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An Early Arrival...really?  
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 825 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5090 times:

Several times in the past year I've been on various airlines, Southwest, American and Alaska, where we departed the gate on-time and the pilots made several announcements about an "early" arrival only to find the arrival gate is not available due to another flight still preparing to depart. Hardly feels like an early arrival to me. The pilots might be proud of themselves for getting us all to the destination airport early but it doesn't help the passengers if we can't actually get off the plane.

Q: Why does the crew proudly make these announcements when they must know the gate will not be available when they get there? Or do they not know? In either case seems to me better to not make claims one can't guarantee.

[Edited 2013-01-09 07:21:24]

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5074 times:

You're just ranting correct?

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
Q: Why does the crew proudly make these announcements when they must know the gate will not be available when they get there?


They don't know if a gate is going to be occupied or not when the tell you that after reaching cruise altitude, even on the shortest of flights.

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
In either case seems to me better to not make claims one can't guarantee.


It's not a guarantee by any means. I can't remember a PA where the crew says "We guarantee to be at the gate early", come on it is all an estimate.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2698 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5031 times:

Part of the reason I don't make any announcements between the welcome aboard P.A. and 15 minutes prior to landing.

User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4971 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
The pilots might be proud of themselves for getting us all to the destination airport early but it doesn't help the passengers if we can't actually get off the plane.

We get it; we make announcements with the BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE. We have no way of knowing if the gate is available until we land (and even then there are surprises.)

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
Why does the crew proudly make these announcements when they must know the gate will not be available when they get there?

We don't know.

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
Or do they not know?

We don't know.

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
In either case seems to me better to not make claims one can't guarantee.

I guarantee nothing. Passengers want to know when we will be getting there so we tell them; in absence from a specific message from the company telling us otherwise, we have no reason to believe our gate will not be available after landing.


User currently onlinedoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3407 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 4839 times:

I can definitely empathize. I used to get sent around the US Airways system and spent a lot of time on Air Wisconsin flights. After landing they would invariably say tell us all that we were 7 or 3 or however many minutes early. I bugged the heck out of me because we weren't. We had just touched down that number of minutes before our scheduled arrival time, and by the time we taxied in and actually convinced a ramper to marshal us in we would be 5-15 minutes late.

The only time I ever make reference to being early is when we are way ahead of schedule and waiting for our gate to open up, ie: The good news is we're 20 minutes early, the bad news is there is an aircraft on our gate, but they're pushing back now, so we should still be able to park and have you on your way a few minutes ahead of schedule. Thanks for your paitence and please for the love of god keep your %$^&^%$%^ seat belts on we're not there yet (not quite verbatim).



When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineWilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9032 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4648 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

During my announcements I always tell that we expect a schedule landing, but due to onforseen things you never know what happens.
We simply don't know really what is going on at an airport until we talk to the approach controller. Especially at the big airports you can have an estimate of 30 minutes early and still land delayed due to traffic/ weather or several other reasons.

Same can happen on the ground. You know you get Gate B25, but you don't know if it is free or not. So you contact ground and they tell you 'gate occupied'... So you have to wait. And you simply cannot know that 13 hours before you leave the gate at your departure airport.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4646 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
Or do they not know?

The crew would never know about the realistic ground situation on Gate availability until they get on the ground.....sometimes the BayGate occupied by the previous Aircraft is not cleared on time,leading to delays.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlinehighflyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3806 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 3):
Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):The pilots might be proud of themselves for getting us all to the destination airport early but it doesn't help the passengers if we can't actually get off the plane.
We get it; we make announcements with the BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE. We have no way of knowing if the gate is available until we land (and even then there are surprises.)

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):Why does the crew proudly make these announcements when they must know the gate will not be available when they get there?
We don't know.

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):Or do they not know?
We don't know.

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):In either case seems to me better to not make claims one can't guarantee.
I guarantee nothing. Passengers want to know when we will be getting there so we tell them; in absence from a specific message from the company telling us otherwise, we have no reason to believe our gate will not be available after landing.

Thank you, PGNCS.

26point2, its passengers like you that make me not care about my PA's anymore. i found your thread starter to be quite patronizing. Don't think we have a chip on our shoulder for letting you know we arrived early. Try coming in our seat for a day. leaving on time, most days, is a battle. other days its an all out war. there are dozens of people that have to work together to get a flight to pushback on time, and it takes some jockeying to get out of the ramp at a busy airport with enough time to be wheels up in time to give us a SHOT at being early. there are some days when i dont care if im 1 minute early, we are damn proud to have gotten you there NOT 30 minutes late! that can seem like a victory. gate agents, baggage handlers, maintenance, dispatch, FA's, passengers- there are so many times things go wrong before push that to you, my passenger who paid $90 to go to disney world, sure- you expect to get there on time. while the photos of cockpits on this site are great, dont for one minute think things should be easy and go as planned.

you mention how getting there early doesnt help you if you cant get off the plane... thats our same thought when i have a 25 minute turn AND an equipment swap, and thought i was going to get lunch (since i hadnt eaten since the 5am van) but nope, gate turns out to be occupied since the outbound had paper work issues, so now, our next flight is delayed since we need to wait for all of you to get off and then we swap airplanes.....dont worry, we wanted to be early too.

Im not ranting, nor im i trying to be argumentative. however, your post seemed very rude and snobby regarding our pride and getting you there on time.... hopefully this gives you a better insight.

Cheers,
highflyer

PS- PA's not guaranteed. restrictions apply. all rights reserved.



121
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3783 times:

Quoting highflyer9790 (Reply 7):
there are dozens of people that have to work together to get a flight to pushback on time

Just to add..Sometimes Staff on duty skip their meal just because they have no time to eat it with work ppending....see it often in Maintenance too.....Thats appreciated by most who are aware.

On the topic......There are so many factors that can delay an Aircraft.....The Work pressure is welcome as it reduces complacency, but the tension when present needs to be avoided.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineairbuster From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3775 times:

I say the same as Wilco, EXPECTING to arrive early!


FLY FOKKER JET LINE!
User currently offlinePihero From France, joined Jan 2005, 4445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3762 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

There are quite a difference between a base hub and an out airport.
For us at CDG, some 30 minutes before ETA, we receive an ACARS message stating our gate number and the boarding gates for our connecting passengers - all of them. Part of the purser after landing PA is to tell passengers that JFK flight XXX is boarding on gater YYY, Frankfurt flight ZZZ will be at gate NNN...
My PA is then : expected landing timle is... and they should be deplaning on schedule or x minutes early or y minutes late, for which I'd apologize on behalf of the company.
For the rest of the network, apart from Atlanta, LAX and a few other places, refer to PGNCS. His is a vivid picture of what our job is about.

...and our passengers are quite free to listen or not to our PAs.



Contrail designer
User currently offlinecornutt From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 338 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3680 times:

At one point in the late 1990s, DL ground ops at ATL had a terrible problem with gate scheduling. For a while, pretty much every flight I took to ATL, whether it arrived early, on time, or late, would arrive to find its gate occupied. Crews were really getting frustrated because they'd be told by ground ops that the gate was available, then they'd taxi there and find the gate occupied. I was once on a flight that taxiied around the ramp area for an hour, being sent to three different gate assignments only to find them all occupied. The guy next to me panicked and threatened to open the over-wing exit (we were sitting in an exit row) and I had to help get him calmed down.

User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 825 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3537 times:

@highflyer9790, et al....

Easy there chief....I understand what you're up against. I am a pilot too and fly to and from all the same places you do but in a Global Express. Occasionally I have subject myself to flying as an airline passenger however.

My job is very similar to yours.... only much better. We share the same airspace, weather, runways and taxiways. Only difference is I don't have to wait for a gate when I get there and I have the good sense to not promise anything to the passengers except a safe flight.

I was only asking why the " early arrival " announcements are made when there are so many variables that can make you look like a fool.

[Edited 2013-01-30 20:05:12]

User currently offlinebond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3494 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
I was only asking why the " early arrival " announcements are made when there are so many variables that can make you look like a fool.

... and speaking as a pilot and a passenger, it absolutely makes you look like a fool.

Quoting highflyer9790 (Reply 7):
dont worry, we wanted to be early too.

Sure you did. All we're saying is don't tell us as soon as we turn off the runway, how great it is that we're 20 minutes early ... and then taxi to the penalty box and shutdown for 45 minutes.

Personally, I'd wait until I get a gate assignment ...


jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3385 times:
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As a former gate planner for DL at JFK I can explain to you why planes land and have no gate. It is a combination of the bank system that most airlines use, as well as early arrivals combined with late or just on-time departures. There have been many occasions where international or transcon flights post 20-30 min early ETAs and we plan to have them hold for at least 10-15 min of that time because there would be simply no place to put it. The worst flghts to plan for were the quick turns there was no telling weather the ground crew could get the flight in and out in the scheduled time. Also not every gate (at least at JFK for DL) is not equal. Some gates did not have FIS access, some gates can only handle certain aircraft some gates were preferred for certain flights due to special requirements (think secondary screening for TLV). Even though you land 20 min early and you hold for a gate many times it was planned that the flight would wait a few minutes still allowing it to block in early.


The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlinebond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3328 times:

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 14):
Even though you land 20 min early and you hold for a gate many times it was planned that the flight would wait a few minutes still allowing it to block in early.

Yes, I think that is understood. The complaint is that often a big deal is made of landing early, only to get to the gate late. Also, it's meaningless to tell me that we arrived 30 minutes early, and get to the gate 5 minutes early.

It's simply common sense - maybe add a caveat, "We have arrived 30 minutes early, but we don't have a gate assigned yet , but I still anticipate getting to the gate early."

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently onlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1597 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3291 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
The pilots might be proud of themselves for getting us all to the destination airport early but it doesn't help the passengers if we can't actually get off the plane.
Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
Occasionally I have subject myself to flying as an airline passenger however.
Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
My job is very similar to yours.... only much better.

Oh, I see what's going on here.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 13):
... and speaking as a pilot and a passenger, it absolutely makes you look like a fool.

   When I started reading this topic I thought for sure it was your typical fanboy, armchair airline CEO type that wandered over to our Tech Ops from Civ Av to post this thread!

You know what it's like flying into a place like TEB in your Global, it just takes someone to sneeze at EWR and all your plans can go right out the window.



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4490 posts, RR: 21
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3290 times:

I never point out we're early, unless it's extraordinarily early (45 minutes or so, and I have a reasonable expectation that we'll make it to the gate early).

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
My job is very similar to yours.... only much better.

Oh, I see--you're a troll.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 15):
It's simply common sense - maybe add a caveat, "We have arrived 30 minutes early, but we don't have a gate assigned yet , but I still anticipate getting to the gate early."

Slippery slope. Best not to say anything at all.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17039 posts, RR: 66
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3166 times:

Most pax don't understand that scheduled time doesn't mean:
- Leaving the gate on the dot. As I sometimes can't resist telling random whiners at the gate: "What do you can if we leave 20 minutes "late". The only thing that matters is arrival time."
- Arriving at the runway on the dot. I only care about when I get off the plane. And of course if I am early Murphy's Law dictates that there will be a long line at Immigration and/or the luggage will be late.

Moreover, most pax don't understand the complexity of the airspace/airport system. Even in a place like HK, which has all of one airport for airlines, the unexpected happens. The US, for instance, is immensely complex. No way pilots can know everything that will happen. No way ATC can figure everything out.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21629 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3138 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
Easy there chief....I understand what you're up against. I am a pilot too and fly to and from all the same places you do but in a Global Express. Occasionally I have subject myself to flying as an airline passenger however.

My job is very similar to yours.... only much better. We share the same airspace, weather, runways and taxiways. Only difference is I don't have to wait for a gate when I get there and I have the good sense to not promise anything to the passengers except a safe flight.

I was with you until you went here. Look, I'm in corporate aviation too, and it has its advantages, but that's no reason to talk down to the airline guys (who, incidentally, don't have to live their lives on call like I do, and don't have to spend three days sitting around in the middle of freaking nowhere like I just did). We're all in the same sky; can't we just get along without having a contest to prove which sector is better?

Quoting tb727 (Reply 16):
You know what it's like flying into a place like TEB in your Global, it just takes someone to sneeze at EWR and all your plans can go right out the window.

Actually, very often TEB has minimal delays while EWR is slammed by volume. Of course, certain runway configurations dictated by weather will turn both airports into a nightmare, and when that happens TEB generally gets it worse.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
Most pax don't understand that scheduled time doesn't mean:
- Leaving the gate on the dot. As I sometimes can't resist telling random whiners at the gate: "What do you can if we leave 20 minutes "late". The only thing that matters is arrival time."

The problem is that "on the dot" is the standard that's used to develop on-time statistics. You're considered on-time if you arrive 14 minutes behind schedule, but you're considered late if you depart one minute behind schedule. It makes no sense at all, because you're right that the only thing that matters is arrival time, but that's the way the system is set up.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4985 posts, RR: 42
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3106 times:

This reminds me of a very interesting article I read a few years ago about passenger announcements from the cockpit. The airline recognizes their importance, as passengers repeatedly state what they wish to hear, and how they wish to me kept up to date.

However, the article was about those passengers who did NOT like to hear from the cockpit. It started with a skit of Jerry Seinfeld about cockpit announcements, and how agitated he became. Seinfeld kept saying (to his audience) "I don't want to hear about, just do it! Don't tell me altitude, or speed, just fly the plane, we don't need to hear about it."

And what the article suggested is that it was people with huge delusions of grandeur that were very uncomfortable with cockpit announcements ... as during that time they were not the centre of attention, and clearly they HAD to be the centre of attention. It talked about politicians, surgeons, professors ... anyone ... who felt that holding their focus was more important than anything someone in the cockpit could say.

Usually they would speak louder during the announcement, or try their best to discredit what was being said. Could this apply here? Who knows? But this is a very odd statement ....

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
My job is very similar to yours.... only much better.

I have flown both airline flying and corporate flying .. I KNOW which one is better. For example, I fly 9 days a month, 10 months a year, and get two months a year off on vacation. I am never on call, unless I allow it, and if I do, it costs the airline dearly. (Last month, I was "drafted" to fly YYZ-ZRH (a city I love) -YYZ, and was paid $5737.50 for 2 1/2 days work?. Oh ... and that is on top of the $22,000 a month regular pay.

I do have some buddies still in corporate flying, and some do make more than me ... working twice as many days.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17039 posts, RR: 66
Reply 21, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3097 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 20):
However, the article was about those passengers who did NOT like to hear from the cockpit. It started with a skit of Jerry Seinfeld about cockpit announcements, and how agitated he became. Seinfeld kept saying (to his audience) "I don't want to hear about, just do it! Don't tell me altitude, or speed, just fly the plane, we don't need to hear about it."

A classic:

Then you get on the plane. The pilot of course always has to come on the PA system.
This guy is so excited about being a pilot, he can't even stand himself.
"Well, I'm gonna take it up to about 20,000."
"Then I'm gonna make a left by Pittsburg."
"Then I'm gonna make a right by Chicago."
"And then I'm gonna bring it down to 15,000."
He's giving the whole route, all his moves.
We're in the back going: "Yeah, fine."
"You know, just do whatever the hell you gotta do. I don't know."
"Just end-up where it says on the ticket, really."
Do I bother him with what I'm doing?
Knocking on the cockpit door: "I'm having the peanuts now."
"Yeah, that's what we're doing back here."
"I thought I'd keep you posted."
"I'm not gonna have them all now, I'm just gonna have a few."
"I don't wanna finish it because it's such a big bag."



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3080 times:
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Well many times at DL pilots would call inrange, about 20 min before landing and that is when we would tell them wether we expect them to have an available gate when the landed. If we expected them to wait, we also advised them the departure time of the flight on their gate. Not all pilots called in range but those who did got the info. Those who didn't found out when the called the ramp controller for to see what taxiway the needed to enter the ramp.


The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 23, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3059 times:

Quoting tb727 (Reply 16):
When I started reading this topic I thought for sure it was your typical fanboy, armchair airline CEO type that wandered over to our Tech Ops from Civ Av to post this thread!

Agreed.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 22):
Those who didn't found out when the called the ramp controller for to see what taxiway the needed to enter the ramp.

sometimes aircraft just dont chocks off on time.....blocking the gate......Part of the game.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlinehighflyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2973 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
I am a pilot too and fly to and from all the same places you do but in a Global Express.
Quoting 26point2 (Reply 12):
My job is very similar to yours.... only much better.

I just gagged. Im not even going to comment. We each like different things, i would never touch corporate flying. I love the airlines. I like my schedule, the perks, and flexibility. Im now not going to demean yours, since thats unprofessional and rude.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 13):
... and speaking as a pilot and a passenger, it absolutely makes you look like a fool.
Quoting bond007 (Reply 13):
Personally, I'd wait until I get a gate assignment

Awesome! Tell me more about how to look like a fool!

Too bad there are so many people on this website like you both, brings down the quality of it and just makes people look like children. Since youre listed as a "pilot and aviation executive" i am not sure what you do, but my guess isnt flying professionally for an airline. I enjoy whatever relationship i can create on the PA with my pax and would never mislead them, though if i am wrong about something in the future i cant predict, not my fault, and id let them know whats happening.

shaking my head.

loving my airline job,
highflyer



121
25 bond007 : No need to shake your head. Let's keep this in perspective and not make it something it isn't. We simply said that it makes no sense to make an annou
26 highflyer9790 : agreed. I think thats more a FA PA for when we're moving, typically i am referring to my decent PA's when we have a planned arrival time. Only time a
27 Alasizon : In terms of when flying into an outstation, if the gate is not available, usually it means a delayed A/C from the previous departure. In terms of fly
28 bond007 : I think most care about getting to the gate. ...and that's fine as long as the crew didn't make a big deal about being 25 mins early. This really isn
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