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Pilots: Ever Arrive At The Wrong Gate?  
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 20
Posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 8578 times:

That has had to have happened at least once if you landed at a new airport. Furthermore, how does the ATC give directions? Or do you know beforehand?

The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 8561 times:

Step 1: Airport maps and Diagrams

Step 2: "United xxx is unfamiliar with the airport, request progressive taxi"

User currently offlineDB777 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 886 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 8546 times:
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I saw numerous screwups at MIA where foreign carriers, sometimes with poor English skills, would taxi into the wrong throat between concourses and not realize that their gate was on the other side of the concourse until it was too late and they couldn't turn around. This would block in any departures from nearby gates until someone could get a paymover over there.

Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
User currently offlineGroundstop From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 611 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 8500 times:

Having worked in the Concourse C Tower as a Customer Service Coordinator for AirTran, I can tell you that it happens every now and then. Gate assignments are given to inbound flights when they call 'in-range', typically 15-30 minutes out. The problem is, sometimes changes are necessary between the in-range call and the time the plane is on the ground. Thats where I stepped in. It was our responsibility to relay the changes to the ramp controller. Every now and then, a ramp controller will forget a change simply because of the number of other things that are going on. Sometimes ramp crews don't verify the proper tail number that they should be parking and inadvertently park the wrong airplane. Still other times, I have seen a captain get so frustrated while holding out for their assigned gate, they would just park the airplane in the first open gate they saw, without clearance or marshallers. Of course that results in A) making multiple gate changes or B) trying to get a tail swap to avoid moving too many passengers. On a 180 minute GDP night in ATL, you can imagine the fun we had up there.


User currently onlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7232 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8371 times:

How does progressive taxi work? In FS they use a pink line but something tells me this doesn't quite happen in real life  Big grin
Do they use things like verbal directions from the ground control, or a follow me car...?

User currently offlineNwfltattendant From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 341 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8352 times:

Progressive taxi is kind of like the same as if I were to blindfold you in a room and tell you where to go step by step. Theyll give you verbal instructions step by step as your moving about the ground

Go yakkin !!!!!!
User currently onlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7232 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8343 times:

Thanks Nwfltattendant, I've always been meaning to ask that question.

User currently offlineBobg From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8248 times:

This might amuse!

A number of years ago, whislt working for the now defunct Zambia Airways and a waiting the arrival of their DC10 at Johannesburg International Airport, a SAA 732 taxied onto the stand. The Captain and those of us on the "bridge" exchanged quizical glances and he then had a word with ATC and reversed the A/C out of the stand using reverse thrust!

I wonder what the PAX must have thought?


User currently offlineFlyguyclt From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 537 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8214 times:

This made me laugh. I am a flight attendant and many years ago I hear the pilots say to one another, "I don't know" as we were taxing to the gate in CLE. I look out the window figured out where we were, got out of my jumpseat opened the flight deck door and pointed them in the right direction. The look on the captains face was priceless, and one of those moments that even to this day when we see eachother in the airport just smile. I guess it pays to be from CLE now and then.

Safe Flying  Smile

Florida Express, Braniff II and ......
User currently offlineCheetajet From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 44 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8181 times:

I have a hilarious one that's still going on!! Harrisburg International has a brand new airport and at least 5 times the Northwest crews taxi up to the old terminal, which has fences and cones all over. They have to turn around and taxi back up the apron!!! I see the ground people laughing all the time now. NWA Airlink does the same thing!! One of the agents told me that he got on a baggage cart and waved the wands to let the Pilots know before they turn off the runway. He got in trouble with the tower and FAA. They said he couldn't do that.....anyway, I commute out of there, so I've been on some of those 'Whoopsie' flights. I just laugh at the guys as I leave and tell them, "No worries".....

I push a beverage cart, so don't go break'n my heart!!
User currently offlineNtspelich From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8000 times:

I'm not a pilot, but last week while working the ramp, our flight decided to park 4 gates down from where it was supposed to be. We just pushed them out and towed them down to the correct gate. No big deal really. I don't know if the pilot told them what was going on, but if not, I'm sure they were more than a bit confused.

United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?
User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7962 times:

Answering the lead question, my answer is when I worked for the airlines..."all the time" except when I was with BN..the colors signified the ship number therefore the crew at the gate knew which plane was which flight.
Heres a true story....at CLE years ago, (not BN)we had an equipment service guy park a 727-100 at the wrong gate. It caused mass confusion with the pax at two gates. We marched them from one gate to another while the agent at the other gate did the same. The refuelers and caterers were also screwed up as they go by ship number as you know.
The E S M got three days off for that blunder, came back to work and the first day back did it again!. I am not kidding!!!
Exit one ESM.

If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7880 times:

Well, marshallers tend to mess up sometimes as well. We more than once ended up taxiing all over the place at VLC because the guy in the follow me car mixed up things... especially during rush hour at 9 pm it can get quite interesting.

User currently offlineAirgeek12 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7751 times:

Here's a story for ya!-

In Colorado, I forgot what airport(s), there was a new pilot that accedentally landed at this old airport- about 100 miles south of the airport he was SUPPOSED to land at. Anyways- he was flying a 767, and that airport had too short of a runway to be able to take them off! So the airline had to may millions of dollars to pay to get the 767 stripped down- so that it was light enough to be able to take off the short runway.

So obveously- this pilot was fired...BIGTIME!!!

User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 5071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7555 times:

This actually happens more often than you might think. I have been working on the ramp at SJC for only 3 weeks and I have already seen this happen to us at least twice. It's rather funny at first, until you realize how messed up it can make things. SJC's terminal A has some lengthy jetways and the plane sits significantly over to the side of where the jetway actually meets the terminal. ( I realize this is common at many airports) On the outside of the terminal the gate number is posted in two places. There is a large gate number posted on the wall above where the jetway meets the building, and the other location of the gate number is at the end of the jetway where the plane meets. Ok now picture this. Lets say you are talking about a plane that is supposed to pull into gate 4 but pulls into gate 5 instead. Most likely, the pilot was looking at the number posted on the terminal rather than the one posted on the jetway as a parked plane points directly to the number of the gate next to it. Think of it from a passengers perspective. Ever sat at a gate and had a plane to look at directly in front of you that is not your plane? Instead, you are looking at the plane parked at the next gate over. Anyway, that is one explaination I have heard as to why pilots pull into the wrong gate. Of couse, the pilots always tell you it's the ground ops fault, or a last minute gate mix-up in the terminal. Heh.

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineMoman From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 7518 times:

Here's one experience I had:

Flying AA from STL-TPA Sept 2003, the pilots must have been TWA pilots who have not been to TPA in a long time. TWA was in Concourse C and AA is in F. TWA used the AA gates after 2001. Well the pilots landed and taxied over towards C which was torn down and being rebuilt. As they were between C & D, the plane stopped for about 20 seconds, and then they turned around and taxied back to the AA gates in F which we had just passed. I sure got a chuckle out of it. A couple other passengers also noticed. Maybe they were wishing it was still TWA...


AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 7482 times:

I am not a pilot either, but one of our planes pulled into gate E-7A (ALPHA), having pulled in without any marshaller or wingwalker.

He was supposed to go to gate E-7B (BRAVO) next door. We pulled him all the way in (in order not to block traffic on the taxiway) and then moved him next door.

So there makes 2 mistakes of pulling in w/o any guides and pulling in to the wrong gate.

Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineMm320cap From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 7248 times:

I have never in my life heard an airline pilot ask for a progressive taxi. We might ask for clarification of instructions, but most times we just look hard at our 10-9 pages (airport map) and do the best we can. I have certainly gotten lost before - gotten a good scolding from ATC, and moved on. As for parking at the wrong gate. I've done that once, and luckily it wasn't that big of a deal. They just moved the next departure to the gate we were parked at.

Now about that passenger last night that was giving me flying lessons from the back....

User currently offlineCory6188 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2741 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 7232 times:

I would think that this could be especially difficult at night in an airport where a pilot has never flown to before. Considering the fact that there are so many different sets of lights on the tarmac and surrounding taxiways, I wonder how pilots manage to figure out where they're going at night.

User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4657 posts, RR: 25
Reply 19, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days ago) and read 7213 times:

Thomas Cook does it fairly regularly at YYC  Laugh out loud

Funny thing is some of their pilots are total snobs! Even though they're flying a charter airline that's almost never on time.


User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4300 posts, RR: 34
Reply 20, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7112 times:

I've never done it...we've been a bit confused before as to where we were supposed to park....but then just look for the marshaller waving frantically at you. Makes it pretty easy.

That plus the 10-9 pages and its a piece of cake.

Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7007 times:

Is there anyone that can verify Airgeek's story. Sounds ridiculous to me.

User currently offlineNeilalp From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1034 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6815 times:

The only Colorado thing I remember was when a TWA MD-80 landed at Craig and slip off the runway into the mud instead of landing at Steamboat Springs Haden (HDN). But Airgeek's does sound out there.

User currently offlineDeltabobo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 209 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6356 times:

One time a US Airways Express (Piedmont) Dash 8-300 taxiied into our gate (DL's gate B-3 at GSP). He came in too far, and couldn't turn around (without hitting the jetway), so he had to reverse the props and back out and went down to his proper gate at A-1.

Dispatchers...saving pilots from themselves and their egos since 1938!
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14968 posts, RR: 61
Reply 24, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6191 times:

When I was still working in pax handling for LH in TXL, often when there was no work, I would go up and visit the tower, just sit there, enjoy the view and watch the ATC controllers work. One day a pilot taxied the wrong way around out of the gate and ended up nose to nose with another plane on a taxiway... he got some corrosive remarks about his beverage from the ATC controllers. It caused quite a mess until they got a tug in to move one plane out of the way...


Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
25 Asuflyer05 : It used to happen all the time at Mesa. Normally it wasn't a huge deal because pilots would be off by one stand so moving passengers wasn't a big issu
26 Flyer737sw : It happens more often than you would think...I have been working at KSJC airport for 3 years and it probably happens a couple times a year...When the
27 Cancidas : i've parked aircraft at the wrong gate sometimes. when working two spots at once you just park the damn thing to get it serviced and out of your hair
28 TWA902fly : There was a Northwest A319 that landed at some air force base i think a bit east of Rapid City, South Dakota, where it was headed. but anyways in resp
29 Post contains images Lehpron : Golly, I didn't know it happened that often, of course the impression I am getting from all the stories so far was what did it. Blame stress? Joking a
30 Ckfred : A friend of mine who flies for AA nearly had this situation. He was a 727 F/O and was taxiing in at ORD, which is his crew base. I don't know if the p
31 Gregviperrt : While working as an Air Traffic Control Trainee in Saskatoon, I instructed an Air Canada A320 to taxi RIGHT on Alpha, left Fox to runway 27. He then r
32 Tiger119 : "Joking aside, would it be that the plane is ever forced to go to the wrong gate just because another delayed flight is still at the your gate when yo
33 Silver1SWA : Whoa! Kevin (Flyer737SW), since when have you started posting here? haha, bout time. You realize we shared the same information/story in this thread r
34 EnviroTO : What I don't understand is why some airports seem so inflexible and others have no problems moving gates around with ease. For example if the gate dir
35 6thfreedom : In Melbourne, australia around 1998, an Olympic Airways flights from ATH via BKK landed in Melbourne. instead of proceeding to the international termi
36 Oly720man : My parents had the opposite at MAN recently when their AA 757 from BOS was about an hour early, but another aircraft was on stand from the previous ni
37 VSLover : ha ha, i was wondering about this! i flew DEN-MKE two weekend back on F9, and since i have been flying in and out of MKE 4 times a week on AA, we woul
38 Ktachiya : This is interesting because when I was spotting a few days ago, this happened to CA at YVR. The plane landed and was directed to taxi into the apron v
39 ZKSUJ : Wow, looks like it is a very common occurence. I can not recall it happening at AKL though (although AKL is a small airport)
40 Daddad525 : The wrong gate is 41 at terminal 3 at LHR. It's so far away from the main terminal I am not even sure which country it is in. Best wishes to BAA from
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