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Odd Scheduling Of MSP Flights On DL/F9 - Insights?  
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3273 times:

Every year I travel from San Diego to Minnesota in late June/early July. Except for one year where I was able to fly NW non-stop, I have connected. At this time, for curiousity, I have been checking the schedules of various airlines and have come across some very odd scheduling "anomolies" at Delta and Frontier.

It is common knowledge that in operating an east-west/west-east "hub", an airline will, for example, schedule east-bound departures after arrivals from the west have had an opportunity to "unload" and passengers have sufficient time to make connections.

However, as currently listed (and I know this is subject to change), both Delta and Frontier have VERY poorly timed flights from SLC and DEN to MSP for west coast connections:

Delta Airlines Flight #778
depart SAN 6:15 AM
arrive SLC 9:18 AM
EQP: 757

Delta Airlines Flight #1764
depart SLC 9:40 AM
arrive MSP 1:15 PM
EQP MD90

Last year, I travelled this itinerary but had a 35 minute connection time and arrived with time to spare. Capacity is increased this year, as it was previously a CRJ-700 but is now an MD90. Capacity is increased on this flight, indicating more people wish to take this flight. Yet the flight is scheduled with too little time to make this connection.

While I realize that the block times need to be maintained to match with arriving flights for the opposite direction, all that would be needed to remedy the situation would be a rescheduling of 15-20 minutes later. Why is it schedule JUST under the minimum connection time?

And as a side note: Flight #778 from San Diego is a 757 - one would assume that such a large plane indicates this is a very popular flight, and also that many of those passengers will be connecting to other destinations. If MSP is not available due to less-than-minimum-times connecting issues, what other destinations are not possible?

I also understand that some flights from the west coast are not subject to departure curfews as SAN is; however, the time we are talking about is a very short period of time - 15 to 20 minutes. I am at a loss as to why a connection possibility (or possibilites) is being discarded when the fix (rescheduling a departure for 20 minutes later) is so very simple.

Even more bizarre is Frontier's DEN-MSP schedule:

Frontier Airlines Flight #400
depart LAX 6:25 AM
arrive DEN 9:38 AM

Frontier Airlines Flight #550
depart SAN 6:20 AM
arrive DEN 9:40 AM

One can see that the first wave of west coast flights arrives to F9's DEN hub just after 9:30 AM. Logically, eastbound flights should depart after that, but the morning MSP flights are not timed for ANY connections:

Frontier (Republic) Flight #4610
depart DEN 7:15 AM
arrive MSP 10:05 AM

Frontier Airlines Flight #106
depart DEN 9:40 AM
arrive MSP 12:30 PM

Frontier Airlines Flight #100
depart DEN 4:11 PM
arrive MSP 7:06 PM

So two flights before the first westbound banks arrive, but no further flights for 6½ hours.  scratchchin 

That makes two departures on Frontier to MSP that have absolutely no connecting possibilities from west coast cities! With both United and Northwest also flying DEN-MSP, one would assume that Frontier MUST have some connecting passengers to fill their A318, but it is not possible.

In 2006, I flew SAN-DEN-MSP on F9 and in 2007 I flew SAN-SLC-MSP on DL. I enjoyed both flights very much and would have no problem choosing either itinerary again...but I cannot understand why these MSP flights are so terribly timed that connections are not possible.

On the other hand, United, American, USAirways, Northwest (non-stop, of course), and even Continental have no scheduling anomolies and are more than willing to offer me convenient times with no odd departure times to MSP. Any insights as to why DL and F9 don't want west coast passengers (at least from SAN on DL) on their morning MSP flights?


Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3251 times:

I have no insight into the Frontier operation in DEN, but, while tight, your connection in SLC will most likely be fine. I have connected through there many times and have rarely had any issues. Flights that arrive very early occasionally end up waiting for a gate, but my inclination is to think you will be OK, although you shouldn't dawdle, obviously. I don't know how airlines build arrival and departure banks, but there are a lot worse scenarios for connections. Hope this helps, if just a bit. The MD-90 is a nice ride, too, especially forward of the wing: enjoy your trip!  twocents 

User currently offlineJkudall From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 615 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3233 times:

As for SLC the only explanation I can give is that between about 8:00 am and noon, every gate DL has at SLC is occupied. Flights such as the MSP flight leaving a gate at 9:40 will quickly be replaced with another plane arriving. So the circumstance you describe is just the only way to allow more flights to operate with the lack of gates DL has. Common sense would dictate having that MSP flight leave a few minutes later or scheduling that SAN flight a few minutes earlier to allow people to connect, but there is probably a reason for it and it is most likely due to gate space.

Looking at the June schedule, the 9:40 am flight to MSP turns around and comes back to SLC with a forty minute turn time. They obviously want that plane back in SLC for the 4:00pm bank and if the 9:40 flight for MSP were to leave any later, they would create conflicts for the 4:00 bank, which is also very busy at SLC.

So there is a reason for everything, you just have to look at a bigger picture I guess. Airline scheduling is a huge jig- saw puzzle with many factors having to be considered.

It could also be an oversight on DL's part, and if so may be corrected with revisions of their schedule which are updated usually once a week.

Also keep in mind the Summer 2008 schedule is far from final. Expect a lot of tweaking.

[Edited 2007-12-06 12:31:59]

User currently offlineUSFlyer MSP From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2182 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3166 times:

SAN has a curfew so the flights cannot leave SAN any earlier and the flights from SLC and DEN to MSP must leave at the times they do in order to maintain connectivity for that planes flights for the rest of the day.

User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3117 times:

Quote:
SAN has a curfew so the flights cannot leave SAN any earlier and the flights from SLC and DEN to MSP must leave at the times they do in order to maintain connectivity for that planes flights for the rest of the day.

Yes, I understand that. In the case of Delta, only a 20 minute "re-scheduling" of the SLC-MSP flight would solve the problem. If that 20 minutes is so critical that it upsets the entire scheduling system like a house of cards, then maybe their entire scheduling network is too fragile.

As for the DEN-MSP flights, NO ONE in the incoming-from-the-west bank of flights can make that connection. It is simply illogical and unprofitable to schedule connecting flights that NO ONE can connect to, and it is even more illogical that there are two flights before that bank but none afterwards. Unless there is a mass one-way migration of Minnesotans to Denver upcoming this summer, this is as illogical a schedule as there is.

Quote:
I have no insight into the Frontier operation in DEN, but, while tight, your connection in SLC will most likely be fine.

Actually, the DL computer system won't show me this - I had to check the times as individual flights. A 22-minute connection is not permitted. The only way to fly on DL is a CRJ-100 at 7:30 connecting to another SkyWest flight that arrives in MSP at 4:30 in the afternoon.

It would seem logical to me that if a computer system is going to design a hub, you take your last arriving flight from the west, add the minimum connecting time, and only then should you start the outgoing bank. The only exception I could see is a high yielding route to an airport with a curfew, but in the morning bank, I don't know of any off hand. To do otherwise is to risk losing fares from connecting passengers.

Further, we are not talking about a small airport - SAN is a fairly busy operation, and DL is using a 757 on this route for morning operations. This indicates to me high demand and a lot of connections. To schedule some flights too soon and not permitting connections says, "go fly someone else".

Edit: It occured to me afterwards that the tone in this reply might be sarcastic towards the last poster. I will apologize in advance if this is so, but it no way was it meant to be. It simply reflects the circumstances that I have travelled this itinerary before, and now over a few minutes nit-picking, I will be unable to do so again! I have written to both Delta and Frontier asking about the situation - I'll keep a.netters posted.

I really enjoyed Delta and SLC, but if they don't want my business, ta-ta!! I will keep my eye on the schedule, but in this era of needing every passenger and every dollar, turning people away because of a few minutes makes no sense.

[Edited 2007-12-06 13:40:26]


Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3069 times:

Quoting Jkudall (Reply 2):
As for SLC the only explanation I can give is that between about 8:00 am and noon, every gate DL has at SLC is occupied. Flights such as the MSP flight leaving a gate at 9:40 will quickly be replaced with another plane arriving.

DL also has some gate space issues at MSP IIRC... 2 CRJs and a 738 in 2 gates down at the end of E is rather unpleasant... perhaps they'll be able to get a third gate as the migration to HHH continues.

[Edited 2007-12-06 14:06:18]


I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineTWAmbassador From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3064 times:
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The Delta issue starts with the March 2nd schedule. The minimum connection time in SLC is 25 min. The winter schedule shows the flight times as 615a - 915a which makes this a legal connection to a 940a departure. The March 2nd schedule shows the flight times as 615a - 918a which is short by 3 min. Chances are this just has not been noticed by DL schedulers yet and will be corrected with another schedule change later. Connections from other west coast cities do not seem to be effected by this.

Frontier is a different issue. Could be Frontier gets better yields from DEN O/D traffic and they can better utilize their gates/staff/time slots at DEN. Just a guess though.



Up Up And Away...
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3033 times:



Quote:
The minimum connection time in SLC is 25 min.

:O

Really? Now THAT I didn't know! But I can understand...SLC is a pretty easy airport to navigate and maneuver through. I made my connection last year (which was around 30 minutes) with time to spare.

Quote:
The winter schedule shows the flight times as 615a - 915a which makes this a legal connection to a 940a departure. The March 2nd schedule shows the flight times as 615a - 918a which is short by 3 min. Chances are this just has not been noticed by DL schedulers yet and will be corrected with another schedule change later.

That sound most logical. Thank you for that response!!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7564 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3018 times:

Why don't you just fly NW non-stop?


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2987 times:



Quote:
Why don't you just fly NW non-stop?

Nothing against NW, truly, but I as an infrequent flyer (except for XJet SAN-BFL), I go with whomever is cheapest.

2003 - NW
2004 - HP
2005 - HP
2006 - F9
2007 - DL
2008 - ?

If NW turns out to be within the range of the others, I'll book with them. Usually that non-stop (since 2004) has been quite a bit more.

One of the reasons I hope to go with DL is that I won three rounds of trivia on the ex-Song 757 SLC-SAN flight last July 3rd...the prize was a cocktail (each time), and I had three glasses of Chardonnay...nothing like arriving home from a great trip and a great flight with a nice buzz!!  drunk 



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineTWAmbassador From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2953 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I am assuming you are booking on line. You might be able to get the system to book these flights. I know in the travel agency system (Sabre) I can book this manually and it will price correctly. Just not sure you can get it done on line or get a Delta agent to do this for you. As far as fares go Frontier has the best right now at $254 plus fees and NW is at $280 plus fees. This of course depends on availability on the dates/flights you want. Good luck  Smile


Up Up And Away...
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2827 times:



Quoting PanAm747 (Thread starter):
Every year I travel from San Diego to Minnesota in late June/early July.

If you look up in Amadeus, Delta has flight SAN-SLC 6:15-9:15 and SLC-MSP 10:00-13:45 which is a 45 minute connect. The earliest flight on F9 to connect in DEN leaves SAN at 10:00 am.

I think the real problem is that you are looking at flights for next June/July which is 7-8 months in advance. It is not good idea to do this. Although you can book on the system that far in advance, the airline schedules are not that firm so far out and frequently, the discount fares have not been loaded. The best time to book a flight for the best fare is either 3-4 months before departure when the planned discount fares are loaded or a few days before departure when extra discount seats may be added to an underbooked flight.

BTW, Suncountry also flies SAN-MSP nonstop.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2732 times:

Thanks for all the replies!!

I have no plans to book any travel until February or March - at the VERY earliest. By that time, the schedules are a lot firmer, and the airlines will be setting their "summer travel" prices, and perhaps Delta's schedule will be revised to allow a 25 minute connection between the two flights.

As for MSP on F9, I can find no rhyme or reason to their departure times. Other cities with that "non-connecting" 9:30 AM departure bank (before any west coast connections can be made) include MDW, DFW, and YYC. I hope they know what they're doing - but sadly they have to be scratched off my list.

Quote:
Suncountry also flies SAN-MSP nonstop.

Very true - but it offers a HORRIBLE arrival time in Minnesota - just after midnight!!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
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