Yflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 891 posts, RR: 1 Posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2046 times:
Yesterday my sister called me up to complain about her flight on AirTran Friday night (Feb. 22), saying she was never flying AirTran again and all that (mostly I think she was just frustrated that she didn't get home until after 3:00 am). I'd like to be able to explain exactly what was going on, but I don't know enough about the inner workings of airlines to understand why it was so severely delayed myself. I'm not looking for specific information on that flight (though if anyone does have any it would of course be much appreciated); I'm mostly just looking for someone who knows more about the airline industry than I do to explain what might have been going on.
She didn't specifically say what flight she was on, but from what I can gather she was on FL96 from ATL to RDU. This is obviously going to be third hand information, but the story as she explained it to me was this. It sounds like they were initially delayed due to the "domino effect" of other weather delays earlier that day. She didn't really complain much about that part, as she understands that the weather wasn't their fault. But then after they boarded they apparently had to "de-fuel" the plane. I'm guessing there must have been some sort of weight and balance issue, but the question she had, and I was at a loss to explain, is why would they have loaded too much fuel in the first place? It sounds like they also had to bump a few passengers. Anyway, this de-fueling process ended up taking over an hour, and they eventually admitted that was because the ramp workers didn't actually know how to do it and basically had to learn the procedure right then. So then they finally taxi out to the runway, only to have to go back to the gate due to a warning light in the cockpit related to the de-fueling thing. They got that fixed and finally got underway.
Northwestair From Poland, joined Jul 2001, 641 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1986 times:
It sounds like to me that it was just one of those days. The problems she had on her flight alone wouldn't make me never fly FL again. When it comes to defueling that is something you never want to do cause it does take some time. Plus you have to use that fuel again in another FL flight. She could of had this problem on another airline. Hopefully she will give FL another chance.
Yflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 891 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1942 times:
Quoting Northwestair (Reply 1): When it comes to defueling that is something you never want to do cause it does take some time.
I think she would probably forgive the other things -- the weather obviously isn't their fault and no one wants to take off in a plane with a potential mechanical problem. But whether rightly or wrongly, the defueling thing I think left her with the impression that someone at AirTran must be incompetent to firstly apparently load too much fuel in the first place and then not know how to remove it. Unfortunately that's the part I really don't know how to explain. So I guess my question is in what circumstances would you have to defuel?