FXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7414 posts, RR: 81 Posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 13452 times:
May 10--A three-hour flight from Port-au-Prince to Miami earlier this week turned into a 10-hour ordeal, after the plane was diverted to West Palm Beach with passengers unable to get out due to a lack of Customs clearance.
Customs' hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Palm Beach International. And at no time did American ask Customs for special processing, which it could have done, he said.
This happened last week and a few weeks before this. This is starting to become the norm for AA to save a buck.
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 13367 times:
Quoting FXramper (Thread starter): This happened last week and a few weeks before this. This is starting to become the norm for AA to save a buck.
It is a lot harder to obtain customs clearances and landing rights than you think. I set them up everyday, and there are airports where they may have Customs/Agriculture, but processing a large aircraft is near impossible. For example, I Called TYS CBP to see about obtaining landing rights for a military mission originating from LEJ. When I spoke with the officer he said that the maximum number of people that they could process was 10, that doesn't bode well for us when we are bringing in a full MD-11. SO PBI may have Customs/AGriculture, but they may not be able to handle a flight of that size without a large amount of advanced notice.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
Max999 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1116 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13094 times:
Quote: During it all, the people stuck on the plane only got a bag of chips to eat, said passenger Mouna Boulos, who lives in Delray Beach and also has a home in Haiti, where she went to attend a wedding.
Couldn't AA have at least ordered take out food and drink for those people?
All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13082 times:
Quoting Max999 (Reply 3): Couldn't AA have at least ordered take out food and drink for those people?
If the was an authorized representative in PBI who had a Customs Seal on his/her badge then they could have gone on the plane. If there wasn't someone with the seal then the would not be allowed onboard until customs had cleared the aircraft. I am in now way saying that those people deserved to sit on that plane for that long, but it has to be understood that they can't just get off a plane before it is cleared, and that customs may not have been able to handle such a large number of customers.
[Edited 2007-05-13 06:37:33]
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
N62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4788 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 12952 times:
I wonder why it diverted from Miami to PBI when it was so close to it's intended destination. We haven't had any bad weather here in MIA in weeks, except for bad visibility due to all the forest fires.
And why pick PBI over FLL which I presume has better facilities for handling international flights.
Reality From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 528 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 12687 times:
t was one calamity after another for the 145 passengers onboard the Airbus A300 to Miami: a delayed departure; severe thunderstorms in South Florida; an ill passenger requiring paramedics upon landing at Palm Beach International Airport; the need for a new crew after the existing one's shift ended; a second, pregnant passenger who required paramedics; then more thunderstorms, further delaying a second departure.
The flight to Miami, scheduled to depart at 4:45 p.m., left Port-au-Prince 27 minutes late, and had been scheduled to arrive at 7:50 p.m., American spokeswoman Martha Pantin said. But by the time it neared Miami, heavy thunderstorms covered South Florida, preventing it from landing, first at Miami, then at Fort Lauderdale, she said.
Events such as this cost the company money, they don't save money or generate revenue.
And, I have to ask FXramper, did you even read the article?:
Quoting Reality (Reply 8): t was one calamity after another for the 145 passengers onboard the Airbus A300 to Miami: a delayed departure; severe thunderstorms in South Florida; an ill passenger requiring paramedics upon landing at Palm Beach International Airport; the need for a new crew after the existing one's shift ended; a second, pregnant passenger who required paramedics; then more thunderstorms, further delaying a second departure.
Clearly, this was an anomaly. Bad weather arises frequently in MIA, and people sometimes require medical attention. 2 medicals on a single flight are rare, but it happens. Once, I had 3 within 10 minutes going to LHR and we were quarantined after arrival.
Other than the original 27 minute delayed departure, I don't see what AA did wrong. They were just very lucky to be booked so light. Those PAP-MIA flights are usually packed.
Quoting Reality (Reply 8): Sounds like the weather was at fault.....not AA.
What an appropriate screenname you've chosen.
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
Movingtin From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 11768 times:
Quoting IH8B6 (Reply 10): What do you have against them? Did they not hire you or something.
I was wondering the same thing! Shame on AA for STILL not being able to control the weather, sick passengers, customs staffing, moon phase, daylight hours, etc, etc ,etc and yet still charge more than $19.99 for an unrestricted walk up, first class, roundtrip to everyplace I want to go!!!!
Hiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2186 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 11735 times:
n62na.....this was the line of severe weather over Florida last Sunday....starting from the north and working it's way rapidly south down the peninsula causing tornado warnings over all of Broward and Dade. This line disrupted air traffic down the whole state as it passed....and it was not forecasted to be anywhere near that bad earlier in the day.
Figure the captain was looking at a fairly bleak picture as he approached from the SE....unplanned storms all over with frequent lightning and high tops...probable minimum reserve fuel....and then an ill pax onboard.
FYI aside from the fear of damage from the storms residents in SoFla were cheering the thing on to bring us much needed rain!
The problem with AA diversions is not the diversion...it is the absolutely horrendous performance of management once the diversion has occurred..both at the system and the local level. The fact that Customs at PBI is claiming no one from AA contacted them is proof that management 'turtled' on all levels and finger crossed the problem would 'go away'....as they have done time and time again in the past as shown in the press.
Passengers rapidly do not care if you have all those glorious tools and displays in your System Operations Control Center, as widely displayed on TV recently, when you can't figure out how to keep from trapping 145 folks in a metal tube over and over.
If you are a local manager for an air carrier with a huge international hub just down the road from you it's common sense you need a plan for diversions...both domestic and international....including Customs....worked out in advance with all agencies.
There is also a dearth of facilities, and customs regulations the seem to preclude common sense. Is a transit type lounge available at PB International? My brain cell is intermittant, but don't PAX have the right to disembark after 4 hours for a weather hold? Or is that only for gringos on domestic?
AirTran737 has some good points also.
I am a AA regular customer MCO-MIA then to work, the staff seems pretty good, from catching a smoke with a ramper in front of MCO to agents at both places. (There are some hard heads at MIA.) Storms can pop up pretty fast in s. florida, from funnel clouds to hurricanes to tropical storms and T-showers.
But hey WTF AA? And Customs, you can see the plane sitting there, deboard it! Do you need AA to call? Don't you have a phone? Damn, there go my taxes. Not a damn bit of common sense shown.
Par13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7999 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9714 times:
The key point for me on this incident is at the end of the article, AA did not notify US Customs and Border Patrol that they still had an international a/c at the airport because they were hoping - my words - for a break in the weather which would allow the a/c to take off and continue to Miami its ultimate destination. While they waited, the crew timed out and the events snowballed from there.
The principle for me - I stand to be corrected by those in the know - is that crisis management did not work correctly, same as in the B6 episode and all others in recent times. Yes the weather was the original factor, but weather was not the reason why AA did not call customs, they were hoping for a another weather incident, namely good weather which would allow the a/c to proceed to Miami its ultimate destination. What seems to have occured was a time keeping / watching event, between customs having to be called beyond their work hours - which if my memory from my airlines days is correct - the airline would billed by Customs for the overtime, versus the time / cost of the crew timing out and having to bus another crew to the airport from Miami.
In either case, money management and not the actual weather was the key factor here, but techinically yes, you can lay all the blame on the weather, On a side note, years ago when working at a airline, we had a flight - prop plane 48max - divert to FLL due weather at Miami ( yes that does happen ) and due to the a/c and crew being required for other flights we bussed pax both ways when the diversion became required to minimize disruption throughout our network, I did not see the bills so I cannot say whether it was cost effective or not, I only know that we got the a/c and crew back in good enough time.
LH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6904 times:
Part of the reason why people aren't let off planes is because logistically speaking it's difficult and often times windows of opportunity can open up.
First off. You divert to another airport, sure you may be able to let people off the plane and stretch their legs but what happens when it comes time to board. This flight is now closed in the system. You can't just deboard everyone and reboard them. What happens if someone wanders off and misses the boarding or falls asleep. The airline has no way of knowing if this passenger is on board or not. Sure, there are other ways like cross-checking names to a printout of the manifest but that takes a lot of time. So you risk leaving people behind.
Also that brings in me into my next point. Often times in weather situations, particularly snow, narrow windows open up where the plane can squeeze in during a brief break in the weather. In those situations the plane has to be ready to go immediately. That's why airlines are hesitant to pass out meals or deboard because by the time the cabin is ready for departure, that window could have closed.
I'm not defending all actions. Sometimes it's not justified, like B6 at JFK where they were still at the point of departure or arrival not at a 3rd point that may be a several hundred miles from the destination point.
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
QQflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2307 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6571 times:
I haven't read the posts above, but I just flew with the replacement crew this morning. I assure you AA wasn't trying to save a buck. In fact, they paid through the roof for that ordeal. The replacement crew was headed to JFK with a full plane from MIA. AA cancelled that flight (266 pax) and bussed the crew to PBI so they could fly that plane from PBI to MIA.
The captain had told me the previous crew tried numerous times to get the pax off and through customs, but the US government wouldn't/couldn't somehow. This story is entirely different from other recent examples. This situation was initially created by weather at MIA and then compounded by the US government's inability to clear the pax at PBI.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
Jfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8826 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6219 times:
I'm really surprised by this, PBI has a small general aviation customs area on the south side of the airport usually full with two or three GIV or prop types. The main terminal with about 20 jetways on the north side of the airport does have one( I know of and maybe more) customs ecquipped jetways with a customs hall. What PBI needs is an airline to fly a daily international flight(not Canada or the Bahamas) using this facility, the present terminal building opened in 1988 with the customs hall. PBI being the major airport between Miami and Orlando needs a flight to the UK, any airport even Stansted would do. Maxjet could be brave and blaze a trail.
WorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4497 times:
Quoting QQflyboy (Reply 21): This situation was initially created by weather at MIA and then compounded by the US government's inability to clear the pax at PBI.
no one doubts that AA ends up spending alot of money to get themselves out of these circumstances. the question is whether they spend enough to keep them from happening in the 1st place.
AA's problem w/ diversions is not new. Well over 10 years ago, I watched an AA DC10 enroute from FRA to DFW divert to CVG for a fuel stop. DFW was having weather and the flight was very heavy w/ cargo so AA probably didn't have as much fuel onboard as they could have. AA's dispatcher decided to divert the flight to CVG, where, lo and behold, one of the engines wouldn't start after the plane was refueled. AA contracted to TW for maintenance but TW had no mechanics who were trained to work on the DC10. There were actually some DL mechanics who had DC10 training (ex-Western) but DL had no DC10 parts. After several hours and after DL's scheduled int'l flights cleared customs and immigration, AA (or TW) towed the plane to one of DL's int'l arrival gates and the flight was cancelled. the US gov't did not want AA's unscheduled passengers mixed up w/ DL's scheduled passengers. AA did not have the stations personnel to work the flight and it took hours for them to rebook the passengers on the flight via radio back to AA's ticket counter and get the passengers out of the FIS (since AA had no computers in the int'l arrivals baggage recheck area). Most of the passengers overnighted in CVG even though DL had flights to most of the passenger's destinations.
Could AA have foresseen the mechanical and delays in FIS? Of course not. But they could have and should have recognized that there wasn't maintenance support for the DC10 in CVG and they didn't have the staff to handle a int'l widebody cancellation if it did happen.
Diversions are not chance occurrences. They are intended to be planned and are part of the flight plan. If circumstances chance that may require a chance in alternate airports, the pilot and dispatcher are supposed to come up w/ a solution that works for all involved. Pilots are not expected to have all the info to know about maintenance support, airport staffing, and customs availability so that responsibility rests with the dispatchers.
another factor that hasn't been discussed is how much fuel AA carries for diversions. While I'm not sure there is much REQUIRED difference between airlines for a flight like the one that diverted to PBI, AA is one of a very few US airlines that has received approval to reduce the amount of fuel required to be carried for transoceanic flights. There are also stories repeated over and over again of late about how little water AA is putting on its flights in order to reduce weight - and often times have flight attendants running out of water partway through the flight.
AA is clearly cutting corners or taking great risks on its weight planning often with poor results. AA has clearly demonstrated over and over again that it does not exercise good judgment. There are people in Washington who
want to punish airlines for this kind of activity. However, I say that the market should decide. Other airlines operate int'l flights, have thunderstorms, and divert because of medical emergencies but don't have the issues AA is having. The travelling public needs to let AA know they don't trust AA to get them safely and efficiently to their destination - esp. when other airlines are doing a better job under similar situations.
AA's handling of diversions of late is just another indication of its frayed operation; history has shown over and over again that when the quality at a particular carrier leaves, so do the best customers, esp. when there are airlines that can and do run reliable and customer focused operations in spite of the operational challenges in the airline industry.
: So one incident that you witnessed over 10 years ago indicates a far reaching trend 10 years later? Who are you kidding? I doubt AA had to divert to
: Yes...and with AA all too frequently. Sorry 777STL you are the cheerleader on a lost cause. With all these diversions causing extreme incarceration o
: Again, so it's happened three times in recent memory? BFD! And as far as Chapt 11 status goes....well, all the armchair experts here are claiming AA
: Washington is counting one time as too many and yet AA keeps a steady parade of disasters for us all to examine. It is much for that a Big Hairy Deal
: I just arrived about an hour ago from a JFK-BRU (AA)-THF (SN) TXL-LHR (BA)- JFK (AA) trip and frankly I decided to give AA one more shot for one year,
: I don't think the weather forced the passengers to sit on the plane for that many hours...
: If this is in fact the case, then I withdrawl my last post...
: Funny tangent. Haitians are notorious for being late. It's in our genetics. I know some haitian relatives how purposely gave the wrong times to show u