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Question About Traveling This Holiday Week  
User currently offlinegegtim From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 67 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2566 times:

As much as I'd like to think that I'm wrong, this time next week we will probably be talking yet again about aircraft grounded on tarmacs full of PAX due to WX this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The basic rule of thumb for PAX here in the states is to call your airline before leaving for the airport for your flight to check for weather and other delays. My question is does an airline customer service agent have a detailed WX report available to know if there will be delays? My understanding is that when you call your airline, all they know is if the flight is still scheduled to depart on time. I do know that at GEG announcements will be made at morning departures that the airline cannot predict any unforseen delays for PAX traveling back east. I just think that any sane PAX would get up very early and watch weather channel to see what the weather models predict. Past that it's just luck. If I'm missing something here I feel confident that we have enough people in the know to correct me.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2527 times:

Nope, they have nothing. Not to mention the fact that they have no training to predict weather delays just like I as a pilot have no training in how to handle the duties of a gate agent when it comes to reconnecting you when your flight is delayed.

Preemtive cancellations have become much greater since the passenger bill of rights. You'll probably see a few on the east coast as this weather moves through. Passengers wanted the chance of being stuck on the plane for a few hours reduced. The result is they now get to stay in the airport for a few days while they find seats on oversold flights.



DMI
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2902 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2518 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 1):
Not to mention the fact that they have no training to predict weather delays just like I as a pilot have no training in how to handle the duties of a gate agent when it comes to reconnecting you when your flight is delayed.

   That's the key.

It can be sunny, 72 degrees with calm winds where this pax is starting and ending his/her trip. BUT, where is this plane coming from, what has been its routing all day? Has it been routed through cities having bad weather and delays? Did it have to go around weather? Has ATC issued GDPs or Ground Stops, holding patterns? What is the situation with the crew? Is it a crew swap, same crew as previous flight? Is the flight for the inbound crew delayed? Is there an aircraft swap for MX or efficiency? There are many, many more things that come into play when it comes to delays, and a reservations agent shouldn't need to have to explain all this nor predict it. What if they were incorrect in their prediction and the flight departed right on time and the pax misses their flight because "that reservation agent told me there would probably be a delay due to weather"? The next question would be....does the pax really need to know all this information when they probably have no idea what it all means? Basically, the simpler you make the information to relay, the simpler the message will be.



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlinegegtim From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2509 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 1):
Nope, they have nothing. Not to mention the fact that they have no training to predict weather delays just like I as a pilot have no training in how to handle the duties of a gate agent when it comes to reconnecting you when your flight is delayed.

I've been out of the aviation loop for about four years but if memory serves me correctly, you the pilot, had the final decision on whether to fly or not. And I could be thinking of thunderstorms in the area of the airfield when it was time to depart. Deversions due to deteriorating conditions is more of an ATC issue in my mind. I do remember both Delta and NWA 727's electing to sit on the hammerhead while a TS passed through while FE and SWA electing to go. I'm sure many factors went into those decisions considering DAL was headed to SLC; NWA to MSP while SWA and FE were bound for SEA and YVR respectively.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2504 times:

Quoting gegtim (Reply 3):
I've been out of the aviation loop for about four years but if memory serves me correctly, you the pilot, had the final decision on whether to fly or not.

Not quite sure what point you're trying to make. I as the Captain (PIC) can ALWAYS refuse to fly if I don't feel conditions are safe. The dispatcher has a joint co-dispatch responsibility and won't allow the aircraft to fly if they have reason to believe the flight can't be accomplished safely. Once airborne the PIC retains his responsibility for safe conduct of the flight, but it would be a highly unusual situation to ignore the dispatcher's input. The company exercises operational control and can cancel flights as it sees fit as well. If the company or dispatcher wants to cancel a flight I can't arbitrarily decide to reinstate the flight, PIC or not. None of this is unique to traveling during a holiday week.


User currently offlinegegtim From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2489 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 4):
Not quite sure what point you're trying to make.

If you want to call it a point, I am just trying to understand in my mind who calls the shots. There are so many situations that confuse me. Your a PIC; if your flight is diverted and the a/c winds up sitting on the tarmac full of pax for 7 hours it becomes national news. This was discussed in great detail in another thread after the last snow storm stranded flights in Hartford. The main discussion in that thread is at what point is the flight simply cancelled before it leaves FLL. There was lots of finger pointing. Switching to what I witnessed here at GEG during many summer t-storms the ops super always told me it was the pilots decision to fly or not. I'll leave this discussion with that understanding that your the man (or woman). I have a deep respect for what you people do as you invest a lot of time, money and heartache getting hours and experience to earn that left seat. In closing - I was at a line service supervisors seminar in PDX back in 2000 not long after an Empire Air Caravan crashed killing the pilot. Long after the day was over and we were in the hotel bar enjoying our brews a very heated discussion broke out about Caravan pilots being so arrogant that they always waived wake turbulence warnings. It never went to fist-a-cuffs, but I saw the pride in being a professional pilot and never stuck my nose where it didn't belong.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 weeks ago) and read 2400 times:

Well I can refuse to fly the flight if it's unsafe, but the airline retains operational control of the equipment, and it's their decision to cancel or delay the flight, though new crew, etc. may be required. If I am out on the ramp for more than 90 minutes you can bet I'm doing everything within my power to either get to a gate or get airborne. I've already had to return to the gate once after 120 minutes taxi out in JFK to get to a gate within three hours to allow people the opportunity to deplane. We got to a gate, opened the door, several PA's were made, including by me, nobody got off, and we taxiied back out and got off in another two hours. Brilliant law, Congress.

Who calls the shots? Lots of people can stop the flight. Only one can make it go. With that in mind, the Captain doesn't have the authority (in companies I'm familiar with) to actually cancel the flight, though his or her decision may result in a cancellation.


User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2725 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2391 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 6):
I've already had to return to the gate once after 120 minutes taxi out in JFK to get to a gate within three hours to allow people the opportunity to deplane. We got to a gate, opened the door, several PA's were made, including by me, nobody got off, and we taxiied back out and got off in another two hours. Brilliant law, Congress.

Ha, I had the same thing happen at LGA a year ago.

I just wish some career politician was on board so they could have seen what a disgrace their decision was.

We taxied for 2:30, our departure fix had been shut down for a while and at 2:40 it opened back up and we were #2 for it in all of NYC, with just 20 miles in trail but we had to go back to the gate at 2:45 because we were very close to the 3 hour limit (we weren't far from the gates and we had already worked out a clear path with ground and the gate with ops).

We taxi back and a customer service agent comes on board. He rudely tells everyone they can get off but not get back on, and if they do get off they won't get their bags. Nobody wants to get off. He walks up the jetway, PIC overrides the agent's announcement, and three decide to walk up with the F/O and buy a sandwich. Everyone gets back on.

We taxi out for another 2 hours then fly 3 to our destination.

End result of the 3 hour rule that night: an addition 2.5 hours travel time.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2330 times:

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 7):
I just wish some career politician was on board so they could have seen what a disgrace their decision was.

Yeah, no kidding! When I made the PAs explaining the situation, I made it abundantly clear exactly why we were doing what we were doing.


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