June, UA went to a new system for coding delays. Unfortunately, the customer facing system no longer decodes the internal delay properly. Due to this, "Airport Conditions" is a generic response for several actual delay codes.

For instance, Fueling, Slow Boarding, Assisting Pax with Disabilities, Oversales, etc etc ALL show up on the website as "Airport Conditions."

In reality these delays are being coded properly in the internal system, and with a bit of research, an agent can figure out the specific reason for the delay. It's not an excuse, it's not nefarious, it's just a poor computer system that wasn't thoroughly tested.


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 706 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2857 times:

As a DL Platinum soon to be Diamond from flying 100K+ miles/89 flight segments so far this year, I've had my share of delays and irregular ops. For the most part, I think DL does a nice job of reaccomodation and notification of delays. In fairness, I don't think the system supports the frontline customer-facing employee as to specifics and therefore some screwball stuff can be said or result in mixed messages that a frequent flyer may know better.
A classic case I experienced in DTW. I arrived in DTW from TPA and learned my connection to LAS was 3 hours late due to "equipment" issues. I suspected a mechanical SOMEWHERE as obviously the plane wasn't sitting in DTW. It was a 757-300 and subsequently it was announced the delay would be extended because they were now subsituting aircraft and a 767-300 from LAX would fly us to LAS. Mad scramble to reassign seats for 200 people to a new configuration.
The 763 arrived on the gate at the appointed time, but the Captain walked off and announced that the aircraft was "broke" and would not operate to LAS. He advised to remain in the gate area until an update was available. The gate agents had no clue what was now happening to almost 200 of us, now delayed 4+ hours from our original ETD.
It took almost an hour of planning to finally determine we would fly on another 753 inbound from MCO with our delay now pushing 6 hours.
In all this craziness you can imagine how the agents were battered by passengers bitching and complaining. Meal vouchers were provided but there was such a crush of people at the podium, they had to open a vacant gate to handle reassigning seats and help issue the meal vouchers. The DTW agents kept their cool for the most part, and frankly were abused by rude and obnoxious passengers. They were simply trying to deal with what their shift had dealt them and it wasn't pleasant for any of us.
I did seriously consider just re-booking for the next day and go find a hotel, but I was only scheduled to be in LAS for 2 days so that woud have disrupted my travel plans further. I stuck with the delay, and ultimately rode a nice, uneventful flight to LAS, with a great crew and a perfectly functioning airplane, with just a 7 hour 20 minute delay. I am sure the gate agents, and there were 3 sets of them that worked this one flight, were delighted to see this crazy bunch of Vegas crazies push back and taxi away.
This kind of operational situation occurs every single day, to every airline. Its because those big metal things are mechanical and stuff just happens.....not to speak of ATC, weather, and all the myriad of other things that come together to make an airline fly.
Keep in mind that one big motivator now is DOT regulations to keep passengers informed and with that pressure you're sometimes going to get an "excuse" that may not ring completely true, but adheres to that standard. Airlines get banged with fines for not saying anything and most cases it falls to someone at that moment not completely in the know.
I try to keep my cool regardless. I always remember my beloved Grandmother's favorite response to any whining or bitching "Honey, this too shall pass" or "You'll never know the difference a hundred years from now."



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5939 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2836 times:

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 4):
frankly were abused by rude and obnoxious passengers

A couple of weeks back I spent an hour admiring the interior of a US aircraft bound for DCA since the FAA issued us a "wheels up time" because of congestion in the Washington area. I simply couldn't believe how some passengers responded!

"There is absolutely no way that there is congestion"
"This just shows what a $*%@ airline this is"
"You [an FA] are just lazy, that's why we're not going anywhere"

Seriously, why did they think we weren't moving? The pilots wanted to top up their sun tan?!?

Give the poor employees a break!



Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlinemad99 From Spain, joined Mar 2012, 616 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2774 times:

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 4):
I think DL does a nice job of reaccomodation and notification of delays

I've flown with them quite a bit and i'd agree. Helps to be plat skyteam as well!

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 5):
I simply couldn't believe how some passengers responded!

If you fly a lot you'll see it every flight. On my last flight to New York the woman next to me was devastated not to get the chicken dinner and gave the fa a dog's abuse. If she spoke to me like that i'd plant by boot in her face!


User currently offlinebobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6532 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2753 times:

Quoting airguardtn (Thread starter):
When your DL flight is late either arriving or leaving ATL, do you wonder as I do, "What is the excuse this time?" Today it was, " The aircraft at the gate before we got there broke, so we were late." Sounds good but I got a notifacation from DL 2 hours before saying that my flight was late. Really, they could have not found another gate in 2 hours, or do they just spin the Wheel or Excuses? I'm going with the later.

Wheel of Excuses
How do you regulate that statement with the fact that DL has the best on time numbers of any of the legacy carriers?


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2748 times:

Quoting bobnwa (Reply 7):
How do you regulate that statement with the fact that DL has the best on time numbers of any of the legacy carriers?

Schedule pad. The vast majority of ATL flights can waste 30-45 minutes on the ground and still arrive within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinexjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2473 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2710 times:

Quite honestly in the whole scheme of things, DL pads their schedules with the least amount of time throughout the majors. UA is the biggest padder (not a real word, but it works in this instance) out of them all. One of the number of examples from my flights with UA over the summer is we left the gate on my flight from TPA-IAH about 30 mins late, sat in line on the taxiway for almost 40 mins, and still arrived 30 mins early.

I have to say that in my 10+ years working at the airport (CSR/CSS/AM) I have seen most of it. While I have seen some interesting delays come up with the mainline flights, the majority of the questionable delays came up with the regional airlines.

In our FLIFO (flight information) screen, it shows the time of departure/arrival/equipment/any MELs pertinent to the airport employees (ie no pets in cargo hold)/W/B if it was an RJ. There was always a remarks section that usually filled in when there was a delay. Now when a delay happens and its within the time frame to start giving vouchers (meal/travel) it would autopopulate whether it was going to be DL Pay or Pax Pay. So lets say DL5000 from xxx-yyy is delayed due to a mechanical problem (whether upline or it broke upon arrival) it would autopopulate our FLIFO remarks saying "3A---Mechanical. DL PAY". This tells the agent helping you whether it is okay to A) issue amenity vouchers and/or B) place you on another carrier if DL cannot. Conversely, if there was an ATC or weather delay on the flight, one would see "6C---Upline weather. PAX PAY". That means the passengers are basically on their own.

I am not here to talk about the morals of making people pay if the weather system is clearly over a particular airport or in and around the airport but have a passenger tell me that their brother's sister's aunt's dog's brother's cousin looked outside a window and didn't see anything. That's for a different discussion/thread, albeit a fun one for me.

DL's system delay notification system is triggered when a flight is running at least 30 if not 15 mins behind schedule. I have seen flights go from being 3-4 hours late to leaving the gate a few minutes before the original scheduled time. I have seen times where DL's OCC and whatever regional carrier's OCC fight back and forth between times. It could be as simple as a 5 minute difference to delay coding. Pinnacle and Comair are/were notorious for changing delay codes to say it was an upline ATC or weather delay when in reality it was a mechanical delay.

You see, the reason why the regionals like to default delays to ATC and WX delays is because they are responsible and get the bill for any amenity voucher given out. The problem is, unless you have an agent who can see what's going on on a bigger scale, most of the time the agent will log in and see PAX PAY and tell their passengers the same.

You have to remember, the gate agents usually focus on their one flight at a time. As a supervisor, I supported that behaviour because that means they will be focusing on the details, printing up paperwork, clearing HKs into seats, clearing upgrades if applicable, taking volunteers if need be, boarding the flight, answering questions, making announcements, tagging baggage/strollers/wchrs/etc, helping folks down to the aircraft or any folks with limited mobility onto flights. The list goes on and on.

I made it my job to verify that each passenger that walked through that door received the same treatment equally. The only problem is that I know what's going on at all gates but not everyone else did. So if there was a delayed flight, I simply asked each agent if they had a question to call me to make sure that whatever given delay code is in the system that it is in fact correct. If what was in there didn't make sense, I would make sure it would get corrected.

It isn't a perfect system. And being out of the airline biz for a year and holding mid-tier status on all three airlines in the US, I know how both sides of the fence feel.

Just an aside and back to the OP for the ATL question. You will not see a whole lot of gate changes to different concourses or even 10+ gates down when it comes to ATL. For one simple, expanded reason. Logistics. Much like any airport, you have people assigned to work the gate and the ramp. There isn't just a single one flight that gets switched around. Let's say you were supposed to arrive at A3 and you see across the alley that B6 is open. Why not turn right instead of left? For one, there won't be a gate agent there nor a ramp. Secondly, let's say that you do go into B6, what happens to the aircraft that is supposed to go there in less time than it takes to turn your flight? Now they have to find another gate or make that aircraft wait. Thirdly, checked bags end up in baggage "piers" when they are transferred from one plane to another. Now potentially 100+ in checked baggage will have to be dropped back into the sort system and brought back to the correct pier. That could take potentially up to 15-20 minutes to do that. Plus, bags have a greater chance of being caught in the system and not making the flight. There are a few other examples to go with this, but the biggest thing is passenger movement. Now you have to get 100+ people from one concourse to another. Someone's running late and when they started running, they saw A3, they get there and now they have to run back to B6.

Waiting 10-15 minutes to park at the gate is annoying, but in the greater scope of things it helps the organized chaos that it ATL or any large hub function, if even for a microsecond better.



Look ma' no hands!
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2697 times:

Quoting xjramper (Reply 9):
You will not see a whole lot of gate changes to different concourses or even 10+ gates down when it comes to ATL.

In the past year, I can count at least 4 I've done. Bad luck?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2838 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2672 times:
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HEAD MODERATOR

As much as I love DL they do have a tendency to make excuses. I was on a DL Connection flight last December and they kept on changing the story until the aircraft arrived at the gate. Then that plane went tech due to an APU fire. There was another DL connection plane at the other gate but it was for a different carrier. They just told us it was broken too. Just tell us straight up. It had been a 5 hour delay at that point, we just want to know what we have to do. I received little help because I have no status. My stepfather who is Diamond Called on my behalf and I was relayed the whole story and my new travel arrangements within 10 minutes. It's one thing to take forever on a 777, but this was a 50 seat CRJ. Similar story in August out of SWF. We were delayed 2 hours the night before. Got to the airport and they said weather, come to find out when we boarded it was due to crew rest. Though I couldn't believe people could still were upset. I for one would like to have a well rested pilot at the controls.
Blue



All of the opinions stated above are mine and do not represent Airliners.net or my employer unless otherwise stated.
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2664 times:

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 11):
Got to the airport and they said weather, come to find out when we boarded it was due to crew rest.

Perhaps a weather delay the day before caused the crew rest issue?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinechootie From Germany, joined May 2007, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2655 times:

Quoting xjramper (Reply 9):
Waiting 10-15 minutes to park at the gate is annoying, but in the greater scope of things it helps the organized chaos that it ATL or any large hub function, if even for a microsecond better.

         AMEN!!! Ain´t it the unfortunate truth!!!!



chootie
User currently offlineMSPNWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 2021 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2555 times:

I can't help but laugh at the premise. Whenever I connect in ATL, I wonder before hand which gate-related delay I'll experience this time.

Quoting xjramper (Reply 9):
Quite honestly in the whole scheme of things, DL pads their schedules with the least amount of time throughout the majors.

Whenever I do a comparison on a single route, DL seems to pad their schedule the most. However all the legacies do it to an extreme amount (for an example, look at the flight times and aircraft of all carriers on LAX-JFK). That's why the current on-time arrival statistics are a bunch of baloney. You have to be very late departing for a flight to not be late on arrival.


User currently offlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2838 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2545 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 12):
Perhaps a weather delay the day before caused the crew rest issue?

That would be my best guess as well. But it is tough to convince pax it is because of weather when it is sunny and 75 out and similar weather at the destination.
Blue



All of the opinions stated above are mine and do not represent Airliners.net or my employer unless otherwise stated.
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