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What Was NW Thinking?  
User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1872 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 23 hours ago) and read 8485 times:
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So, the scenario is, you have a flight from Detroit to Apple Valley, Pa, the flight needed to be diverted due to local weather in the AVP area, which knucklehead at NW decided that Portland, Maine, some 300 miles north of the original airport was a good diversion point? I'm sorry but from a lay perspectives, when you have alot of other airports closer, Harrisburg, Pitt, Cleveland, Philly,Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, who in their right mind decided Portland was a suitable diversion point? i know it's a rhetorical question, but this has to be about the stupidest thing i've ever seen from the airlines, it just makes no sense. Maybe someone can explain from an operational point of view why a flight would be diverted 300 miles north of it's intended destination.


Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKingAir200 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1630 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (7 years 22 hours ago) and read 8477 times:

NW likely didn't have any hand in this. AVP is served only by 9E, and they are in control of what happens with their airplanes operationally. Although it is 9E, so the term "in control" is used very, very loosely.


Hey Swifty
User currently offlineBAKJet From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 22 hours ago) and read 8477 times:

I really have no idea. Possibly the other airports already had so extra much traffic that had already diverted and/or the airports were diverting planes themselves due to weather.

[Edited 2007-12-23 17:26:37]

User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2230 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 20 hours ago) and read 8214 times:
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Perhaps that is where the acft was scheduled for RON and everything else was WX. What was offered th pax, if anything, for accomodation to AVP?


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently online2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1085 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 20 hours ago) and read 8130 times:

It is my understanding that airlines do not have a lot of say in choices of diversion airports (like they may ask... but have to take what is offered if they can't get into where they asked).

While it is possible that NW was too busy with other diversions to ask; there may be other factors at play.

Some people on this site have from time to time suggested that airlines do things just to get under the passenger's skin... and, since I have personally had experience with agents outright lying to me (as the way of trying to get me to move on so they can "deal" with the next person. My all-time number two is: "Mr H...., the reason your plane to Milwaukee is delayed because the flight that was supposed to go to Milwaukee never arrived." To which I looked her straight in the eye and said: "yes it did, I was on it." Lets just say the conversation went downhill from there... (in actuality - the airline kicked us off so they could use the plane elsewhere - but it took me 3 months and the threat of a lawsuit for them to admit that).

As such, (and the absolute top story is even better than that - and cost me well over $1000); I suppose it is possible that someone was having a bad day or took personal pleasure in sending the flight as far away as they could get away with.... Now if that actually happened; your posting your message will have made their day.

But, far more likely the system was swamped with diversions and Main was one of the available spots and it was just the luck of the draw....


User currently offlineWestJetYQQ From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2987 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 8044 times:



Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
the flight needed to be diverted due to local weather in the AVP area, which knucklehead at NW decided that Portland, Maine, some 300 miles north of the original airport was a good diversion point?

Maybe the weather system effected more that just AVP? Nah, crazy thought.  Wink



Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 8005 times:

Airlines are usually given a list of alternate airports in which to land. And, with the WX today on the East Coast, that might have been the closest place to land.

I can generate CO and ExpressJet weather on my printer. It's not uncommon to see 6, 7, 8 alternate destinations listed on XJet flights. I had one for ABE the other day, that had airports from CRW all the way to PVD listed as alternates. I think those are determined not by the carrier, but by the FAA.


User currently offlineLawnDart From United States of America, joined May 2005, 975 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 8005 times:



Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
you have a flight from Detroit to Apple Valley, Pa, the flight needed to be diverted due to local weather in the AVP area, which knucklehead at NW decided that Portland, Maine, some 300 miles north of the original airport was a good diversion point?



Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):
It is my understanding that airlines do not have a lot of say in choices of diversion airports (like they may ask... but have to take what is offered if they can't get into where they asked).

No, airlines don't ask if they can divert a flight to an airport...but they do take things into consideration. Does a flight need an alternate, due to weather forecast at the destination 1 hour before to 1 hour after the scheduled arrival time? Does the nearest alternate (that we can fly to ie: we have it listed in our operations specifications) have suitable weather forecast? No? Well, what's the next closest we can fly to? Crappy weather there too? Hmm...what's the next closest because, after all, it is a rather large weather system...oh! Portland, Maine?

Portland it is!

Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):
since I have personally had experience with agents outright lying to me (as the way of trying to get me to move on so they can "deal" with the next person.

Contrary to popular belief, airline employees do not go out of their way to lie to passengers...imagine the agent you were talking to was told by someone higher up...probably in a completely different city...that the aircraft you just came in on was not, in fact, the aircraft going to MKE...would the lowly gate agent argue with their Ops Control Center? Or rather, just pass the information on to the passenger?

And Lord knows, a good 99% of all passengers have a crystal clear understanding of the operations of a complex airline... sarcastic 


User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 7983 times:



Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):

Yes, us lowlife airline agents lie just to piss the likes of you off.

And stand in the freaking line to file a frivelous lawsuit againt an airline.  Yeah sure


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21866 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 7961 times:



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 6):
I had one for ABE the other day, that had airports from CRW all the way to PVD listed as alternates. I think those are determined not by the carrier, but by the FAA.

The FAA sets requirements for filing alternates (when alternates must be filed, what weather requirements exist for an airport to be used as an alternate, how many alternates you need), but they do not assign specific alternates to flights - that's done by the pilots themselves, or the dispatchers in the case of an airline.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAC772 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 7949 times:

I would think with all of the weather mishaps lately, the airline would decide on Portland.
I wouldn't mind since I love to travel and spot at many different airports!
Now, if I were going to be on a connecting flight, that's a different story!
AC772  present 


User currently offlineCrj200faguy From United States of America, joined May 2007, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 19 hours ago) and read 7912 times:

Once we were going DTW-PWM and had to divert to BTV due to WX. A pax asked me why we couldn't divert somewhere closer like BOS when he deplaned. The CA had to explain to him that the weather affected BOS too.

User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (7 years 18 hours ago) and read 7831 times:

Another thing to consider is where are the other diversions going? While I doubt that Apple Valley is a busy place, the weather might be affecting the larger, nearby airports in the area.

Yesterday I had to divert during an STL-ORD flight. Dispatch sent us to IND. We didn't go back to STL because there were already about 10 planes there that were trying to go to ORD. We were already number 4 at IND. You can't just always go where you want to because you're going to need to have resources available on the ground too.



DMI
User currently offlineSmcmac32msn From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2211 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (7 years 18 hours ago) and read 7758 times:



Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):
Some people on this site have from time to time suggested that airlines do things just to get under the passenger's skin... and, since I have personally had experience with agents outright lying to me (as the way of trying to get me to move on so they can "deal" with the next person. My all-time number two is: "Mr H...., the reason your plane to Milwaukee is delayed because the flight that was supposed to go to Milwaukee never arrived." To which I looked her straight in the eye and said: "yes it did, I was on it." Lets just say the conversation went downhill from there... (in actuality - the airline kicked us off so they could use the plane elsewhere - but it took me 3 months and the threat of a lawsuit for them to admit that).



Quoting LawnDart (Reply 7):
Contrary to popular belief, airline employees do not go out of their way to lie to passengers...imagine the agent you were talking to was told by someone higher up...probably in a completely different city...that the aircraft you just came in on was not, in fact, the aircraft going to MKE...would the lowly gate agent argue with their Ops Control Center? Or rather, just pass the information on to the passenger?

LawnDart, I believe I have had the same experience as 2175301. Except it was on AirTran from Tampa to Atlanta. After checking in and being told our flight to Atlanta would be on time, in the 15 minutes it took to get out to the gate, it had become delayed. Delayed (6:00 pm departure) became 7:00, and we were finally boarded about 6:30 for our flight to Atlanta. After sitting at the gate until after 8:00 pm we we're informed that our flight was CANCELLED. When talking to the gate supervisor, he informed me that our plane was never intended to go to ATL. What a crock that was. I called him on it and asked about my connection to MKE. He told me that it was delayed in the computer. I asked how much, he couldn't tell me. They stuck me on the flight to ATL (I had an original 40 minute connecting time in ATL) anyways and when I got there, I found out the plane from ATL-MKE had landed 22 minutes EARLY in MKE and 35 minutes before I even landed in ATL.



Hey Obama, keep the change! I want my dollar back.
User currently offlineBoeing777228 From United States of America, joined exactly 7 years ago today! , 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 17 hours ago) and read 7701 times:

Maybe the captain's decison was to go to Portland (where it may not be as busy at PIT or PHL). Landing at PHL/PIT you may run into long ground delays and diverting to Portland would have kept you in the air longer but shorter on the ground.

I have always thought that in the air at least you are moving toward a destination. While on the ground you can spend hours......


User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1872 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 17 hours ago) and read 7645 times:
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now it makes more sense, it also makes me feel a little sorry for whomever had to make the announcement 'well folks, i know you thought you were going to Scranton, but mother nature has other ideas, unfortunately, we're going to have to divert, to Portland Maine, once we get there, we'll be talking to operations to discover if we're going back to Scranton, or if we're stuck in Portland for the night, we'll keep you updated." I'm sure the passengers weren't happy.

As for the original message, it was based on a call i got at work, the guy was not too happy, and he wasn't sure whether or not he'd even be getting where he needed to go tonight.



Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently online2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1085 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 8 hours ago) and read 7388 times:



Quoting LawnDart (Reply 7):
Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):
since I have personally had experience with agents outright lying to me (as the way of trying to get me to move on so they can "deal" with the next person.

Contrary to popular belief, airline employees do not go out of their way to lie to passengers...imagine the agent you were talking to was told by someone higher up...probably in a completely different city...that the aircraft you just came in on was not, in fact, the aircraft going to MKE...would the lowly gate agent argue with their Ops Control Center? Or rather, just pass the information on to the passenger?

And Lord knows, a good 99% of all passengers have a crystal clear understanding of the operations of a complex airline...

Lawndart:

For reasons I do not understand some people do lie about things. This is not unique to the airlines, nor is it representative off all (or even most) airline employees - but it does happen. Do they do it with the understanding that someone may sue the airlines. No. Quite honestly, I don't know why they do it.

I have four very memorable "flying" experiences that were directly related to an outright lie that did not need to be. The simple truth would have worked much better - and prevented much grief.

In the case I mentioned above: The gal then said - without typing in any more into the computer terminal: Yes, I see that the plane did indeed come in from Portland on time (I never told here I originated from Portland - she was reading in from her computer screen) - and that you were on it - as her face turned red (she was caught - and she knew it): then she told another obvious lie... But, the plane had major mechanical problems and has to be repaired (while the plane is being boarded by passengers for its next newly designated flight; as coincidence was that the airline customer service center is right next to the gate that the plane was at). As I said above; the conversation went downhill after that. Two very obvious and quickly contradicted lies up front...

OK so that was the gate agent (a supervisor no less according to her name-tag) - who's job is was to book me on a bunch of other people on other flights - from many different canceled or delayed flights due to a weather situation (which I knew about).

What I do not understand - was why my call to the 800 customer service number did not bring anyone admitting that the plan had been reassigned. Nor did my letter to the airline, nor my discussion with some "executive level" customer service months later after I got a response to my letter. The truth only came out on threat of lawsuit (amazing what a letter from a lawyer will do). Now perhaps the 800 number, the party who responded to my letter, and the executive level customer service people did not know that the plane was reassigned. But, I am not so sure of that. Why would there be a false set of computer records on what happened to that plane.

What I do know - is that once they admitted that they reassigned the plane they also admitted that I was due compensation in accordance with their published policies (which I knew all along as I had previously obtained the appropriate section of their policies).

Why did all this occur: I have no idea. Why could we just not be told that "your plane is being reassigned due to aircraft shortage caused by weather problems" - which was the truth. I have been told that in other cases. And I have been told that a plane had mechanical problems and please deboard and report to customer service for re-booking. OK, these things happen - and we deal with it. I just don't see the need to not admit what happened up front.

I have two experiences of being booked on flights that did not exist or on flights that did exist; but they did not book me on and gave me a false reservation number. Why was that done - I have no idea. All I had to be told was what the options actually were and I would have selected one.

I have another instance that can be traced to an anti-gun check-in person who truly invented quite the mess and situation when all I did was ask for a handgun declaration card as I had a handgun in my luggage (which was properly packed in an appropriate handgun case within hard-case luggage in accordance with federal regulations and airline rules; all I had to do for that airline was declare it - get the declaration card and place it in my luggage: which was fairly routine for me at the time). In the end I was forced to buy the airlines handgun case (at about 5 times its retail value), and repack the gun in front of everyone, repack the new case in my luggage - destroying the internal compartment barrier on my luggage due to the size of the new case: I had requested a supervisor and told one was not available - I requested a private place to repack my luggage, and many other things. What a mess...


To close this line of debate: I have been flying for over 30 years. The overwhelming vast majority of airport agents and crew are honest and above board - and do try to do what they can. In that time I have 4 cases where I can specifically point out that an airline employee outright lied to me (and a few others where I wonder). Please don't say it doesn't happen. It does.

Also, the vast majority of people are quite capable of understanding enough of how the airlines work in order to understand what the basic facts are for a situation. Information is readily available. Conversations are recorded (for a reason); and airline policies are readily available.

My biggest gripe is that the airlines first response in such a situation is to deny that it happened and deny responsibility. This is probably the basis for the common "myth" out there that you cite. Why not some upfront forthright investigation and a response back of either: 1) We cannot find any evidence on your story; 2) there was a misunderstanding and/or poor communication/situational skills; 3) It did happen.

Only my gun event seemed to get timely attention and acknowledgement that it happened due to all the policies that were violated.

Now back to the subject of this thread.... Why the diversion to Maine happened... and all the factors involved. Who really knows. But weather was obviously a factor. Lots of things happen in bad weather (and I have my stories about that as well as in over 30 years of flying I have experienced just about everything except a crash - but I do understand why they happened and I wasn't obviously lied to about it).


User currently offlineNWA ARJ From United States of America, joined May 2001, 547 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (7 years 7 hours ago) and read 7120 times:

It could be that the other airports closer are full too. In Fargo yesterday we had ten NW planes here. We really could not take many more. And not to mention they need to go somewhere where they have a ground crew that can handle them at this particular moment in time. And one other thing to mention is the WX and ATC. You just dont know


Nightmare 68, Fargo Tower, Runway 36, Fly Runway Heading, Mantain 10,000, Cleared For Takeoff, Change To Departure
User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 7 hours ago) and read 7064 times:



Quoting 2175301 (Reply 16):
vast majority of people are quite capable of understanding enough of how the airlines work in order to understand what the basic facts are for a situation.

I heartily disagree. Most don't know beans about aviation, or airlines, and have no clue how they work. Most think aircraft can just come and go as they please, and can't even fathom ATC. The businessmen and women have a good idea, as they travel quite a bit, but the Average Joe doesn't understand how complex it is trying to maintain a complex airline schedule, or what goes on behind the scenes to try and keep them moving.


User currently offlineSkyTeamTriStar From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 7 hours ago) and read 6948 times:



Quoting 2175301 (Reply 4):
It is my understanding that airlines do not have a lot of say in choices of diversion airports

In my experience working at DL, the WDR would list 1 to 2 cities as a diversion alternate if the destination airport was socked in by wx problems.

Quoting LawnDart (Reply 7):
Contrary to popular belief, airline employees do not go out of their way to lie to passengers...

Um, it happens almost too much just to appease the pax.....I'm guilty too.


User currently offlineSmcmac32msn From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2211 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 hours ago) and read 6425 times:



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 8):
Yes, us lowlife airline agents lie just to piss the likes of you off.

And stand in the freaking line to file a frivelous lawsuit againt an airline.

I love how you people think that an airline employee NEVER lies to customers.... you're sorely mistaken or really don't work in this field.



Hey Obama, keep the change! I want my dollar back.
User currently offlinePHL27RPhotog From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 78 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 hours ago) and read 6212 times:
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By the way, AVP is Avoca, PA. That's where the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre airport is. It's not Apple Valley, which I believe is in Wisconsin.


BillShullPhotography
User currently offlineSmcmac32msn From United States of America, joined May 2004, 2211 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 hours ago) and read 6076 times:

Theres no Apple Valley in Wisconsin. There is the town of Appleton in the Fox Valley. The identifier is ATW.


Hey Obama, keep the change! I want my dollar back.
User currently offlinePilotNTrng From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (7 years 4 hours ago) and read 5130 times:

OK let's get the techincal aspect into view here, as I am using freshly learned info from my recently added instrument rating. ( yes i am bragging, because it has taken me friggin forever to get it ha ha. ) Alternate airports are filed per the FAR's with the 123 rule. 1 hour before and after the ETA the weather at your destination airport must have 2000ft ceilings and 3sm visibility. An alternate also must be filed when your destination airport does not have a IAP. You also have to take in the fuel requirements for the flight. Per the FAR's all IFR flights must have enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing plus addtional fuel to the alternate if required and then 45 minutes there after. Weather, like in all other aspects of flying, also determines alternates. Hope this helped


Brad



Booooo Lois, Yaaaa Beer!!!
User currently offlineDeltabobo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (7 years 3 hours ago) and read 4464 times:



Quoting PilotNTrng (Reply 23):

Actually, Mr. Instrument Rated Pilot, as a newly licensed dispatcher, the rule for alternates as per 121 regulations is you must have 1 mi visibility & RVR 5000. If the ops specs state that you the pilot can operate with LSM (lower than standard mins), the mins drop down to 1/4 mi & RVR 1800. All of the aforementioned regs are all contingent on whether the PIC is HMC (high mins crew), which can complicate things more.

Most dispatching software packages today such as Jeppesen or Sabre AUTOMATICALLY file an alternate no matter what the weather is at the destination, mainly due to safety. While most releases are completed in about 3-5 minutes, about 4 to 4.5 minutes of that is done reviewing what you did to ensure economical and safe operation of a flight.



Dispatchers...saving pilots from themselves and their egos since 1938!
25 Kellmark : Guys let's not get carried away into too many technical details. In fact lower than standard alternate minimums under Part 121 must be approved under
26 PilotNTrng : And a Merry Christmas to you too Deltamomo. I made a mistake. I forgot that those FAR's weren't for 121 ops. I sure in the hell don't have to deal wi
27 Tb727 : You guys got it all wrong. The Captain wanted a Lobster Dinner for Christmas, the Captain gets what the Captain wants so they went to PWM and went to
28 SNCntry32 : Apple Valley, MN Appleton, WI On most routes, some there is none and others it is the originating airport. What if the plane and crew are certified f
29 Kellmark : Cat II applies for approaches for the destination airport. But for alternate airports there are different requirements when you are using them as alt
30 Mav75 : The 6, 7, or 8 alternate destinations are not necessarily planned alternates. Part of the XJT/COEX (and presumably CO) weather packet includes wx at
31 SNCntry32 : Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. Merry Christmas.
32 JayDub : OK, Mr. Newly Licensed Dispatcher guy...As a semi-experienced dispatcher, I'm not sure where you got this "AUTOMATICALLY added alternate" thing. I'm
33 ADXMatt : Airports don't divert planes. They may close a rwy for snow removal but it is up to the pilot/dispatcher to decide if they should hold or divert some
34 JayDub : Here, here! Anyone who is "Newly Licensed" knows nothing. This guy needs to drop the attitude, shut up, and learn how we really operate.
35 Burnsie28 : Which, I don't know if it still is, but NW's meteorologist used to handle all CO weather flights too. Also HP used to look at NW's weather and if the
36 Smcmac32msn : Nope the exact explanation I got was that they we're using that plane for a Fort Myers-MDW flight that divered to TPA for "smoke in the cockpit" of t
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