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UA Flight 889 SFO- PEK Diversion To Harbin  
User currently offlineJayhup From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 456 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 6 months 1 day ago) and read 5104 times:


A co-worker was on yesterday's (30 Nov 04) flight 889 SFO-PEK and it diverted to HRB (Harbin) after PEK was closed due to fog.

After they landed in HRB he overheard the pilot negotiating for fuel.

Question...is HRB on the list of diversion airports for UA on that route? And if so, why would they have had a problem getting fuel or was this an unusual occurrence?



7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 715 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 20 hours ago) and read 4890 times:

HRB for PEK diversions? A bit far from PEK, no? Unless it really needed fuel...I'd thought Tianjin was the "standard" diversion airport for PEK.

User currently offlineUsagypsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 15 hours ago) and read 4703 times:

Tianjin might be but (I live in China) it was also fogged in..... a large portion of the country had heavy fog with visibility in Beijing only 100meters..... they are expecting more fog today...

Reagrding the fuel, they may have had a significant amount of diversions and so fuel might have been running low all around. Otherwise, there might have been a payment issue....

User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 2 hours ago) and read 4509 times:

Fog was covering a large portion of China, but I guess HRB was good enough to handle diversions. Heavy fog falls on great part of China -- Dec 02, 2004

I'm guessing the problem with getting fuel is that UAL didnt have an agreement with the fueler in HRB. If there is no prearranged agreement with the fuelers for payment, it can be quite a hastle having to pay for the fuel. The pilot would have to coordinate with UAL headquarters and the fueler for UAL to be able to wire funds to the fueler.


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User currently offlineGrude1087 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 54 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4407 times:

A number of years ago, I was on a UA flight SFO to NRT which had to make a fuel stop in CTS. Narita also had fog, and with stronger than anticipated headwinds, we wouldn't have had enough fuel to circle waiting for NRT to open.

I was in Business upstairs on the 744. We had similar problems with fuel in CTS because UA doesn't fly there. There were only two bilingual F/A's on board, who were handling the reams of paperwork with the ground crew (none of whom spoke English because there were no more international flights that time of the evening), and I was asked to stand in the cockpit and interpret between the fuel crew and the pilot, which was a huge honor for me. I don't think the captain had to pull out his Amex card, but some arrangements were made via more paperwork.

90 minutes later, we were of the ground en route to NRT. Some passengers were wanting to get off in CTS since that was their final destination, but they were refused because we had to use NRT as our point of entry. I don't think they made their connections.

User currently offlineJayhup From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4363 times:

I heard some more from them today and apparently HRB is a military base first and a civilian airport second. The military guys on duty had never been on a western airliner so when they landed a whole bunch of them came on to the plane and just started looking around! Of course, I can laugh about it but they were worried they'd be stuck 600 miles from Beijing.

As PEK is a regular route for UA I would have assumed that they have plans in place for all reasonable diversion airports...


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4316 times:

Just as a side note, Harbin is the site of China's Ice Festival - some of the most amazing ice sculptures in the world, and most are intrically lit as well. The pictures I have seen are amazing, but for this to take place, it has to be COLD!! As in Minnesota in the middle of winter cold...

Wouldn't that be an interesting side trip? On your way to Beijing and getting a free side trip to an ice festival that most of the world will never get to see? Pack warm clothing!!  Big grin

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User currently offlineMiguel0881 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 75 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4299 times:

I attended the ice festival in Harbin two years ago (it begins first week of January) and it truly is amazing! Harbin is also popular with rich Russians from Siberia who walk around town in fur coats. And it's truly the coldest place I have ever been (much colder than both PEK and MSP)!

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