Sponsor Message:
Travel Polls & Prefs Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
UA Incompetence Holding Flights For Connecting Pax  
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2053 posts, RR: 9
Posted (8 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1571 times:

/Rant

I fly UA a lot between SIN and HKG. The flights ex-HKG to SIN tend to be delayed about 75% of the time, as they wait for pax coming from flights from EWR and SFO (I believe this plane originates in ORD). It's a pain in the ass, but understandable as it would be a bigger pain in the ass for UA to have pax stranded at a mini-hub (if you can call it that) in Asia.

Yesterday, I was flying MIA-EWR-CDG. MIA-EWR was scheduled to depart at 3:53pm and EWR-CDG was scheduled for 8:40pm.

The MIA-EWR flight was initially delayed until 5pm due to late arrival from EWR. OK, understandable given the weather there. We were then scheduled to land in EWR at 7:36pm. Great, still one hour to connect, plus looking at Flightaware, the CDG flight had been departing on average two hours late in the last week.

We started boarding at 4:45pm and around 5:05pm it seems most people were on board. Then the FA came on the PA saying that a few pax had left the gate area and they were looking for them. OK, prob not more than 3-5 people and it was concourse G which is relatively small. By 5:35pm we were still waiting. The FA came on the PA and said that the Captain wanted to go but the dispatcher wouldn't let him go until the plane was fully loaded. I noticed the last few people who got on the plane had been at the gate earlier since 2:45pm! We ended up leaving at 6pm. Double-u, tee, eff? Why did they wait for these people? If they were not at the gate on time, they miss their flight. Tough luck. Buy a new ticket and don't be such an idiot in the future. Also, doesn't the Captain have seniority over the dispatcher?

But this was not the end of the story. We ended up landing at EWR around 8:08pm. After waiting on the tarmac for about 5 mins for some tourists to sit back down, we finally got to our gate around 8:20pm. OK, 20mins, I thought if I walk fast I will make it. By 8:30pm we were still at the gate but the door was closed. Apparently, the jetway driver forgot to show up! Plus, the Captain came on the PA and had promised there would be agents helping get people to their connecting flight, as more than 3/4s of the pax on this plane were connecting in EWR, mostly to Europe.

Finally, by 8:35pm the doors were open. I had to run from gate 113 to gate 96. I got there by 8:40pm and the gate was closed. Great! The one day UA decides to leave for CDG on time... I got to the gate and the agent said sorry, flight is closed. I explained my ordeal and he still hesitated. Luckily there were another 3-4 pax from other flights also late. Finally he reluctantly let us go.

I really do not understand UA. In Miami we waited 1.5hrs for some pax who got lost in the terminal, yet in EWR they wouldn't hold the flight 5mins for connecting pax.

The incompetence of UA is absolutely unbelievable. I know some people on UA 62 to MAD missed their flight and had to wait until today.

Ridiculous.

/Rant over

Cheers
Coal


Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | VA SYD-LAX | VX LAX-FLL | AV MIA-BOG-MIA | VX FLL-LAX | VA LAX-SYD
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8707 posts, RR: 43
Reply 1, posted (8 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1499 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
Why did they wait for these people?

Because they had checked in luggage which would have needed to be unloaded if the flight had left without them. And that takes time, sometimes lots of it.

You had a bad experience with UA, but you made it to your original flight to CDG. The one thing where they really did leave the people on your flight down was when they didn't make sure there was a jetway driver - but even that was resolved quickly, as per your post. Sure, it was one of those pressure cooker situations where problems just pile up and up and up, but I really don't see how this amounts to "absolutely unbelievable incompetence" on the part of UA. Many of us have been through it, most have felt angry, but it's not the end of the world.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9661 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (8 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Often it is a race between finding the people and finding their bags. They may have been trying to offload the bags, but it can be time consuming to find them.

For EWR, you would have likely gone without bags. That is allowable since it was the connection time that forced the bags onto a later flight and not a passenger voluntarily flying separate from their bags.

As for the HKG situation, they hold those flights since the majority of passengers are connecting onto the flight. Domestically you may get up to a dozen people connecting to a certain flight, but in HKG you might have 50-100.

The gate and jetway situation is what was avoidable. Sometimes it happens when flights are late. It isn't necessarily someone forgetting to show up. It is that your flight was late so they had to pull someone from a different flight. There are no excuses since the airport personnel should be able to handle it, but with the bad weather there have been many people calling in sick on top of being short staffed.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7210 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (8 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 1296 times:

Quoting aloges (Reply 1):
Because they had checked in luggage which would have needed to be unloaded if the flight had left without them. And that takes time, sometimes lots of it.

Sure, an offload is anywhere between 5-35 minutes. It doesn't even appear that they went looking for bags? If so that is slightly unusual. I offload people for a living. My ass would be handed to be if I incurred a delay like that without removing them, or without a very good reason. They must have been more of a reason than that to keep them on. (like manpower shortages in loading)

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
Apparently, the jetway driver forgot to show up

- They turn up to what they are rostered if the correct time and gate was in their system - because of the delay on the ground you mentioned they may have had a last minute gate change..the change may even have been to allow for faster transfer for transits..

Sometimes aircraft lose or gain time from the time the captain ACARS the ground Control - when the person is supposed to be somewhere else by the time it turns up then it may cause issues while they source another person. Given how busy EWR will be right now that's going to be the kind of thing that occasionally happens. Also airbridge operators here at least are required to wait until ground headset/engineer indicate they can drive on. Some airlines allow 2 minutes others 3minutes for airbridge application, so 5 minutes not overly much longer..

Remember in the eyes of most airports/airlines. "Offschedule flights" have the lowest, not the highest priority in terms of manpower. If as Roseflyer said they have had a few sick people, then manpower will be stretched to the point that all the overtime in the world won't fill all the tasks required

The incompetence if you can call it that is for not hiring enough people to do the required jobs in the required time. Ground staff the world over are used to taking the heat for it, but in fact sometimes the system is just doomed to failure.
Tight manpower in normal time becomes unachievable under times like described. That is cost-cutting pure and simple and has more to do with the organ grinders than the monkeys..


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5654 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (8 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1279 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
The incompetence of UA is absolutely unbelievable

Says the guy who has no idea how an airline operates:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
In Miami we waited 1.5hrs for some pax who got lost in the terminal

I can guarantee you that you did not wait over an hour for one or two (or even half a dozen) misplaced passengers on a delayed flight. Either you misheard the FA, the FA was lied to, or the FA lied.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
Also, doesn't the Captain have seniority over the dispatcher?

No. There are dozens of people that can make the call for the flight to hold, and neither the captain nor the dispatcher can overrule them.

As far as just dispatcher/captain relationships: they are equals. If they don't agree on something, the default course of action is the flight doesn't go anywhere.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
If they were not at the gate on time, they miss their flight. Tough luck.
Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
yet in EWR they wouldn't hold the flight 5mins for connecting pax.

So if other people are late, tough luck, but if you are late... you should be let on? Funny how that works.

Quoting aloges (Reply 1):
Because they had checked in luggage which would have needed to be unloaded if the flight had left without them. And that takes time, sometimes lots of it.

Not in Miami on a domestic flight. Only on international flights are bags PPBM'd in the US.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7210 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (8 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 1263 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
As far as just dispatcher/captain relationships: they are equals. If they don't agree on something, the default course of action is the flight doesn't go anywhere.

Pilots fly planes safely, that is their job. Pilots don't know Airport operations, just how to fly. While on the ground attached to an airbridge/stairs their jurisdiction is limited to refusing passage of passengers they deem a threat to the safety of the aircraft in flight. If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.

As far as Passengers, and baggage and how things run on the ground, airline Operations Control overrides Captain - and we got that in writing from the big boss. If we say board, he boards, if we say way will not wait for bags, but he wants to then we won't wait. The way airlines especially the size of UA work, it is very hard to know every aspect of an airline, and so each department learns only what they need to know to perform their function.


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9661 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1243 times:

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 5):
If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.

That may be true at some airlines, but not where I have worked. The captain always has the rights to refuse an airplane for a valid reason. I have seen it happen. Usually it is during crew union contract / management problems.. However there are many flight deck deferrals allowable that a pilot may refuse to fly such as autopilots inoperative, nav systems inoperative or ILS degraded. I have had pilots refuse an airplane with an inoperative auto throttle even though the MEL allowed the airplane to be flown in that condition.

On the ground, both dispatch and the captain have to agree or they go no where. I have seen captains and dispatch or ground crew get in conflicts on whether to depart with significant numbers of bags missing, and with water level not serviced before. Until they agree, they go no where and in the end it is always the captains final decision to release the parking brake.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5654 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (8 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1164 times:

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 5):
If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.

A pilot is never obligated to fly a plane he feels is unsafe. The Captain's no-go authority is well established in US law.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineJetsgo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3085 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (8 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1112 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Says the guy who has no idea how an airline operates:

While incompetence might not be my first choice of words...

Is it his job to know airline operations? Is he paid to know whether or not the F/A is lying to him? It's in UA's best interest to provide a consistent product to the customer, which in this case they failed to do without proper reason. Airline employees with attitudes like yours towards customers are a huge downer on the industry.

[Edited 2014-01-09 18:30:38]


Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2053 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1084 times:

Quoting aloges (Reply 1):
Because they had checked in luggage which would have needed to be unloaded if the flight had left without them. And that takes time, sometimes lots of it.

But would it take up to 1.5hrs?

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 3):
Sure, an offload is anywhere between 5-35 minutes. It doesn't even appear that they went looking for bags?

Incidentally once everyone was on board, they did state we had to wait longer for their bags to be loaded. What I found weird about all this is that MIA is not a UA hub, not even a focus city, so there wouldn't have been any connecting pax (perhaps a very low chance, so as to say that everything is possible).

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Says the guy who has no idea how an airline operates

Why do you assume that? And loading bags makes you the preeminent guru on how an airline - nay, a business - operates?

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 8):
Airline employees with attitudes like yours towards customers are a huge downer on the industry

  

Don't understand people like him working in a service industry. Then again maybe that's why he's loading bags and not facing customers.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | VA SYD-LAX | VX LAX-FLL | AV MIA-BOG-MIA | VX FLL-LAX | VA LAX-SYD
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9661 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (8 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1037 times:

Quoting Coal (Reply 9):
Quoting aloges (Reply 1):
Because they had checked in luggage which would have needed to be unloaded if the flight had left without them. And that takes time, sometimes lots of it.

But would it take up to 1.5hrs?

It should not take 1.5 hours and I doubt it did. They don't know someone is not going to show up until the end of boarding. In your description above, you said boarding was "most people were on board" at 5:05pm, and then you ended up leaving at 6pm. It sounds like it was closer to 45-55 minutes. That's a long time to find a bag, but not unthinkeable if only one guy was looking for the bags.

Quoting Coal (Reply 9):
Incidentally once everyone was on board, they did state we had to wait longer for their bags to be loaded. What I found weird about all this is that MIA is not a UA hub, not even a focus city, so there wouldn't have been any connecting pax (perhaps a very low chance, so as to say that everything is possible).

I honestly don't know what could have happened, but there could be baggage problems with the sorting system in MIA. Also, with MIA not being a UA hub, they may outsource ramp loading or have a minimal crew. With your flight being delayed, it may have been competing for resources with another plane. If the same crew was having to work flights to EWR, DEN and IAH at the same time since flights were delayed, it can slow things down. If you have enough guys for 2 planes, yet delays cause 3 to be needing to be loaded at the same time, being short staffed can cause even longer delays.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2830 posts, RR: 45
Reply 11, posted (8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 879 times:

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 5):
If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.

False.

If there is, for instance, an MEL on the aircraft that's legal, the mechanics will sign off the plane. The Captain can (and occasionally will) refuse the aircraft due to operational reasons; I have done so several times and have never been questioned.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 6):
Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 5): If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.
That may be true at some airlines, but not where I have worked. The captain always has the rights to refuse an airplane for a valid reason. I have seen it happen.

Roseflyer, I completely concur with this part of what you said, though to be clear I have never done so due to any reason other than a valid operational reason.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 7):
Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 5): If an engineer certifies a departure aircraft as per mxx manuals then the pilot is pretty much obligated to fly it.

A pilot is never obligated to fly a plane he feels is unsafe. The Captain's no-go authority is well established in US law.

  


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9661 posts, RR: 52
Reply 12, posted (8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 865 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 11):
Roseflyer, I completely concur with this part of what you said, though to be clear I have never done so due to any reason other than a valid operational reason.

I believe almost every pilot is just like you. Unfortunately I have seen pilots refuse an airplane during work slowdowns for reasons that are questionable. I know of one pilot who single handedly caused almost every flight deck window in the fleet to be replaced since he would write up the smallest amount of delamination or fogging which always resulted in a cancelation at non-hub airports since windows are rarely stocked at out stations. That is what I was implying since there are always a few bad apples. However for the most part a pilot refusing a plane is for a valid operational reason. I can definitely understand not wanting to fly a 777 on a long haul flight with an inoperative auto throttle for example.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25459 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 857 times:

Why didn't you take a MIA-CDG nonstop and avoid all the winter weather hassle?

User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2830 posts, RR: 45
Reply 14, posted (8 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 798 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 12):
I believe almost every pilot is just like you.

I think so, and I DON'T deny that this has been used to push personal agendas, I was just pointing out that in most cases when a Captain refuses a plane it is for a valid reason. I know that you know that and I took no offense, I just wanted to make sure that everyone grasped that point.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 12):
Unfortunately I have seen pilots refuse an airplane during work slowdowns for reasons that are questionable.

I don't doubt that at all. I don't turn down a plane very often. The last time was probably 2-3 years ago (unless I'm forgetting something.)


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Any Website Like Google Flights For C Or F posted Fri Mar 29 2013 16:46:09 by planeguy727
Looks Like Global Entry Is Best Bet For IAH Pax posted Thu Mar 7 2013 06:59:55 by GEsubsea
Lots Of Bad Luck For Ryanair Pax On FR5465 To MAD posted Wed Jan 2 2013 06:49:05 by 1stspotter
Popular Flights For "Celebrities" Worldwide? posted Fri Oct 5 2012 10:08:32 by readytotaxi
AA Flights For December 2012 posted Mon Oct 1 2012 06:40:30 by mdsh00
UA Agent Check Loads For Me? posted Sat May 5 2012 08:07:49 by mspdl
Why Doesn't UA Discount Underbooked Flights? posted Sat Apr 21 2012 16:49:59 by ikramerica
Tracing Flights For My Log posted Tue Jan 3 2012 08:03:04 by ThomasCook
UA / CO Reward Flights posted Sat Jul 16 2011 03:00:00 by EIRules
Booking Flights For Thanksgiving? posted Wed Jul 6 2011 19:25:29 by mke717spotter