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Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?  
User currently offlineAirline7322 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 105 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2791 times:

I was curious as to why Dulles ground and ramp operations are so poorly run? The Independence Air pilots always seem to complain about the ramp operations and ATC at their forum, and whenever I fly through Dulles I end up waiting at least half an hour for my baggage (Jetblue is the exception, I've never waited more than 10 minutes). Does anyone care to shed light on this mystery?


"Good ideas must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGroundstop From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 611 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2751 times:

Well, I'll at least speak to the baggage pickup part. While 30 minutes is a long time, its not unacceptable. Consider the number of flights that JetBlue operates into IAD. Then look at I-Air. JetBlue could have one driver whose specific function is to take all the local bags off that one inbound and bring them to the bag belt. On the other hand, that would be impractical with I-Air's operation. Instead, one driver might have to pick up 3 or 4 flights worth of bags before making the trip to the bag belt. If you were on the 1st of the 4 flights on his pickup list, it'll be a bit...if you were on the last, it wouldn't be long at all.

JP


User currently offlineIairallie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2712 times:

Jet blue actually has 2 dedicated drivers when fully staffed. I used to work their ramp. They also do not have large amounts of connecting traffic.

User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2682 times:

Most of the ground operations at Dulles are performed by contractors and employees of low cost carriers who get paid about 9 to 10 bucks an hour for hard work in miserable conditions. DC area has a very high cost of living and anyone with skills tries to work elsewhere. From what I can tell, most of the contract ramp worker speak very little English and can't read a baggage tag. The airlines and passengers get what they pay for. The United Express operation is performed by contractors and they are horrendous. Lost bags and missed flights cost a lot of money. United mainline at Dulles is still relatively well paid union workers and their operation runs smoothly. Again, you get what you pay for. If your bag doesn't arrive with you, think about how really motivated is the low paid immigrant or low skilled American to try to get your bag to you? Most could care less.

[Edited 2004-09-13 03:30:19]

User currently offlineTOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2664 times:

Yeah, too bad the passengers are no longer willing to pay for those union workers to throw bags for 'em.... They want the cheap ticket, and are willing to wait for their bags...

User currently offlineAirline7322 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2647 times:

I've also heard that some airlines contract airport employees (not contractors) to load and offload baggage at Dulles. Is that true at other airports? Although it's plausible that that Jetblue handles less traffic at Dulles, then how do they consisently beat their competitors in terms of offloading baggage at their hub airport, JFK, where they are one of the leading carriers in terms of flights?


"Good ideas must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2592 times:

Union or not union, the worker is there to work and put bread on his/her table. Be it a regular bread or a fancy all-grain which the unionized worker can afford, there should not be much difference in the level of efficiency between the workers (as long as they are feeding themselves  Smile ). When it comes to a job, and especially during these times where jobs ain't easy to find and layoffs are occuring, a worker would not be slacking since he/she is not getting paid as much as the other guys (would those who were furloughed from unionized jobs at the big airlines and now work with these smaller companies want to loose their jobs?).

So, if there are issues at I-Air, then the company itself is to blame, as maybe there are not enough employees to look after baggage handling, or they need to look at their procedures and fix them accordingly. If B6 adds more flights, I do not doubt that they will stick it out with this one driver since other airlines get their drivers to do up to 5 flights at a time. Right? Also, what is the driver to flight ratio at UA? Do its procedures/equipment differ from i-Air?

Now, as for the unionized guys, from my personal experience, all of the unionized jobs that I have had (none are in the airline industry) had staff that pretty much worked 'work-for-rule' and did the bare minimum and without any initiative because their jobs were relatively protected and they had better chances to grieve anything as small as a peanut, and those positions were also mostly overstaffed (through negotiations) which somewhat facilitates this.

What it really comes down to for these airlines who contract out this type of work is to look at the performance and press on the contracting company or look elsewhere, including in-house.


User currently offlineGraham697 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 350 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2578 times:

It took almost 35 minutes for my bags to come off a Ted flight from TPA, I thought that I was at the wrong belt for about ten of those minutes. I think MWAA should look into Automated Baggage sorting, it works wonders at TPA and eventually will be at ATL. Although, the current projects are pretty important and expensive.


Looking forward to the new AA
User currently offlineIairallie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2552 times:

I waited an hour once for the first bag to come off a UAL flight at IAD. After 45 minutes I hunted down a baggage agent and told them the bags never came. They were totally unaware of the situation. 15 minutes later they made a PA said that someone had "forgotten" to bring them over.

User currently offlineN1120a From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26423 posts, RR: 76
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2474 times:

Funny, WN has well paid union workers on their ramps and seems to be able to sell their tickets cheap


Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineTonyBurr From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1030 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2469 times:

What is the problem? One word - Unions

User currently offlineVenuscat2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 478 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2339 times:

How does baggage work at IAD? Outgoing bags go from the airline, to the TSA, and back to the airline, the airline hand sorts it, and drives it out to the plane? Doesn't sound very efficient. They should have an underground system that at least drops them all off at the concourse.

I noticed that there were about 5 airlines coming off of carousel six. There's quite the crowd when there's a mainline flight and a couple regionals at the same time.


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