Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 22 Posted (10 years 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7088 times:
I loved the thread regarding stupid statements, but one of them did get me to thinking.
Can an airline cancel a flight because it has a low load factor? I have several friends and family who regularly fly AA Eagle out of ABI, a small airport that used to get very little traffic, and there used to be an afternoon flight that was often cancelled. These people swear that Eagle was cancelling it because there were only 5 or so people on the plane. I have a very, very hard time believing this, because I've flown on DC-10s that had less than 30 people, but of course that was back in the day. Although I have heard rumors (only rumors) that airlines can cancel flights if they are less than half full.
Could it be that Eagle was simply "making up" a mechanical problem due to a small load? I doubt it; that would still cost some $$, right?
I really think these people are full of s*** (even though they're my friends), I just need some hard evidence to back up my side of the story. Thanks.
Aviaction From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 256 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7044 times:
If an aircraft develops a mechanical problem and isn't available, and no back-up aircraft is at hand, the flight is cancelled, quite understandably. However, it is not neccessarily the flight the plane should have operated.
If e.g. the airline has two flight going out at roughly the same time, operating a flight of approx. the same duration, the flight with the lower pax numbers is cancelled. Provided that also the return flight has lower pax numbers or provided that all pax booked can be re-routed/re-booked easily.
However, not only the factual number of passengers is essential, but also how many of them are connecting. The higher the number of connecting pax, the lower the chance of their flight being cancelled.
I am sure the airline that operated the flight with the DC10 you were on, would have loved to cancel the flight entirely ... however, with perhaps 250 odd passengers waiting at your destination for their return flight, it wouldn't have made sense economically.
And, quite naturally, there are airlines that cancel flights simply and purely due to lack of passengers. However, this reason cannot be made public, of course.
Proudtoflyaa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6996 times:
Yeah, they may cancel a flight due to lack of passengers.... because they have to cancel one anyway and they might as well inconvenience the least amount of persons (and those who may be more easily accommodated).
Eagle I doubt will cancel solely for lack of passengers unless they really have to... they are paid on a "fee per departure" so they're getting paid the same whether that flight is full or not.
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 18 Reply 4, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6975 times:
Think about it for a minute - if the plane is at the gate and there are only 5 passengers, what good does it do to cancel the flight for that reason? What if there are 70 passengers waiting for that aircraft at the destination airport? It has a ripple effect down the line if those 70 people can't be accomodated.
MAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 31722 posts, RR: 72 Reply 5, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6940 times:
If I am not mistaken, it is totally illegal for a US airline to cancel a flight due to lack of passengers. The flight must go out assuming there are no mechanical problems. Of course, as it has been mentioned, if there is, for example, a flight leaving to A and B at the same time, with the same type of aircraft, and one of the two aircraft experience mechanical errors, it is best to cancel/delay the emptier flight.
Aviaction From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 256 posts, RR: 2 Reply 7, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6937 times:
Well, the only "legitimate" reason is, of course, a "mechanical". Especially Ryanair is quite frequently accused of doing so (hearsay ... not my factual knowledge!). However, since they pay no compensation anyway and have no interline/connecting traffic whatsoever ... well, I do tend to believe these rumours.
ETA Unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2034 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6913 times:
This happens all the time. I know of one Asian airline that routinely did this, and an Australian one that had so many flights scheduled to operate between SYD & MEL, if the pax number weren't there, the flight simply didn't operate.
As for the reason- none given, just "flight cancelled".
Now in the USA the airlines may need to supply a reason- in that case, simply make one up, becuase let's face it, if the cancellation is logged as mechanical, who is going to check? Many years ago I was on standby for a Delta flight that was cancelled purely because there were only about 5 passengers- and the check-in desk stated that was the reason.
LastBaron From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 290 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6903 times:
Airlines have always had "convenient" mechanical difficulties when the notion strikes them, especially if the flight has low PAX #s across the board or is on a low-density route that is just "dead" occasionally. Officially the govt. supposedly used to keep a check on that, but who knows since deregulation what is still being monitored and what isn't...
Pan Am, in its last years, was notorious for them. I usually didn't mind; the last time it happened, I was scheduled to go to my grandfather's funeral on PAA on IAD-FRA-TXL. Pan Am cancelled the the IAD-FRA leg, claiming mechanical difficulties, which later we were told by PAA in FRA was actually not true. Instead, I had my ticket endorsed and BA flew me IAD-LHR-TXL instead, bumping me up to F for the IAD-LHR leg. I would venture that airlines having financial problems are more likely to do this... TOwer Air was also notorious for developing "mechanical" difficulties at the drop of a hat, as was Mark Air in its death throes... (In the case of Tower and the ratty 747s they flew, who knows... maybe a lot of them actually were mechanical? Ya think? )
Proudtoflyaa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (10 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6843 times:
As long as they accommodate you as required legally or contractually, there isn't really anything you can do about it. They get you to your destination either on time or compensate you for your time. That's all they promised to do when you bought the ticket.
EMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9348 posts, RR: 12 Reply 14, posted (10 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6713 times:
Ssides.... At ABI I'd be a little shocked if they would actually do that. The airplane still has a line to fill, and CX'ng the flight will only causes more cancellations down the line. Anyway, out of ABI you'd still need to fly it back to DFW to get it back in the system, so why CX a flight for low load factors, just to repo it out to the same city empty..?? Also, I'd lean more towards a real MX problem...why..?, because a funny thing happens. Airplanes only tend to break at maintenance bases....and ABI is a MX base.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
EmiratesA345 From Canada, joined Jun 2003, 2121 posts, RR: 9 Reply 15, posted (10 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6690 times:
My friend's father is a CRJ Captain at Air Canada. I have heard numerous stories about how he flew with only 1 passenger onboard. The reason for not canceling the flight is because it needs to be repositioned for the following flight anyway.
If there is no spare in DFW, flight 666 could swap to ship #1 so it can depart with 50 pax.
Now flight 555 with Ship #2, a broke airplane, it would cancel.
Why? DFW-MEM, due to the nature of of the route (being AA hubs in DFW and NW hubs is MEM) it is not hard to re-accommodate 10 pax. Throw the 5 passengers on AA flight, they get to MEM with minimum delay.
However, if we cancel flight 666 just because the plane is broke it it would be very difficult to re-accommodate 50 pax from DFW-MGM on a later flight or on a different carrier because there aren't that many flights between the two cities.
We see this kinda stuff on a daily basis but we really deal with it just case by case. Sometimes it is just best to take a delay and wait until another airplane becomes available or wait until it gets fixed. So I guess you can say a flight could get whacked due to load, not directly but indirectly caused by something else.
Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 22 Reply 17, posted (10 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6602 times:
I know that on several occasions I have been on aircraft bound for ABI that have failed due to mechanical difficulty ... apparently they were probably headed to ABI mostly for that reason.
But I suspect you're right, it was true mechanical problems. Older aircraft like Saabs do tend to break down a bit more. However, if they did decide to cancel, I'm sure there would be plenty of Saabs at DFW to take over the next route.
Aviaction From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 256 posts, RR: 2 Reply 18, posted (10 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6593 times:
about the legal aspects: I know for sure how it works in the IT biz (charter airlines). If the airline - or the tour operator that had contracted the flight (or a portion of the seats) decides to cancel the flight for economic reasons, they can just do it.
What you pay for when you book a package tour (e.g. to Turkey) entitles you to the transportation between two points, however, gives you no right to fly on a specific flight or airline. If the airline or tour operator find other ways of getting you there, they are technically speaking in the clear.
AAnalyst From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 136 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (10 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6536 times:
I think one of the biggest things to remember is that these airplanes all have to be positioned for the rest of their flights. Passengers have a tendency to think of the airline strictly operating around their flight. They don't realize that even if the airplane will fly with 100 seats open, it could very well be on it's way to pick up a completely full load.
Now with that said, as others have posted above, airlines do cancel flights because of loads, but only if they have to. If you have your choice of cancelling a flight that has 20 people booked on it, or a flight that has 130 people, which would you choose? It's kind of a no brainer.
Knowledge is Power. Power Corrupts. - Study Hard, Be Evil
N863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 6 Reply 20, posted (10 years 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 6435 times:
As mentioned by Aviaction, it is necessary to make a distinction here between scheduled and charter airlines (at least here in the US). I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but I do have knowledge of the US system.
Charter airlines (those operating under Part 135) can cancel out any flight, at any time, with no repercussios other than reimbursing those previously booked on the flight for their trouble (IE giving them their money back).
However, scheduled airlines - Part 121 operators - have no such luxury. Three calendar months before flight departure (always), they are required to publish a schedule, to which they must adhere. The only reasons they can cancel any given flight is to mech out the service or to weather it out.
As stated, any other reason, and the airline will be heavily fined. However, this is not to detract - as you all rightly pointed out - that airlines may well mech out aircraft when they are technically perfectly serviceable. I have never heard of this (never really thought about it, to be honest), but that would seem possible. However, if they were caught doing this, then they would likely be heavily fined.
Conversely, however, it is possible (indeed, most common) for airlines to schedule flights up to 331 days in advance for the purposes of booking seats, etc. However, all airlines can cancel their service between the 331 and 90 day deadlines.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 22, posted (10 years 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6084 times:
I know some airlines will merge 2 flights on a given route into just one if demand is low on a given day, and the return pax can be accomodated in the same way. The pax are simply reaccomodated from one flight to another. In theory the change should be phoned out to the passenger to let them know, but often no contact details are available in the PNR and so the pax has a pleasant surprise when they get to the airport. QF definitely do this on busy domestic routes where they flights ever hour - if 2 flights are not full, they become one flight, saves money, and the inconvenience is usually on slight.
N863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 6 Reply 23, posted (10 years 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6044 times:
Airlines can choose ahead of time not to publish that a certain flight will be operating on a certain day. Schedules are daily. That is to say, Delta could schedule a flight from Orlando to Omaha, NE for one day only - and be bound to serve the route. However, once that flight has been flown, they have no constraint requirement to operate it in the future, on other days.
It has nothing to do with "having" to schedule a flight because it was scheduled in the past; it actually works so that schedules can be completely different from one period to another, but that Part 121 carriers just have to publish that schedule 90 days ahead and keep to it. The schedule, however, is for one day only; many flights may recur (indeed, most), but they do not have to do so.
Luv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12010 posts, RR: 50 Reply 24, posted (10 years 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5927 times:
One thing about charter airlines and flights, having worked for a tour operator there are rules you must follow from the D.O.T. One of which is you can not just cancel a flight so many days out with out offering alternative flights at no additional charges. Also all monies collected must be deposited into an escrow account and do not become available to you until after the flight has departed and a waiting period is met.
You can cut the irony with a knife
25 WestJetYYZ: This is often common practice by 2 particular airlines (who I will not name), here at YYZ; that when the loads are very light, will cancel the flight
26 Kingsford: More than two months ago I had a VIE-SYD reservation leaving on 24th December on Lauda Air. That flight got cancelled and it took a while before I cou
27 BR715-A1-30: In Jan 2002, I flew FL from GPT-ATL, and there were only 4 people in Biz and 5 people in coach. 9 in a plane built for 117. They went ahead and flew t
28 SOUTHAMERICA: I've experienced it a couple of times, and always the typical mechanical excuse. You then arrive to the gate and find only 15 people that were suppose
29 Alpha 1: Airlines in general will not cancel a flight simply because "there weren't enough people on it." That's an old wives' tale, so to speak, which countle
30 JGPH1A: Kingsford - I know a LOT of airlines cancel services around Christmas, especially 24/25/26 December, usually about 3 or 4 months out, when they see wh
31 Ahlfors: I had an AA Eagle flight that was cancelled about a month and a half ahead of time and they put me on a flight three and a half hours earlier, informi
32 MaverickM11: "Kingsford - I know a LOT of airlines cancel services around Christmas, especially 24/25/26 December, usually about 3 or 4 months out, when they see w
33 YOW: On First Air, we only operate at about 15% of our normal capacity between Dec 24th and 26th, due to the light demand.
34 Alpha 1: YOW, we aren't talking about reduced schedules here: we're talking about day-of-departure, cancelling a flight because of light loads. And, as I expla
35 ANX4fishing: I once flew AA on a 767 SFO-JFK with around 15 people in coach. We were surprised that the flight was not canceled and that we were not rebooked on a
36 Bosugadl: Well I'm convinced that this is done. When there was service to ORH (Worcester, MA) flights were cancelled all the time for "Mechanical Problems." Thi
37 Alpha 1: once flew AA on a 767 SFO-JFK with around 15 people in coach. We were surprised that the flight was not canceled and that we were not rebooked on a d
38 Broke: There was one American airline (not American Airlines) that did, as a matter of policy, cancel flights that had a low expected load factor. This polic