NWAA330
Topic Author
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Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 4:42 am

My friend was on today's UA flight 644 from BOI to DEN which was delayed due to weather. He and his family were to connect on UA 1050 to DTW but missed their connection. Now 644 arrived in DEN at 9:59 and 1050 departed at 10:07am. The two flights were 1 gate apart (B44/B46) and my friends family is made up of 6 people. Doesnt it seem reasonable that UA could hold the flight for at most 10 minutes to get those six passengers on board? My friend and his family arrived at the gate while the a/c was still there but were not allowed to board and were put on a waitlist for flights later this afternoon. We all know 6 people are not going to make it on to a plane this afternoon as long as they are waitlisted. Doesnt is seem logical that for SIX people UA could hold the flight for a couple minutes? Im not trying to UA bash im sure this happens at all airlines everyday but it doesnt seem like it would make that big of a deal. Any insights?
To Fly is to Live.
 
TransCon1976
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 4:51 am

Unfortunately, you have illustrated yet another example of ridged archaic policy and procedure. One would think that with United in bankruptcy, they would want to do their very best to make everyone's experience on their carrier the best they can. One person or six people are obviously still of little consequence to "THE OPPERATION". I'm sure that the ground staff was just following a page out of their policy and procedure manual. The same one that will take its place next to that of EA/PA/TW and others if they don't change their corporate mentality.
 
avt007
Posts: 1989
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 4:53 am

Their bags wouldn`t have made it anyway, so why get to your destination without it? I'm sure that factored into UAs decision. Also, by helping six people they build more delays into the system , affecting hundreds. Realistically, it was probably a snap decision by a CSM who had to consider downstream delays, and possible gate delays for the next flight inbound. They chose the lesser of two evils.
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 4:57 am

NWAA330:

Since those folks were at the gate and the plane was still there, they should have been put on it. Ten minutes can be made up in flight.

However, airlines come up with such rigid rules and threaten their employees with termination if they do not follow them that those rules are followed to the letter. It's foolishness and it happens in Legacy Land with alarming frequency.
 
Whiteguy
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:07 am

As was said earlier, yes the pax could have been put on in 10 mins but how long would it have taken to get their bags on to the flight. People seem to forget how long it takes to off load an aircraft. I'm sure there were a few reasons why they were not put on the flight. Friends of mine were not allowed on a flight because there were no TSA agents at the gate, they had already left.
 
NWAA330
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:15 am

Of course I understand that their bags could not have been unloaded and loaded in such a short ammount of time, that is out of the question. But I have had similar situations before on NW where they simply fly the bags in on a later flight and ship them from the airport to your hotel or home. If airlines cared about the opinions of their pax then that is what should be done. And as Piedmont girl stated ten minutes could be made up in flight and would not "...build more delays into the system, affecting hundreds".
To Fly is to Live.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:23 am

What delays exactly would be built into the system...I can only think of two:

Delays for that gate, which is more likely, especially if that gate has to have a quick turnaround (considering this is at DEN we are talking, likely the case)

Delays for that particular aircraft headed to DTW, which is unlikely, considering time can be made up in-flight, and turnarounds at non-hubs are generally less strenuous, considering nobody is connecting to another flight at DTW (barring the odd Expedia routing from DEN-DTW-IAD or something like that), and it's pretty straightforward that all baggage is going to be off-loaded to the baggage claim, and accepted from the check-in counters, rather than going to or from other flights...plus the flight is likely pre-catered for the turnaround...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
ckfred
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:28 am

I have been on a number of AA flights where the flight was held for as few as two people. Once, on a 757 flight from ORD to BOS, my flight was late. It was coming from SNA, but had diverted to MSP due to snow at ORD.

At one point, the gate agent had backed the jet bridge away from the aircraft. Then, several minutes later, the jet bridge was moved up to the forward door, and two more people boarded.

It turns out that the next flight to BOS had gone from half empty to overbooked due to ours being delayed, so the extra passengers had been walked over to my flight.

An interesting one was the case on my in-laws. They were flying DAY-LGW on NW via DTW. The DAY-DTW flight was late. As they taxied into the gate, the captain announced that all passengers who were not connecting for European flights to remain in their seats until those who were connecting had deplaned.

A gate agent met my in-laws and told them to start running, because the London flight was at the other end of the terminal (not the new midfield terminal at DTW).

Turned out that NW held the LGW departure for 5 minutes. Apparently, NW didn't want to spend the money to put my in-laws on the BA flight for LHR.
 
TransCon1976
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:31 am

100% baggage/passenger match means that should the passenger not show up for the flight and they have checked luggage, then the bags would have to be pulled before the aircraft blocked. HOWEVER, misconnecting luggage is not subject to the same rule. If it were, then lost luggage wouldn't be legal. The point is that this is the way the "legacy carriers" have always done business and making exceptions to iron clad "Company Policy" is unthinkable. Airlines are measure by the DOT on A-14 arrivals, not D-14 arrivals. The miniscule time that it would have taken for those six people to walk to the gate right next to the one in which they arrived could easily have been made up in the air, and even if it took as long as a 13-minute delay on the ground and made up no time in the air, the flight would still have made A-14 on time arrival. United also provides more time for their staff to turn an aircraft thereby creating another opportunity to make up those few minutes.

Word of mouth is more powerful than any marketing campaign and people love to complain. In an economic climate as unfavorable as ours is now one would logically assume that perhaps its time to change the way business is done. CUSTOMER SERVICE!!
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:40 am

Transcon1976:

HOWEVER, misconnecting luggage is not subject to the same rule. If it were, then lost luggage wouldn't be legal. The point is that this is the way the "legacy carriers" have always done business and making exceptions to iron clad "Company Policy" is unthinkable.

What's so crazy about this is that even if they had some concern about the contents of the bags, they would have all kinds of time to check them before departure of the next flight. This is not rocket science.

Running an airline is as much art as it is science. When you lose the art, you generally lose the airline, too, sooner or later.
 
rsmith6621a
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:41 am



Has anyone ever heard of a IFR departure clearence??????

Yes it seems logical to hold a plane for a few minutes to get late arriving passengers on board but when you think of the FARs that govern a flight I think things become clear WHY they dont.


If UAL 1050 had been a non originating flight and at the gate for 58 minutes already they would only have 1 minutes to get the PAX,BAGS,Pushback and taxi underway before a new dispatch release would be needed.

To further understand why holding a flight is somtimes out of the question you must remember that that flight has a date with ATC to be enroute to its destination 1 minute can make or break wheather or not the system can handle that aircraft safely.

The airline industry is not perfect and neither are the PAX that fly them. You must remember that missconects are less than .0001 of the total daily ops it is unfortunate though when they happen to you.
Did You Ever Think Freedom Could Be this Bad
 
TransCon1976
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:03 am

PiedmontGirl,



It seems that even bankruptcy and the very real possibility that United could cease to exist with tens of thousands out of work, thinking out of the box is still as foreign to them as palm trees in Alaska.

Rsmith6621a, Whiteguy, SHUPirate1,

You have all made valid points as to why delaying this particular flight for 6 people to board would be difficult and there could be further effects form this action in the system. I do not dispute that theoretically a 10-minute delay could turn in to a cascading issue.

The point that I'm trying to make is that instead of coming up with reasons, albeit plausible ones, for saying no and not holding the flight for these six paying customers, all carriers should be coming up with more creative ways to say yes and make it happen.

Here is a scenario for you. Suppose they lost their slot and had to get a new release. Suppose also that they were able to make up not one second of that ground delay. Perhaps knowing that this aircraft is delayed inbound everyone might just have to be ready for it on the ground when it arrives and "HUSTLE" a little.

Worst case scenario, the flight is delayed downline. You have now gone above and beyond for these six people who are now not only grateful and more likely to choose UA over anyone else, each of them will tell 10 people, and so on. You see these six customer's deemed "inconsequential" compared to the greater good of the huge operation of United aren't just 6 people. The represent a loss of 6 revenue passengers and countless others that will hear this story of cold indifference.


 
NWAA330
Topic Author
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:11 am

Welcome to my respected users list transcon1976
To Fly is to Live.
 
rsmith6621a
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:12 am

>>>The point that I'm trying to make is that instead of coming up with reasons, albeit plausible ones, for saying no and not holding the flight for these six paying customers, all carriers should be coming up with more creative ways to say yes and make it happen.<<<

Some of these creative sollutions will have to come from the FAA first.
Did You Ever Think Freedom Could Be this Bad
 
TransCon1976
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:13 am

And you to mine NWAA330.
 
UAL747
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:15 am

The first time I went to Japan, it was on a youth exchange program. We had about 50 kids with us including several adults. Our bus from Sendai to Narita was late in getting us to AA), Japan">NRT. We called AA and made them aware of the problem and they held the plane for us. Guess if you have 50 plus passengers it makes a difference.

UAL747
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:26 am

Rsmith6621a:

If UAL 1050 had been a non originating flight and at the gate for 58 minutes already they would only have 1 minutes to get the PAX,BAGS,Pushback and taxi underway before a new dispatch release would be needed.

The BAGS would go on the next flight. The release is sent by computer. And.....the airplane is going to sit there for a few minutes if some little old lady decides to visit the lav at the last minute. Can't leave with her in there.

When stuff like this happens, everyone just hustles a little to get the airplane on time again. The F/As serve a little faster because the airplane is traveling a little faster. The pilots kick the airplane in the butt a little and move it along. When you get to the gate at the next place, the ramp guys get a hustle on to move it out again.

People can work at more than one speed. If the airplane is half full and it's a two hour flight the F/As are not to be moving nearly as fast as if it's a full plane and a 30 minute flight. When it's short and full, the F/A is moving so fast it's a wonder his/her hair doesn't catch on fire.

Transcon1976:

It seems that even bankruptcy and the very real possibility that United could cease to exist with tens of thousands out of work, thinking out of the box is still as foreign to them as palm trees in Alaska.

I don't think these folks even want their employees to know there is an outside to the box.
 
707437
Posts: 136
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:28 am

How do you know that your six friends still had seats left on that flight?

At 10 min to go all the standby pax (and their baggage) would've been cleared. If a standby is ready to go the gate agent has to clear the standby list at some point.
 
NWAA330
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:32 am

United should know that they were arriving at the next gate and at what time. It was a UA to UA connection and they know where every plane and passenger is every step of the way. If UA had been on top of things they should have noticed this. I was making a tight delay related connection at KLIA last year with MH and they had personell waiting at the gate who rushed us to our connection which was a full 777 held for 15 minutes. THAT is what SERVICE is about. We then made the lost time up in the air and arrived on time.
To Fly is to Live.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:35 am

If I'm not mistaken (and I ran into this last week), if a passenger puts themselves on the standby list for a flight at the check-in counter, the passenger's bags get placed on the earlier flight whether they clear standby for that flight or not...for example, I was confirmed on flight 573 ORD-IAH (I ended up VDB from that flight, but that's another story) and standing by on flight 1401, which left two hours earlier...my bag was tagged for 1401 despite the fact that I was not confirmed on the flight...and as it turned out, I didn't make it on to 1401...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
707437
Posts: 136
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:41 am

As I remember on DL my bags were tagged as standby and were in a bin on the ramp and when I was cleared they grabbed my bags so that my bags & I flew on the same flight.

I think that is how it is supposed to work
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:45 am

707437-As I remember, my bags were simply checked through, with no notation of 573 on the bags...of course, I was on neither 1401 or 573 (I ended up on 703, which left five hours after 573, a result of a voluntary bump), so I wouldn't know which plane the bags actually arrived on...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
FA4UA
Posts: 777
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:45 am

Just some numbers to back their decision for pushing that plane without the six friends...

For each minute we delay a flight at UA it costs $50 domestically in fuel burn, staffing at the gate, gate rental, possible overtime for ground staffing, starting a domino effect for not getting that staff off to the next gate and next flight, possible domino effect of misconnections and then the terrible expense of reaccomodating passengers.

When it's an international wide-body flight it costs $80 a minute to hold a plane.

The reservation system is designed to allow for enough connection time between flights (usually 40 min or more). The airline has to draw a line at some point and say the flight is closed. We close the door at five minutes prior to push and we have usually done all the weights and balance paperwork at ten till. At some point there has to be a cut-off.

United is trying to keep it's number one on time record for the second year. We're trying to be as accurate as a Swiss clock and the end result is better then pissing off six people that probably bought e-fares... a global airline that is always on time. Millions of people rely on that and buy our tickets knowing they'll be ontime.

FA4UA
The debate continues... Starwood or Hyatt... which is better
 
carduelis
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:50 am

. . . the passenger's bags get placed on the earlier flight whether they clear standby for that flight or not . . . for example . . . my bag was tagged for 1401 despite the fact that I was not confirmed on the flight . . . and as it turned out, I didn't make it on to 1401 . . .

Yet another excellent example of Aviation Security in the United States!

Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
jjbiv
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:52 am

There comes a point when you just have to shut the a/c door, block out, and depart. Misconnects are unfortunate, but from a macro prospective it is more important to move the majority of the folks onboard the aircraft than to wait for the few stragglers -- regardless of the reason for these late arriving customers. The baggage issue is certainly present; no airline wants to separate customers from their luggage. The decision mix changes somewhat if you're dealing with the last flight of the evening, however. Also, keep in mind the strong westerly winds that have predominated of late -- making as close to an on-time departure as possible imperative. It is also possible that another aircraft was holding for the gate that was being tied up by the connecting flight, thus inconveniencing and delaying even more customers and possibly blowing even more connections. Getting a picture for the complexity involved in the decision?

Customers need to learn to be patient; a few hours is not a long time to wait in the big scheme of things. Too many people are self-centered and quick to accuse an airline of poor customer service because they were inconvenienced. While every disservice to a customer is regrettable, it is the airline's job to move as many customer as possible as safely and expeditiously as possible. I realize it is difficult, but try to keep the big picture in mind. Also, the DOT needs to come up with a more realistic way to measure airlines. Airlines are now nearly myopically focused on A+14 timeliness to the exclusion of other important things simply because it is easy to compare OT percentages at the end of the month. Although easy, such a comparison is as meaningless as comparing the circumference of a grapefruit to the length of a banana.

As frustrating as this may be to hear, there are simply too many variables involved to second guess a hold/depart decision after the fact. If you're curious, ask the gate agent after the flight departs. The answer you're likely to get is "ops told me to do it." While that may sound capricious, remember the big picture and trust the airline's actions are in the best interest of the majority of its customers. Whatever you do, don't give the obligatory "I'm never flying X Airlines again. Above all, relax and have patience.

joe
 
TransCon1976
Posts: 30
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:55 am

LOL PiedmontGirl,

Vie have only da box...De box is your world...Do not question de visdom of de box...any attempt to do so vill be considered a hostile threat und you vil be charged vith treason!

Ah yes, the joys of oversold flights and revenue stand-by's. Lets just say that someone on the ground like the customer service agent who's job it was to reconcile the flight to a lil' look-see at her APOLLO set. Why wasn't every accommodation made for these people by the ground staff prior to the late arrival of the connecting flight?

When we have people making a tight connection, we make every attempt to reseat these people toward the front of the aircraft for landing and most people don't mind moving to a different seat for the final 20 minutes of the flight so that a fellow passenger can make their flight. The ground crew is already aware of the situation and when the aircraft is met at the gate one of our agent will meet them and whisk them toward their waiting aircraft. Usually, they will have already made the bag decision and depending on exactly how close the connection was they would already have that information for the customer. I have NEVER seen or heard of a situation where a passenger refused to board a flight that was being held for them because their luggage would arrive the next day at the latest. They are grateful to get where they are going and the bag delay is generally a minor inconvenience. We're not talking lost bags, we know where they are, they are just delayed. Incidentally, as no carrier is accepts responsibility for weather delays as they are considered "ACTS OF GOD", it also wansn't the passengers fault either.

These passengers are who pay your salary, not to be treated as an inconvenience that is easier just not help at all. Lazy is easy...And for the legacy carriers that pay some ground people 8x that of some other carriers just because of the employees longevity, one would think that one would be glad to help or at least feel obligated to help. Either that or give back some of your pay so that your marketing department can now pay twice as much to attract new customers for each of those who won't fly you again. The cost of retaining a customer to attracting new ones is four fold.

Man...what is it going to take for people to realiize that the days of just simply giving the customer what you want to offer and not hear their needs and concerns are OVER for good. Competition is fierce and others are listening to the needs of their customers and responding.



 
SHUPirate1
Posts: 3428
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:53 pm

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 6:57 am

Doesn't it then cost several thousand dollars though, because you now have a downline flight to DTW that is overbooked by six people...and generally, overbooked passengers are then put on flights that are again overbooked, and it creates that domino effect...additionally, most passengers going to DTW on UA aren't connecting to anywhere, except for the odd DEN-DTW-IAD passenger that expedia conjured up to save somebody about 4 bucks instead of the typical nonstop...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
kurt
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 10:04 am

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:07 am

You people sound so naive. "Me, me, me." Missing a connection at 10 in the morning is no big deal when there are plenty of flights leaving later. A bit inconvenient for a few passengers, better for many other passengers.

How do you know there weren't more delayed, connecting passengers at other gates also trying to get on the same flight to DTW? It may have taken them 15 or 20 minutes to get to the gate, so why not wait a little bit longer for them? Also, it costs UA (and every airline) money to have bags shipped to passengers' homes.

Infrequent travelers only see themselves and don't look at the big picture (not to mention having sky-high, unrealistic expectations). I think UA made the right decision in this case. It's better to leave on time.
 
TransCon1976
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 12:11 pm

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:12 am

By simplifying fare structures and rules and by simply making NON-REFUNDABLE tickets NON-REFUNDABLE the seat is paid for regardless of the no-show factor, thereby eliminating the argument made for overbooking flights. If there is and available seat on a flight and a person who missed their previous flight or was early for the next flight is accommodated as revenue stand-by. If there are no seats available, they accept this and either wait for the next flight as a stand-by if they missed their original confirmed flight through no fault of the airline. The other option is that they pay the nominal change fee and are reconfirmed on a flight with available seats. No compensation required and none is expected. The practice of overbooking while an industry staple is shameful and WN/B6 prove it unnecessary to make a profit.
 
NWAA330
Topic Author
Posts: 196
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:22 am

Kurt,

I can assure you that thse pax are extremely experienced flyers, two of which hold platinum status with NW. They informed me that they will keep their business with Northwest in the future as NW HAS held flights for them in similar circumstances. Also there were no seats available on any of the UA flights leaving later that day and UA knew that they would need to be placed on standby. Maybe there were more delayed, whos to say but when some of them can be placed on the a/c with little or no inconvenience to their fellow pax then they should be. They were AT the gate while the A/c was still sitting there. And assume your scenario is correct, there are others who missed that flight, with UA having all their remaining flights booked then thats just 6 more passengers they now need to deal with and possibly pay to be rerouted or put up in a hotel, canceling any monetary benefit they may have had from leaving five minutes earlier.
To Fly is to Live.
 
SHUPirate1
Posts: 3428
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:53 pm

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:23 am

Transcon-These passengers missed their UA flight because they were on another UA flight...not because they were walking from Boise to Denver...if DEN was the originating airport, yes, I see your point...but these passengers have to be re-accomodated in one way or another, and that way generally requires that you overbook the next flight even further, and, as a result, have six more volunteers that you need, which means six more free tickets UA has to give out, which means six revenue passengers that UA is losing because they had to give out these tickets, which means UA is losing at least 12 seats, and often 24, if the six passengers that were denied boarding have to connect...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:32 am

Transcon1976:

Vie have only da box...De box is your world...Do not question de visdom of de box...any attempt to do so vill be considered a hostile threat und you vil be charged vith treason!

LOL LOL LOL......and it's the truth, too.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy And it's painfully obvious that it's the truth.

I've never heard of anyone refusing to go without their bags, either. The bags, as you pointed out, are not lost. They're just running a little late. Most people would rather get where they are going and get the bags, at the latest, the next day and usually within a few hours.

Getting those connections made is an ensemble effort. Everybody has to be awake and alert. Everybody has to do his part, not just stand there babbling about some policy or other. The primary objective is to keep that passenger and get him or her or them to buy more tickets. You want them to remember you fondly. These happy campers will tell others who will also become happy campers and so on and so on and so on.............. Word of mouth is monumentally important.

The idea that people can be shoved around and treated like pieces of machinery is an idea that should be dead. Competition is ferocious and those who do not take heed will surely die. Reality is relentless and ruthless and it will kill you every time if you are not paying close attention to it.

An airline that is so rigid that it cannot deal with snags, snafus, and delays will not survive. It's not whether or not something will go wrong. Something will go wrong. It's how you handle it when it does that really counts and shows the mettle of the operation.


 
kurt
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 10:04 am

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:37 am

330:

It sounds to me like there's a built-in bias against UA in this case, based on their (and your) preference for NW. This situation is in no way unique to UA. Every major airline has big hubs and passengers misconnect. It's a fact of travel life. But when I'm inconvenienced when traveling I don't go on a crusade against the airline on which I'm traveling.

Also, you can't operate on the assumption that every oversold flight will go out full. It sucks to be on standby but it doesn't automatically mean that you will be left behind flight after flight.

And in my opinion these passengers sound like the type who wouldn't be grateful to make a connection but would probably complain that they had no time to hit the bathroom/McDonalds/gift shop while in DEN.
 
TransCon1976
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 12:11 pm

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:42 am

SHUPirate1,

I couldn't agree with you more. These issues are inherent problems plaguing the hub and spoke carriers. Yield management is a challenge, but few have more years in the air and time to refine the system than United. You are correct about the fact that they weren't walking from BOI-DEN. If they were walking and showed up late, then they would be stand-by space available or pay a change fee to reconfirm as it is the passengers responsibility to check-in early enough to make the flight. With a weather delay, once that aircraft was cleared to depart, one of the Customer Services Agents or Supervisors should have started checking connections and made for the best possible accommodation, not always the cheapest in the short term. You can't operate a major company by being penny-wise and dollar foolish. UNITED IS BANKRUPT! Something, actually a lot of things, that have been done since the dawn of the airline industry DON'T WORK!

It is UNITED'S fault when the oversell their flights and should and do have to make restitution. When you buy an airline ticket you are really purchasing a contract of carriage. If you are involuntarily denied boarding by an airline, they have broken the contract and there are penalties.

Not EVERY airline practices overbooking. It doesn't HAVE to be done in order to be successful. Just because that's the way business was done in the pas doesn't prove its viability or dictate its future necessity.

 
PiedmontGirl
Posts: 1112
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:47 am

Transcon1976:

With a weather delay, once that aircraft was cleared to depart, one of the Customer Services Agents or Supervisors should have started checking connections and made for the best possible accommodation, not always the cheapest in the short term.

That is exactly what is supposed to happen. That should have been taken care of long before the flight ever touched down in DEN.

You can't operate a major company by being penny-wise and dollar foolish.

Amen to that, brother!!

 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:51 am

Transcon-While I couldn't agree with you more about that first paragraph, if I was running an airline, I would oversell, simply because there are a lot of passengers, myself especially, who eagerly show up at the gate check-in counter, and the first thing they ask is to be put on the VDB list...and while overbooking isn't necessary, and it, in a way, costs an airline money, passengers appreciate it...Back to the topic, unless either there was an extremely quick turnaround in Detroit for that plane, or there was another passenger on that plane connecting in Detroit to go to Washington-Dulles (first one possible, second one highly unlikely) I feel they should have held the plane, and a wise company would have done that...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
NWAA330
Topic Author
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:52 am

Kurt,

As you may have noticed in my thread starter..."Im not trying to UA bash im sure this happens at all airlines everyday..." I have absolutely nothing against United and have had multiple enjoyable trips with them in the past. I personally have never had a problem with them and wish them all the best, it just so happens that in this case they are the airline of discussion, nothing more. My friends chose to fly UA becuase it had a better connection than NW through MSP and would not have done so if they had a "bias".

Also I'm very glad you chose to share your opinion of what type of people these pax were but unfortunately your wrong.

Piedmontgirl/transcon,

Its like you guys are talking to a blank wall. Don't worry I hear exactly what your saying.

Regards,
NWAA330

[Edited 2004-01-03 23:52:45]
To Fly is to Live.
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:04 am

NWAA330:

Its like you guys are talking to a blank wall. Don't worry I hear exactly what your saying.

Thanks for saying so. That's basically how it is.

Thinking outside the box is scary for some people. It means you have to take responsibility for yourself.
 
m404
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:05 am

If all the later flts were booked solid it's probable that this one was too. Most likely it was oversold. Perhaps UA (or any carrier) agents decided to give seats to standbys or it was in fact already full and let it go rather than face at least six more oversales.

As for not thinking out of the box lets put it a new way. WHO is going to be allowed to think out of that box? Someone has to have specific authority based on the knowledge on hand. Not just each gate agent can make that decision. Many times the chain of command does in fact stop when it is in the hands of whomever has just remembered the blistering speech by someone who has never handled a pax but is still "the Boss" ranting about "on Time, on time, and on time. Otherwise it's your butt." Mi(u)ddle management must answer for your sins but still know that NO ONE will back them so seem to enforce arcane rules that make an agents fear factor truly pucker.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:13 am

M404:

If all the later flts were booked solid it's probable that this one was too. Most likely it was oversold. Perhaps UA (or any carrier) agents decided to give seats to standbys or it was in fact already full and let it go rather than face at least six more oversales.

This was a UA/UA connection. It was United's job to know they had connecting passengers and make accomodation for them. They knew when the connecting flight was due in and what gate it was using. In this case, it was right next door. They knew, or should have known, that they had connecting passengers.

As for who is "allowed" to think outside of the box: A company either has a corporate culture that values and encourages this or it doesn't. It either encourages its employees to make business happen, or it doesn't. There is no such thing as someone being "allowed" to think outside of da box.
 
alphascan
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:22 am

The sad part about this thread is that we only have one side of the story, in third person. There could be multiple satisfactory reasons why that jetway was not opened. There could be multiple unsatisfactory reasons why that jetway was not opened. But we won't be able to figure it out with the info we have.

Any airline could be given a bad rap with this same scenario, deserved or not.

I must say that a couple of the scenarios given in this thread trying to justify the agent's decision, by seemingly UA employees, do little to give me confidence in UA's customer service culture, while others seem totally justifiable.
"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
 
Guest

RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:33 am

The goal of an airline is to piss off as few as possible, so allowing the hundred or so on board to depart ontime is far more important then making 6 people mad. The only time I have seen a plane held for connecting pax was when it was a large group and I mean 20 plus people just because there would be no possible way to accomadate them. 6 people have a fairly good chance on being cleared as a standby.
 
m404
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 9:09 am

PiedmontGirl

Unfortunatly what you said changes nothing but the perspective and I quite agree with you from strictly a customers viewpoint. Again I am not saying this is what happened. How would I know? But it is a possible scenario.

"This was a UA/UA connection. It was United's job to know they had connecting passengers and make accomodation for them. They knew when the connecting flight was due in and what gate it was using. In this case, it was right next door. They knew, or should have known, that they had connecting passengers"

OK. That said. My possibility says the connecting station agent did know exactely how many seats he needed as well as how many he DIDN'T have left! We must remember that each flights oversale factor is different. Based on past performance a Las Vegas style gamble is made that the no-show rate will be nearly that same as before. In the quest to get a full acft we make that gamble and sometimes your the windshield and sometimes your the bug. It's not full proof in any way and the agent AND the passenger is the bug.

" There is no such thing as someone being "allowed" to think outside of da box."

Oh we are all allowed to think out of it but just not allowed to act on it. That is assigned to our supervisors. We are encouraged to bring facts to them but they have the power to act upon those facts. We do not. Otherwise it would be operational anarchy and THAT would be the company culture. That is also how those lower in the chain are protected from their own actions as far as discipline is concerned.

I completly agree with you it is a wonderful culture to cultivate for a loyal happy employee and passenger but those of us who have "grown up" coming from smaller carriers into the Mega(liths) carriers of today all resent the lack of imput we think we used to have but have had to face reality. Perhaps that is one reason those carriers didn't make it. Those local decisions could be just one more factor the LCCs MIGHT have over us. I don't know. What I do know is that evolution occurs and as they get bigger and the competion dies, a replacement DINOSAUR will emerge.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 9:36 am

M404:

I completly agree with you it is a wonderful culture to cultivate for a loyal happy employee and passenger but those of us who have "grown up" coming from smaller carriers into the Mega(liths) carriers of today all resent the lack of imput we think we used to have but have had to face reality. Perhaps that is one reason those carriers didn't make it.

JetBlue's employees are encouraged to think outside of the box and make business happen. They do not have a corporate culture of anarchy. Southwest's employees are encouraged to think outside of the box and make business happen. Neither do they have a corporate culture of anarchy.

These big and old carriers are not perishing because they are either big or old. They are perishing because they refuse to do anything at all to change themselves. Deregulation took place twenty-five years ago. Not one of these carriers has made a change that is any more than cosmetic in the way they do business.

I don't know what small carrier you came from, but mine didn't drop dead. It was purchased as the most expensive airline purchase in history. We, too, were encouraged to think outside of the box and make it happen. We did not have a corporate culture of anarchy.

The inability to see thinking outside the box as a good thing indicates an almost surreal level of fright on the part of management. They believe that every person on the payroll is untrustworthy and is likely to turn into some rampaging savage at the slightest chance.
 
AA777MIA
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 9:49 am

The policy of dispatching a flight when passengers are just a few mins away is very archaic, however.... There are a few things that come into play with this. First off, it is NOT the agents final decision, at least not at AA. The agents are under EXTREME pressure to have an ontime departure, if they do not, it could mean their job! Does not matter if the passenger was 1 or 10mins away, it goes on their record, and too many instances ( I believe its 3), and they are BUH BYE.. There are many factors that come into play, if it is a flight that is say in the beginning or middle of the day, chances are, that flight will not be delayed. Doing so would delay the flights sked for that aircraft ALL day long. If it is the last flight of the day, then chances are that the flight will be held, especially if it is for more than one person. This is just my opinion, and not policy. Just something I have observed over the years..
 
PiedmontGirl
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:14 am

AA777MIA:

There are a few things that come into play with this. First off, it is NOT the agents final decision, at least not at AA. The agents are under EXTREME pressure to have an ontime departure, if they do not, it could mean their job.

Oh, I would never think it's the agent's personal fault. I know how the mindless following of the rules thing is. I am very well acquainted that.  Smile

My problem is the the carrier itself and the culture that demands obedience at all costs. No thinking allowed.
 
InnocuousFox
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:25 am

If you delay one flight, you delay others that are assigned that tail number until such time as you encounter "slack time" in the schedule... usually that night. Also, if people already on the flight are connecting onward to someplace else, you may cause them to miss THEIR flights. At that point, to serve 6, you have inconvenienced more.

One of the considerations is the proximity of other flights that they can be put on. If there is another flight in an hour with available space, that is easier to do than screwing up the system.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
RyDawg82
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:38 am

If the delay was due to weather out of BOI, then why did the agents in BOI not see this coming. They could have left the six seats protected on their org DEN/DTW flight and protected them with seats on a later DTW flight. This way if they make up time enroute great, otherwise they are advised upon arrival they they are all set to go on flight ****. Mind you this only works when seats are open, without knowing more information I can only guess what options were considered.

At my carrier this is a practice we use, as well as watching the times enroute to monitor outbound connections when a major delay has occured. I guess that's customer service.....Ryan
You can take the pup out of Alaska, but you can't take the Alaska out of the pup.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:42 am

Innocuous-We're talking about a DEN-DTW flight on UA here...the only passengers making connections on this flight are the odd passengers headed to IAD who booked DEN-DTW-IAD to save 4 dollars on Expedia...most likely, everybody on this flight are terminating at DTW...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
AirDude66
Posts: 180
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RE: Why Not Hold The Plane?

Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:45 am

Maybe it is just me.....but why not hold the plane

Why should I be inconvenienced sitting onboard a hot stuffy plane waiting just because your friends decided to go to Boise. After all, I paid for my ticket too....

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