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20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather  
User currently offlineTercer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 142 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10500 times:

Well John Stossel did a horrible job of conveying the reasons for delays in the NAS on his “I wish I could be a Myth Buster too Show” last night on 20/20.. I love this quote by their expert, an unknown Columbia University Economist who has studied 12 years worth of flight delays. This master of industry has, though a miracle of enlightenment straight off the shores of Lake nonsense, shown us all the path to an easy fix for everything.

Quote:
When two-thirds of the days you're delayed, you can't say that it's bad weather." Mayer says the airlines deserve the blame. "The airlines choose their schedules," he said

Check the rest of the story out here

[Edited 2006-05-13 21:23:28]


It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
76 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21582 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10440 times:

He's absolutely right.

If you are constantly delayed due to weather, then a rational business would change their schedule to allow for more time to turn and deal with it.

It's how some airlines with snowy or rainy hubs don't have the same delays that other airlines do on a seasonal basis.

Think of it as "just in time" flight scheduling. B6 does it, and they suffer the consequences. In my experience, CO pads their schedules for just such problems and even with weather or other delays departing, we get in on time quite often.

Weather may be unpredictable on any one day, but seasonally, you know what to expect. Not planning for it is your fault. But because the airlines can get away with NOT COMPENSATING for weather delays and cancelations, why on earth should they care? It's "not their fault."

The only price you pay is if you become known as the "late" airline. B6 is starting to have that problem.

Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineTercer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10353 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.

Not exactly correct since airport capacity issues is due to the lack of upgraded technology on part of the FAA. The equipment the controllers are using is +20 years old were as the aircraft they are separating have the latest high tech gadgets on board (The 777 can take off out and fly to an imaginary point in the sky within +/- 1 min and +/- 2 miles of plan) The continued usage of ground based navigational aids, old controller equipment and separation rules written in the 40s is a major contributor to the constraints currently plaguing the National Airspace System (NAS). With the future moving towards no more land based nav aids and programs like RNP SAAAR (Required Navigation Procedures Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP SAAAR enables improved capacity and arrival efficiency through parallel approaches to closely-spaced runways at busy airports during Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC))) we will see capacity increases at the airports but as with all things .gov the pace is slower than a snails crawl. That said with capacity increases you will see that airlines grow to meet the new standards.

As far as airlines over scheduling, well if Continental tried to de-peak its EWR Hub then rest assured other carriers (like B6) would back fill will that freed up arrival space. Airline completion is fierce and with LCC basically controlling the domestic pricing market the last thing an airline needs is to allow one to get a foothold in a HUB (See Deltas mistake with ValuJet/Airtran at ATL) because once there they will undercut the dominate airlines pricing power and ability to make money domestically..

More on RNP SAAAR

[Edited 2006-05-13 22:38:06]


It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
User currently offlineWJ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10329 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.

You are forgetting that airlines are a business like any other and getting people to their destination is second in importance to the bottom line. It's all about how many segments you fly or how many seats you sell. True enough that over time you are going to get a bad rap if you are constantly delayed but overall, airlines rarely pad schedules or do anything to account for weather issues in their budgets because they can't afford to. Airlines are strapped for cash as it is and if they do not attempt to maximize revenue at every turn, they are going to hear it from their share holders and boards.



146,727,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739,742,743,744,752,753,762,763,764,772,300,310,319,320,321,330,343,DC9,D10,MD11,M80,E17
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10306 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Think of it as "just in time" flight scheduling.

That's a great way to put it, and I wanted to build upon that with a couple of items that Stossel and others in the media just don't seem to understand.

First off, just about every US airline I can think of schedules this way, since higher aircraft utilization rates result, and efficiency is the name of the game these days. Accordingly, the more the aircraft are in the air, the more they're generating revenue, which they don't do while sitting on the ground. For this same reason, one doesn't see dedicated "spare" aircraft very often, if at all at some places.

Secondly, what many media types fail to understand is that aircraft don't just exist for the purpose of a specific flight (like the one they're about to get on, or just got off from). An aircraft's daily schedule consists of multiple flights that are linked togther as far as aircraft, crew, maintenance scheduling, and other factors go.

Let's say an aircraft is scheduled to originate at SAN first thing in the morning, and is scheduled to end up in BWI at the end of the night, and then look at some common scenarios.

[SANPHX] [PHXHOU] [HOUMCO] [MCOMDW] [MDWMCI] [MCIMDW] [MDWBWI]

1/ If the weather is great everywhere, there are no mechanical breakdowns anytime during the day, and there are no ATC/connection issues, the aircraft will run on-time all day, and have a optimal utilization rate for the day.

2/ Oops! SAN is below takeoff minimums due to fog, and stays that way for 2 hours past the scheduled departure time for the SAN-PHX flight. That means the whole "line" of flights that aircraft is scheduled for will all also be 2 hours late. When the folks down the line in PHX, HOU, MCO, MDW, MCI and BWI ask why their respective flights are 2 hours late and are told "weather", they tend to look outside and the weather there and, seeing it's great, thus think that they're being lied to.

3/ One of the things that my office does is try and mitigate/eradicate the delays by tweaking the schedule. Let's say, as before, SAN is fogged in. Since there's also a PHX-SAN flight (on another line) that's not going anywhere because of the same SAN fog, we could possibly use (if they're legal, crew time-wise) that aircraft/crew for the PHX-HOU flight and others down the line. Another option might be to run the line 2 hours late from SAN until reaching MDW, and then canceling the MDW-MCI and MCI-MDW flights (if there was suitable passenger protection for them on other flights) and then use the same aircraft for the MDW-BWI flight, which would now be back on-time.

The above is just a simplistic example, and you can imagine how much more complicated it gets when applied to a fleet of hundred of aircraft, dozens of cities, and all the operational variables involved. An airline can "pad" its schedule (to some degree) to compensate for volume-related issues (like a hub), but most of the variables are transient in nature and defy suitable advance planning. An airport may fog-in one day, but not the next. If it does fog-in, it may be for 1 hour, or 2, or 6. If thunderstorms pop-up somewhere, will they impact the airport at 11am, 2pm, or 6:30pm? If they do, will they skirt the airport, or make a direct hit? Are they slow-moving storms that will stay around for 2-3 hours, or are they moving through at 40 knots?

It's these kinds of variables that make it damn near impossible to build a schedule that has enough "slack" in it where you can recover from delays, not to mention trashing the aircraft utilization rate. It's sort of similar to having a spare aircraft. If you had one available, exactly which one of your 50-100 cities would you position it in? Murphy's Law usually dictates that if an aircraft breaks down in LAX your spare will be in BWI.

If Stossel et. al. had even a remote understanding of all this, and more, he wouldn't have made (I hope) some of the statements that he did on the program...

[Edited 2006-05-13 22:49:17]

User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2408 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10252 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
He's absolutely right.

From my experience, I think he is right too.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Weather may be unpredictable on any one day, but seasonally, you know what to expect. Not planning for it is your fault.

Great example: I fly TPA to ATL on FL from time to time. The 6am or 7am flight will be delayed because the pilot is not qualified to fly IFR under certain minimums and they have to call in another pilot who is qualified. This happened just last Monday. I miss my connection in ATL and asked for some meal money because the next flight to where I am going is not until 5pm. I have to wait almost 8 hours at ATL because they did not have a qualified pilot in Tampa. They denied the meal because of...ta da...weather delay.

Weather delay my ass.

It was not having a qualified pilot scheduled to run from Florida to Atlanta. I told the CSA that, but she could hardly speak english anyway. I persisted and asked for her supervisor and finally got an $8 food voucher for my persistance. And I will bet you that flight went in the books as a weather delay.

And this is not an isolated incident with FL. It has happened to me at least four times over the last year. This was the only time I missed my connection.


User currently offlineJjbiv From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1226 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10209 times:

Stossel's argument is akin to saying that we should get rid of rush hour on the roads by spreading out work schedules so everyone isn't trying to go in the same direction at the same time. The fact of the matter is that demand for flights peaks in the morning and early evening to coincide with most peoples lives. Airlines, operating in a competitive marketplace, are behooven to meet this demand from their customers. Likewise, the efficiencies we gain by having most workers available to collaborate and conduct business from 9-5 imposes a relatively small cost on society in terms of commuting congestion. Analyze the delays that do occur for their most proximate cause and then useful results may be obtained. Although I generally like Stossel's willingness to challenge accepted beliefs, he gave this issue a gloss job in his quest to address 10 topics in 60 minutes (gross of commercials.) I doubt he would have reached the same conclusions upon digging deeper into the matter.

joe


User currently offlineTercer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10184 times:

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
I have to wait almost 8 hours at ATL because they did not have a qualified pilot in Tampa

Most likely not Category II qualified, unfortunately pilots bid their pairing so they tend to fly what they bid, As far as waiting for the new crew member, pilots are protected, under most contracts, to a minimum amount of hours to report when called out. Not an excuse but trying to shed a little light on your situation.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
They denied the meal because of...ta da...weather delay.

Another answer you may not like but the original cause of the delay was weather driven due to fog; again this is just speculation on my part since.

Here is another explanation I posted on CBS site to Mr. Stossel


MYTH: The published reason for these delays is often weather because it improves their ratings and they don't have to pay for hotels for people who miss their connections and are stuck in a strange city for an evening. However when the published reasons for these delays are other than weather or safety they have to foot the bill for everyone's accommodations for the night.

The conditions at your departure and arrival stations may be sunny without a cloud in the sky but delays defined as weather are not necessarily Terminal issues or "weather at the airport". Enroute weather can too cause delays in the form of re-routes, Mile in Trail restrictions (the spacing between aircraft e.g. 20 miles between each plane), Ground Stops and Ground Delays Programs (GDP) at the Terminals in support of SWAP (Severe Weather Avoidance Procedures). A GDP basically makes an airport Slot Controlled, assigning an arrival time to each flight operating into that airport causing extensive delays (anywhere from 60-210 minutes) and anyone who has flown into the NY Metro area knows what this is. The dynamics of the airspace in the North Eastern US is very complex and when things are not running perfectly with zero weather some sort of Traffic Management Initiative (TMI) is needed. TMI’s are coordinated with the airlines and ATC facilities through the ATCSCC (Air Traffic Control System Command Center), as seen on the Myths report as the room with the big screens. The ATCSCC, ATC field facilities and airlines discuss via phone conferences the impacts of the weather and collaborate on a plan of operation every two hours. This is a daily process that includes a large amount of people trying to balance a safe operation with the needs of both the enroute ATC facilities and the airlines. The Airlines, for the most part, advocate NOT having any TMI’s in place as it cost them money in excess fuel, Crew Cost, aircraft logistics (see OPNLguy post) and customer re-accommodation as well as work very hard to keep their operations running as published on a daily basis. Unfortunately during these planning conferences there is not always an agreement on how to operate the NAS (National Airspace System) so the ATCSCC, with the ultimate decision on the plan of operation, usually chooses the most conservative approach to the situation (thus delays using TMI’s).

MYTH: I fly extensively in my job and have experienced "weather delays" during clear, sunny days. The real reason for this is often airline overselling flights, overloading planes and air traffic.

Clear sunny days does not mean you are going to have a delay free day because there is another weather phenomenon that has a very large impact on operation that you cannot see … WIND. Winds and runway configuration (what runways are used for landings and takeoffs) are a major cause of delays and too drive both Ground Stops and Ground Delay Programs. Take Chicago (ORD) or example, on a good day 100 flights per hour can land using multiple runways but if you get a strong sustained crosswind or a tailwind in excess of 10 knots that does not allow for a good runway configuration that number can drop between 72-80 flights per hour and that is the ultimate reason you are delayed.



It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10184 times:

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
Great example: I fly TPA to ATL on FL from time to time. The 6am or 7am flight will be delayed because the pilot is not qualified to fly IFR under certain minimums and they have to call in another pilot who is qualified.

What this sounds like is a case of a newly-upgraded captain being on "high minimums" (for landing) for the first 100 hours of his/her being a captain. The normal ILS landing minimum is 200-1/2, and hign mins captains have to add an extra 100-1/2 to that, so their landing minimums are 300-1. Once they've logged 100 hours as captain, they revert to the regular 200-1/2 mins.

If a destination is forecasted to be anywhere near the 200-1/2 normal minimums, most airlines will try to shuffle the captain assignments around (often at the last minute) so that the high mins guy is re-assigned to a flight heading to a destination with better weather, and let a "normal" mins guy fly to where the fog is. Sometimes, this is not possible, especially when the weather (like ATL, I suspect) deteriorates with little/no warning.

[Edited 2006-05-13 23:35:24]

User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10133 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 1):
He's absolutely right.

I agree with you.

Quoting Jjbiv (Reply 6):
Stossel's argument is akin to saying that we should get rid of rush hour on the roads by spreading out work schedules so everyone isn't trying to go in the same direction at the same time.

Maybe flexi-time should be considered in the workplace. It works in South Africa, so I can not see why it would not be feasible in some industries in the USA. E.g. all workers don't start-and stop working at the same hours during the day. The norm in South Africa is a 08h00-17h00 workday, with a 60min lunch break. With flexi-time some people start as early as 06h00-07h00 in the morning, but get to leave at 15h00-16h00 in the afternoon.  twocents 


Rgds

SA7700



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10079 times:

OPNLguy, your WN example is quite clear - but lets look at a different approach - super-hubs like ATL or ORD. Now we're looking at bad weather at one airport only.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have an impression that a single cloud within 100 miles from ATL causes avalanche delays throughout DL system. How often ATL and ORD run on-time by 8 pm? I would imagine 4, at most 5 days a week. Would it be reasonable to assume that at least hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes?


User currently offlineFlightopsguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 10023 times:

Quoting Tercer (Reply 7):
The Airlines, for the most part, advocate NOT having any TMI�s in place as it cost them money in excess fuel, Crew Cost, aircraft logistics (see OPNLguy post) and customer re-accommodation as well as work very hard to keep their operations running as published on a daily basis. Unfortunately during these planning conferences there is not always an agreement on how to operate the NAS (National Airspace System) so the ATCSCC, with the ultimate decision on the plan of operation, usually chooses the most conservative approach to the situation (thus delays using TMI�s).

Actually, speaking as someone who actually does this job everyday, most of the airline ops coordinators are pretty good at being realistic (with a couple of exceptions...folks totally disconnected from reality in my opinion). Most of us are pretty good at knowing when to "gamble" with the operation. There usually is a valid CDM process, and often the people advocating the most conservative approach will be the individual facilities such as a center TMU, or a Tracon, who simply refuse to work the traffic. After June 1st, a new Airspace Based Traffic Flow initiative will be available to the NAS. Instead of just delaying major hubs for say, big thunder in the Ohio valley which can almost shut down Cleveland center (ZOB), ALL airlines and NBAA operators flying through the thunderstorm area will be issued delays, whether you are flying LGA-ORD or PVD-MKE. This will at least spread the pain around a bit.



Sorry I didn't catch the Stossel report. Lots of non-airline people think that the delays are just a big plot by the airlines to sell more drinks. What they fail to see is that every minute of delays costs a carrier from $25-100 with the extra crew pay, engine and airframe time, lost conex pax, crew legalities at the end of the day, missed maintenance opportunities, etc. A major carrier at it's hub will incur tens of thousands delay minutes during a single event.

The FAA website, www.fly.faa.gov/ois has some good info in the "Tier Info" about the various runway configurations and arrival rates for most of the major/pacing airports in the CONUS.

To conclude, unless there are FAA mandated slot requirements, airlines will sked up to and over even the best arrival rate. Just part of the business.



A300-330 BAC111/146/J31/41 B99/1900 CV580 B707-777 DC8/9/10 L188/1011 FH227/28/100 SB340 DO228 EMB2/170 CR2-900 SH330-60
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9973 times:

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 10):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have an impression that a single cloud within 100 miles from ATL causes avalanche delays throughout DL system. How often ATL and ORD run on-time by 8 pm? I would imagine 4, at most 5 days a week. Would it be reasonable to assume that at least hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes?

It might seem like a single cloud will have that effect at ATL (and elsewhere), but one of the main "triggers" is a big airport's ability to conduct "visual approaches" (VAPs) to the airport. The weather requirements (cloud ceiling and visibility) vary by airport (and they're nowhere near the normal ILS CAT-I 200-1/2 landing minimums), but for the sake of simple example, let's call the VAP mins at ATL as a minimum 3,000 foot cloud ceiling and a minimum 5 miles visibility (3000-5). As long as the ATL weather permits the use of VAPs, the airport acceptance rate (AAR) will be at optimum (assuming no runways closed, of course). Let's also assume the resultant AAR with VAPs is 120 per hour.

Oops, now an overcast deck came in at 2,000 feet, and/or the visibility dropped to 4 miles. So, now no VAPs (full ILSes instead) and the AAR drops from 120 an hour to 80 an hour. Problem then becomes there are 120 aircraft within an hour of ATL, and you only have the capacity to land 80 of them. So,
some of them have go into holding patterns. To manage demand, as Tercer pointed out, the ATCSCC will impose a groundstop and/or a ground delay program on flights yet to depart from XYZ-ATL. Whereas Southwest might cancel roundtrips here and there to help recover the schedule, a big carrier like Delta with "waves" or "banks" of flights into their ATL might cancel an entire bank or two.

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, alot depends upon the exact timing of the "triggering" weather event, as well as it's duration. ATCSCC, as well as some of the larger airlines have Met folks on staff, and are generally pretty good about forecasting the development/duration of such conditions and can thus issue groundstops/delay programs in anticipation of the conditions. Other times, the triggering condition appears suddenly and without warning, or occurs earlier than planned, or lasts longer than anticipated. Sometimes it may clear by 8pm, other times not. Another factor in getting an airline back on-time is how many flights you can cancel to make up time yet adequately protect the passengers off the cancelled flights. During the week when loads are often lighter, it's alot easier to do so than a Friday or Sunday when flights are more likely to be full.

Back to your original question re: "hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes", I think that can apply to just about any airport. It's just that mega-hubs are all that more susceptible to disruption because of the sheer volume of flights.


User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2408 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9937 times:

Quoting Tercer (Reply 7):
Another answer you may not like but thernoriginal cause of the delay was weather driven due to fog; again thisrnis just speculation on my part since.

Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com. The schedulingrnshould have been adjusted. Or, the passengers should have been takenrncare of.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 8):
What this sounds like is arncase of a newly-upgraded captain being on "high minimums" (for landing)rnfor the first 100 hours of his/her being a captain. The normal ILS landing minimum is 200-1/2, and hignrnmins captains have to add an extra 100-1/2 to that, so their landingrnminimums are 300-1. Once they've logged 100 hours as captain, theyrnrevert to the regular 200-1/2 mins.

Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?


User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3539 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9875 times:

Although the Premise of this idea is fairly accurate, the article is probably the poorest written of any Television based website newsarticle I have ever seen.


Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9868 times:

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com. The schedulingrnshould have been adjusted. Or, the passengers should have been takenrncare of.

A generalized forecast of "fog" 24 hours out is pretty much useless from an operational standpoint, IMHO. The closer one gets to the time of the flight's planned ETD/ETA, the more specific the forecast is. Even then, if ATL had been forecasted at 3 miles in fog (no big deal minimums-wise), it could have easily cratered at the last minute, hence the last-minute scramble to find a non-high mins guy/gal.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):

Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?

I'd say it's just your bad luck. We've run into similar problems in the past, but they've abated as we've grown larger, with more resources to choose from from being a larger size. The inconvenience aside, just remember that it's being done with regulatory compliance and thus your safety in mind.

True story. Years ago, fog rolled into HOU unexpectedly one evening and took it right down to the normal 200-1/2 minimums. Aircraft 1 through 4 made it in, aircraft 5 was a high mins guy and diverted, and aircraft 6 behind him made it in. Some of the passengers were questioning how #1-#4 and #6 could get in but not #5, and the ticket agent (who, I'll point out, was well-versed in ticketing matters but not operational details) told the folks that #5's captain "was new and didn't have much experience." Of course, the guy had thousands of hours before having become an F/O, as well as flying as a SWA F/O--he just hadn't yet accumulated that requisite 100 hrs since he had upgraded to captain. Naturally, that's not the way it came across to the passengers at the gate... I learned alot about customer service that night...  Wink


User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9868 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 12):
It's just that mega-hubs are all that more susceptible to disruption because of the sheer volume of flights.

thanks for technical insight into the problem!
However, let's try to look at all that from passenger point of view:
Schedule, which is being screwed up, was completed months in advance, with certain assumptions about airport/airway/terminal throughput. Reduced throughput at remote location would affect those going to/from those destinations anyway, and probably less likely to cause a problem - at least looking at local ALB, which appears to be very far from runways capacity.
Hub throughput problem, even if treated very professionally, affects every flight for the airline. Going back to your example, would building the schedule around capacity estimate of 80/hr solve at least some problems?
Well, I know the airline answer - everything is about bottom line, and pax are good for that only while at ticket counter. And as far as I understand, airline is ultimately going to benefit from those cancellations. Just some additional expences - airline not responsible for pax compensation- but gets less fuel burn due to canceled flight, less paid crew hours, airframe hours/cycles etc.- but tickets are already paid for, ultimate load factor is higher (more re-accomodated pax filing extra seats) and scheduling frequency (marketing) is not affected. I know I'm oversimplifying, but still...
Meanwhile, scheduled frequency reduction would hurt bottom line, even if ultimately exactly same number of flights take off.
I believe ORD slot control is discussed monthly on the forum- isn't that effectively similar limitation on scheduling?..


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9837 times:

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 16):
Going back to your example, would building the schedule around capacity estimate of 80/hr solve at least some problems?

Yes, from an operational/customer service point-of-view, but the folks up the Finance Department I'm sure would take issue with it...  

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 16):
I believe ORD slot control is discussed monthly on the forum- isn't that effectively similar limitation on scheduling?..

In essence, it is, but it too is dynamic in nature. ATL is pretty simple (4, er, now 5 parallel runways, but ORD has 3 sets of parallels that are oriented differently (09-27, 04-22, 14-32), and the number of possible runway configurations and AARs vary more widely. (Ironically, one of their configurations is called "Plan-Weird"). On days when the weather, winds, and runway conditions (wet or dry) allow, they run great. Other days they don't.

Historically, I think, the general rule is you have (and plan/schedule for) normal ops the majority of the time, and you tolerate the few times (whatever lesser percentage) that you don't. Unfortunately, the percentage of abormal ops time (at some places) has gone up to the point where it's more of a "norm"...

[Edited 2006-05-14 02:08:50]

User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6118 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9824 times:

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com

Airlines don't leave early. If the weather is forecast above minimums for that plane and crew, then that plane is going. While things may look peachy when the flight is planned, the NWS can, and will, change a forecast on the fly, and that will stop that flight from operating on time, if at all. At outstations, there is not much that can be done to remedy this situation.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?

He could be 23 and it being his first time being PIC at an airline, or he could be 59, getting ready to retire, and still be freshly minted on the type. The regulations are very specific as to what the minimums are.

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 10):
but lets look at a different approach - super-hubs like ATL or ORD.

When weather comes to cities such as these, the mass amount of traffic that is scheduled in has to be spread out in order to avoid holding, or other possible congestion. That massive low that's been sitting over Lake Michigan for the past 3 days did it's fair share of damage to ORD on Thursday and Friday, leaving traffic limited to 35 planes per hour at one point on Thursday, which left some flights dangling with 5 hour flow times. Not fun at all, but it wasn't the marginal VFR ceilings that were causing the problems; rather, it was the wind and MDW operations that were limiting the usable runways at the time.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineSaturn5 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9824 times:

Quote:
"The Federal Aviation Administration told us that 70 percent of air traffic delays were caused by weather.
......

"The explanation of weather just isn't true," said Columbia University economist Chris Mayer, who has studied 12 years of flight-delay data. "When two-thirds of the days you're delayed, you can't say that it's bad weather."

Mr. Professor economist - maybe a lesson in logic would be necessary here. Saying that "70% of traffic delays are caused by weather" has completely different meaning than "you are delayed two-thirds of the days". But maybe it is too complicated to Herr Professor. I think I will make sure not too attend any lectures by this 'brilliant' economist.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9804 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
the NWS can, and will, change a forecast on the fly,

...and usually, right after the SPECI is issued...  Wink


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6118 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9792 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 20):
...and usually, right after the SPECI is issued..

Gotta love AFTcasting.  Wink



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9783 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
That massive low <..> did it's fair share of damage to ORD on Thursday and Friday, leaving traffic limited to 35 planes per hour at one point on Thursday, which left some flights dangling with 5 hour flow times. Not fun at all, but it wasn't the marginal VFR ceilings that were causing the problems; rather, it was the wind and MDW operations that were limiting the usable runways at the time.



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 17):
Unfortunately, the percentage of abormal ops time (at some places) has gone up to the point where it's more of a "norm"...

GoldenShield - I'll let OPNLguy to handle MDW traffic issue  Smile - but my own ultimate question is about planning, which is ..ahm.. not very realistic at some places, and ORD is one of such places I believe. I know it really hurts when winter suddenly comes in December without any early warning  duck  - but maybe some weather statistics can be used to estimate what can really be expected? never mind, Accounting would never believe in that anyway  Sad


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9768 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 21):
Gotta love AFTcasting.

Can't remember which airport it was for (there have been so many of late, it seems) where they were forecasting Chamber of Commerce VMC yet radar showed big line/blob of TSRA heading straight for them for the past 3-4 hours. The amended TAF was issued at :38 now calling for 1SM +TSRAGR starting at :00 (22 minutes warning). Gee, thanks for the scoop. We think the thunder woke them up...  Wink


User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11969 posts, RR: 62
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9709 times:

I actually like John Stossel, and find many of his programs -- including last nights -- pretty intersting and, at the very least, thought provoking. However, I think he paid a little too much attention to the issue raised by the ATA representative in the piece he did about airline delays last night, namely, that the ATA guy said that ATC delays due to congestion were really due to customers.

That's the story of life. Airlines don't randomly assign flight times because the throw darts up on a big wall clock and decide, gee, 1730 would be a great time for a flight from LaGuardia to O'Hare. They do it because people want to fly at that time. As usual, it's easy to point the finger at airlines, but really, passengers need look no further than themselves if they wish to assign blame.

Airlines (and any rationally-run company that seeks profit) don't do anything for the fun of it, or unless they feel it is economically viable. Airlines schedule flights at peak times (i.e., 0700am on a Monday, or 1700 on a Friday, because they enjoy low aircraft utilization. They do it because people want to fly at those times, and because people are willing to pay more -- and wait longer in air traffic -- to be able to fly at those times.

If people want to avoid delays -- tell them to fly at 1000 or 1400. And if enough of them start doing it, then I feel quite confident that airlines will rapidly adjust their schedules to what the market wants. But until that days comes -- which I don't see happening anytime soon -- when business travelers enjoy scheduling meetings at 0700, or until travelers enjoy checking out of DisneyWorld at 0900 instead of 1500, nothing will change.

If air travelers want to see a change in flight delays, they can do one of two things: they can change their flying patters, and adjust their own schedules in order to avoid delays, or they can write their congressman and senators and demand that, despite NIMBYs and everything else, more runways are built in this country.

Personally, I hope we all do both.


25 AirWillie6475 : You have to remember that John Stossels 2020 stories are severely biased and one sided. Also you have to remember that it's entertainment. Don't take
26 Flightopsguy : Good post, but the MDW 13C issue was not a factor on Thursday. Simply wind, windshear, long finals, wet runways, and no trip for ORD. Rate started at
27 Zippyjet : Duh! The Northeast is not known for round the clock beautiful weather. Boston being highly influenced by the North Atlantic Ocean currents/fronts, an
28 Kalvado : Looks to me this argument works wery well for those going from NYC to Chicago direct- but if there is a connection, you pretty much spend at least ha
29 Post contains images SATX : I've rarely been delayed due to WX. It's usually been MX in my case. Probably has to do with living in the Southwest instead of the Northeast. I agree
30 Dallas74 : Stossel could not understand why airlines would schedule so many flights during peak hours even though there would be delays. Funny Mr. Stossel why do
31 LTBEWR : Sometimes the airport is part of the problem. LGA and EWR are to me excellent examples of airports that have almost 'overbooked' schedules at peak fli
32 Crownvic : Interesting...Whether you believe Stossel or not, I have thought the airlines have been pulling this "stunt" for quite sometime. Does the DOT, FAA, CA
33 Saturn5 : And what stunt it is? Folks should realize that "delay" is a very complex matter. When aircraft pulls out of the gate within the 15 min window after
34 HikesWithEyes : I think that this cuts to the core of the situation. It's a business, and airlines are in business to make money. I think in most major hubs airlines
35 ANother : Interesting thread - thanks for starting it. Part of the problem (IMHO) begins with the way the CRSs prioritise. (Yes, stay with me - I think this mak
36 Flightopsguy : There are auditing procedures, and oversight seems tighter now than when I started in the business in 1966. Stations often get confused as to which d
37 Tercer : Not to mention the internal audits that the airlines do themselves and most try very hard to get their flights off of the DOT List of Shame. I now th
38 Post contains images VEEREF : Of course weather doesn't cause your fight delays. The TV guy said so so it must be true!   . [Edited 2006-05-14 14:40:13][Edited 2006-05-14 14:46:22
39 Flightopsguy : And airlines get NO credit for arriving early. Cancelled flights also do not mean much, as often pax can be reaccomodated with little or no delay. A
40 Jfr : First of all.....it's not a stunt. It's the result of laborious cost benefit analysis. Simply put, the delays cost airlines less than they earn at the
41 Post contains images Dallas74 : Don't forget how tight the airspace is between all these airports. On most approaches to LGA you get to see EWR and JFK! If you have strong winds out
42 CWAFlyer : Actually, yes they do. At least on the FAA's side of things. They audit the reasons for delays and make the airlines explain them. A prime example is
43 Crownvic : CWAFlyer...I am sure you know what your talking about, but the part I still do not understand is, are airlines 100% honest on mechanical vs. weather d
44 FXRA : Heres a question for some of you SOCC types out there, and I've gone round and round in the past with MX control on this one. IF an aircraft has an ME
45 DeltaGator : Just biased and one-sided in the opposite direction of everyone else on that show. I'm surprised by his staying power myself. I don't think it is so
46 Flightopsguy : The airlines I have worked for would code it as a mech delay. If the airplane was AOG, then the cancellations would also be for mech.
47 Tercer : Regardless of the weather the root cause of the issue is the MEL (if the A/C was not broke it could operate into those conditions) so yes it is a MX
48 CWAFlyer : I think what gets reported to the DOT is pretty accurate. What a customer service agent may tell you at the time may be a bit fabricated. Several exa
49 Bridogger6 : I really enjoy how all you folks seem to think that airline customer service agents are all lying to you about weather delays, it really is not the ca
50 LMP737 : What I would like to see is have John Stossel and Mr. Mayer spend the day with the dispatchers at a major airlines. Preferably on a day when one of it
51 Ckfred : You're absolutely right. Last Thursday, ORD has winds from the west at 25mph gusting to 35mph, with some gusts of 40mph, as well as rain and a very l
52 OPNLguy : Amen to that... A local station (WFAA) was actually in our office a few weeks ago doing a story on how airlines cope with weather, and it was suppose
53 Goingboeing : Actually, what I'd like to see is Stossel get boarded onto a plane while a level 5 thunderstorm is over the airport and have the pilots tell him that
54 OPNLguy : I honestly don't think that it's so much lying as it is the inability of some (not yourself, mind you) to understand some of the conceptual issues in
55 Tercer : Weather also impacts an airlines operation well into the next day. Thunderstorms driving a Ground Delay Program in ORD can and does make the crew fly
56 Cloudy : M Michale Boyd would agree with you, and I'm inclined to agree as well. There is plenty of sky. What we lack is a competent FAA. We also don't have en
57 Jetdeltamsy : Airlines do not create schedules that "almost purposely" cause delays. Schedules are created to maximize the potential to earn a profit. As weather i
58 Saturn5 : Blame is spread equally among passenegrs who insist on flying during ceratin times, airlines who schedule flights to accomodate wishes, public who ha
59 Post contains links Jetdeltamsy : I found an interesting statistic. Only 0.81% of flights are delayed due to weather. http://www.transtats.bts.gov/OT_Delay/OT_DelayCause1.asp
60 CWAFlyer : True, but they are built assuming everything (including the weather) is perfect. Any little thing is like unraveling a thread on a sweater. Pretty so
61 Goingboeing : That's a tradeoff you have to make. Airliners don't make any money sitting at a gate. Every airline schedules their flights so that, in optimal condi
62 Supa7E7 : YES they do lie, absolutely. Airlines are very cavalier about calling a mechanical problem "weather" because it saves the airline hotel, food and tra
63 Richierich : Airlines definitely do this. I won't name names - I highly suspect ALL airlines are guilty of it to an extent - but it is easy to blame weather. If n
64 Post contains links Goingboeing : Do they lie to the Department of transportation as well? Because they report all their delays on a monthly basis (you can read the reports at http://
65 Goingboeing : Again...the aviation consumer report shows that airlines report far more "air carrier delays", which include crew problems.
66 Post contains links Jetdeltamsy : That violates FAA regulations. If you REALLY know what you're talking about and HAVE SOME PROOF of what you are saying, you need to report it to the
67 Supa7E7 : It's kind of like a seat mate who sat next to me a few weeks ago. She had a flight voucher from when she was bumped off her morning flight and missed
68 Goingboeing : I would venture to say that "weather" delays are most certainly safety related if the morning flight out of Omaha was delayed due to tornados in the
69 Jetdeltamsy : Under DOT regulations, INVOLUNTARILY denied boarding customers are entitled to $100 in the form of cash or a check. That's it, not one penny more. Al
70 Bridogger6 : Again, and no offense, I honestly don't think you know what you're talking about. When a passenger is issued a voucher for an involuntary denied boar
71 DLAgent : If you do this all the time, and experience this behavior or action by the airline, why put yourself through the turmoil? Wouldn't another airline be
72 Post contains images Supa7E7 : Certainly happened exactly that way to the lady in question. I was not there but she communicated exactly what went down. Are the DOT involuntary den
73 Jetdeltamsy : Now on this we agree. I think it is hard to capture truly accurate data when there are so many people involved in reporting wildly varying issues. It
74 Post contains images SATX : It's got nothing to do with his views and everything to do with his lack of ethics. The man does a disservice to journalists everywhere and yet he is
75 Flightopsguy : Not really. Most carriers use ACARS reporting that is tied in to brake release and movement of the aircraft. Also, push times are used for crew pay a
76 DeltaGator : I'm not trying to disprove you but just offer the fact that the ethics issues with reporters exist on both sides of the aisle. I know you consider yo
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