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What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 12:31 am

Good morning eveyone,
I'm a CSA for Comair in AVP. Was just curious to know if anyone has any clues on what goes on at the ASA ramp in ATL at night. The reason I ask is we have a RON that leaves there at 9:31pm. But on a nightly basis, and I mean 6 out of 7 nights it doesn't push till more like 9:55-10:00. Meaning at least another 20-25min sit on the ramp before clearance. Which then means instead of a 11:30 arrival it ends up being more like 12:30am. I hear complaints on a daily basis from our own crews and frequent flyers about ASA. Some won't even connect through ATL just to avoid them. Now by all means I'm not pointing the finger at all ASA employees, but please tell me what goes on down there? Is it short staffed? Laziness? Incompetence? I hear when a shift is over rampers just leaving, allowing aircraft to sit on the ramp with no marshaller. I've heard of hour waits for lav service, water service even a stinking wheelchair? Delay codes are never in place, so we have no idea what is wrong with our aircraft. We then have to call CVG dispatch who give us the answer we already know. Its ASA what can I tell ya!
Please someone give me answers!
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 1:00 am

It's a combination of factors. Poor pay, poor management, poor leadership and rapid growth have all lead to the problems that you mentioned. As most know, DL has grown ASA at a tremendous speed, but they have not invested enough in the people and infrastructure to make ASA run properly. ASA has always been the red-headed stepchild of the DL operation.

From my experience, the ASA employees in ATL (primarily the gate agents and rampers) are some of the worst airline employees I've met. Once you get away from ATL, things improve dramatically. ASA employees who work at the outstations tend to be pretty good.

Believe it or not, things have gotten slightly better at ASA in the past year. But DL has a long way to go to fix the ASA mess in ATL.
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 1:05 am

You hit the nail on the head in your post. As an ex-EV ramper, I can tell you that they are a sorry bunch @ ATL. Management is trying to correct the problems, but how can you correct a problem when you have such a high turnover rate? I work for a vendor that supplies shops @ ATL during the daytime, and you see a brand new class of new hires on the ASA ramp nearly every week (doing the first week of a two week OJT), that's not a good sign at all.

From my experiences there about 4 years back, at that time of the night, they're in the middle of the main evening push, and these gates usually have anywhere from 3-5 a/c parked at them 4 and only maybe 6 guys to handle those a/c (that is if some of them are not on break during this time). Around this time seems to also be when the cabin services staff seems to disappear for their break (all of them at the same time no less), leaving a/c waiting to be cleaned, catered, lavs serviced and water filled up. The only staff that would possibly be leaving during the 9 pm timeframe would be any day shift guys staying over for some OT, or some of the part timers, as the first night shift group doesn't get off until 11:30 pm. There were many nights when I worked there that we'd have three a/c due to leave between 2330 and 2345, and had two or sometimes three rampers to handle those flights. It was not uncommon for me to push back one a/c, ride the pushback to the next a/c that was leaving, hop off, push that a/c back, repeat again. I couldn't even get my zone supervisor to come help, because they would be having to help out the crew on the other gate in the zone because they would be short staffed after 2330 as well. And they wondered why I was always getting po'd at the guys on my gate?
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 8:06 am


I would like you to do a little research on your flights before making comments about another station. Here are the delays for flight 5336 over the last two weeks.

Flight 5336/09May Late crew off a late inbound flight
/10May Late crew off a late inbound flight
/11May On Time
/12May Late aircraft due to maintenance
/13May Late crew off a late inbound flight
/14May Late sign in by crew
/15May On Time
/16May On Time
/17May Late crew off a late inbound flight
/18May Late aircraft due to upline crew delay
/19May Late aircraft due to air traffic control/weather
/20May Maintenance delay
/21May Late crew off a late inbound flight
/22May Maintenance delay
/23May On time (so far)

As you can see, over the last two weeks there have been two maintenance delays, three days that the aircraft was late, and six days that the crew was late for one reason or another. Please explain to me how this is ASA's fault? We cannot board a flight with no aircraft or crew. I think you should be talking to Comair about these delays instead of blaming everything on ASA and the ATL ramp.

I worked the AVP flight two days ago when there was thunderstorm activity all over the southeast and ATL was in a ground delay program the entire day. The aircraft arrived on time but the crew was late from Shevreport, LA on flight 5059 because of an ATC ground hold for 30 minutes and then being delayed enroute because of having to go around thunderstorms. Their flight arrived at 2104 and it took them about 25 minutes to get to D-concourse from C-concourse and another 10 minutes to preflight the aircraft. The flight finally left at 2200 with a delay of 29 minutes. By the way, the ramp had 6 active flights working at the same time with only 6-7 ramp agents on duty.

I agree with the other posts that ASA has some real problems with their operation but blaming the fact that you have to stay late many nights on a particular work group or station operation is prejudicial and elitist.

"I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." - Charles Shultz
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 9:09 am

I by all means do not mind staying late. I love my job. What I do mind is taking the abuse from pax night in night out. I fly to ATL quite often. Love the airport love the city.

All I asked were for reasons. When we check our RouteT's on the ATL ship number it (5336) almost always comes from DSM. It also usually has an IN time of 8:30 ish (forgive me I'm at home, do not have the luxuary of FLIFO records at hand.) You can't blame delays on ATC or ground holds when an aircraft is already there.

I'm not blind we see boarding usually begin 5 min before sked dept time, or even after. Right then and there you're already taking a delay. Fine you want to say its Thunderstorms, late arriving crews, then update the flifo!!! Tell us that so we know! There is rarely any delay codes in, and finally when they are put in its already been 45min past sked.

You sound like a rarity down there. From what I hear there is a lot of turnover in ATL. And thats a shame. This is a great industry and it just makes the people that actually care about this job frustrated that others don't. I'm just calling as I've seen first hand and from what crews have said. I know there are plenty of quality people that work EV. Just seems as if there are quite a bit of bad apples out there as well. And trust me buddy OH has them as well, including my own station.
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 9:15 am

I'm not pointing the finger at all ASA employees

Ok..you are not pointing fingers..

Its ASA what can I tell ya!

You just did buddy. Get off your high horse.

However, good comment by others so far generally supported by facts.


[Edited 2004-05-24 02:51:11]
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RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

Mon May 24, 2004 11:45 am

Thanks for your reply AVPOH77 and I want to apologize if some of my comments seemed a bit harsh. I just got a little railed up there. Call it Ramp Fever.  Innocent

I do sympathize with you on not having updated information when the aircraft is running late and believe me this is a problem shared by both ASA and Comair. We are basically an out-station for Comair even though we have almost 100 OH departures a day. This means that getting information on Comair flights usually takes a phone call or a couple of minutes of research on a computer which we sometimes do not have when working several departures at once. As a result, updating Comair flight information often gets put low on our list of priorities. Then it is easy for Comair flight control to blame ATL for their operational failures. Point of fact is that communications is a weak point in the whole operation for both ASA and Comair.

Another big problem, and the biggest operational headache, is the fact that Comair crews often switch aircraft while in ATL which adds another 10-15 minutes to the time it takes to turn around an aircraft, especially if they have to go between concourses. Crews sometimes take this time to get some food or take care of personal needs which delays the flight further. Even if we know what flight the crew is inbound on, we can't accurately predict how long it will take them to get from one aircraft to the other.

In the case of your AVP flight, I will give you an example of what happened two days ago. I was the departure coordinator assigned to the flight and it is my job to make sure the aircraft has fuel, catering, cleaning, etc., and to call the gate when they are ready to board. The aircraft arrived on time and the inbound crew got off the aircraft. Flight 5336 usually operates out of gate D28 which is part of zone 8. Zone 8 in ATL consists of three gates which means there might be 5-6 flights on the ground at the same time. On this particular night, there were six flights all departing between 2100 and 2158 which meant I was quite busy. I was running back and forth trying to get the flights out and occasionally looking at the AVP flight to see if the APU was on indicating that the outbound crew was onboard. I went to the aircraft at about 2130 when I saw lights on the aircraft and when I asked the crew informed me they were late from SHV. I called for boarding as soon as they were ready and the flight finally departed at 2200.

In regards to your question about updating the FLIFOD, who should of done it?

  • The gate? Busy boarding other flights.

  • The ramp? Also busy.

  • The ramp tower? One guy covering seven gates and up to 16 departures at once and without a clear view of the ramp from his position.

  • ATL operations? They are inside a room with no windows on C-concourse.

  • OH Flight Control? Even if they know where the crew is, they can't
    predict how long it will take them to get to their next
    flight. In my experience, they tend to be reactive
    instead of proactive and do not communicate well with

  • The coordinator? Well...you know my story.

  • Point is that I see your frustration with not having timely information, especially when you have people waiting for the arrival. There are plans for a new Ramp Tower and communications equipment sometime in the next few months and hopefully this will improve the operation. In the meantime, just be patient with us and don't believe everything you hear about ATL. Especially from the Comair crews.  Big grin


    "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." - Charles Shultz
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Mon May 24, 2004 1:21 pm

    Makes me glad I worked for QX. Much smaller scale, much better communication Smile Still had it's problems, but it doesn't sound like the frusterations you guys have to deal with. Hang in there! It'll work itself out! Smile
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Tue May 25, 2004 7:03 am

    Not sure about the operational aspects about concourse C. However, it seems ASA's ATL operation lacks plenty of professionalism. It does not seem to be getting better, either. From my perspective:

    Rampers are wearing less of the required uniform, usually mismatched with personal attire. Shirts are usually untucked, rampers walk with a strut, hair styles are extreme. It looks like the ghetto out there. This is no Delta Airlines operation.

    Gate agents speak so much venacular and ebonics that it is extremely difficult to understand them.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Tue May 25, 2004 11:53 am

    Does ASA handle all of Comair's operations at ATL?
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Tue May 25, 2004 11:24 pm

    Yes they do...as far as I have seen when I travel down there.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 4:24 am

    Who's to say the delay codes you reference are accurate or at the very least tell all of the story behind why the flight was delayed? I've coded enough delays in my time to tell that not all are always fairly assigned. Given what I've heard about ASA in ATL, I would be surprised to see bogus delay codes.

    Do other airlines in ATL have the same problems as ASA? If not, it sure sounds like management there has their work cut out for them.

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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 4:49 am

    I believe that instead of pointing fingers and yelling back and forth, everyone should focus on the problem or the person who is responsible for fixing the problem. And in my opinion, there are two people responsible, Skip Barnette and Fred Buttrell. I have heard that Skip is a good guy who faces the problems, whereas Fred just sits back in his office and collects the paycheck. I can't believe this guy was actually an F-15 pilot. Granted, he is President of DCI and handles all off the airlines, but Skywest pretty much takes care of themselves, as does Chatauqua. Comair and ASA are the only two airlines that he really has to focus on, being the biggest and busiest of the DCI carriers, but since he has been in his position, I have heard nothing from DCI about addressing the problems that those carriers have.

    They both have their problems,as do all airlines. ASA has horrible morale and service problems(in hubs mostly) is notorious on getting in and out of hubs, but most crews see this and work with outstations to get back on sked as best as possible. Comair is usually closer to ontime, but the crews think that they are God's gift to the sky. If that plane arrived 20 minutes late, I have never met a crew that did not understand why the plane can't go out 20 minutes late.

    Fred and Skip should be focusing on this one problem with ASA to get it into top notch shape. I have to give them some credit though. Lately, they have done much better on on-time flights and less customer complaints, but the baggage deals still desire some improvment.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 5:32 am

    Everyone is giving me flashbacks!

    I worked at ASA from 1995-98. Sounds like the same story. I worked on the ramp, analyst, operations, and flight control. I was witness to the same problems. Off course ASA was a little smaller. Mainly EMB-120s, the 12 ATR-72s, and the BAe-146s before replaced by the RJs.

    I worked many a night with hardly no help on the ramp, lots of overtime, and it was a revolving door on the night shift.

    From what everyone is writing, it sounds like old times to me.

    "What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 5:48 am

    Frequent ASA travellers know that ASA stands for Always Stuck in Atlanta!
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 10:22 am

    Check the DOT for last month. ASA is #2 in on time performance. This month will suck due to TSRA in ATL for the past 2 weeks. I was on 2 ASA flights yesterday and both were early (DFW not ATL). Things are much better than a couple of years ago.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 10:42 am

    I was a flight attendant from 1988 to 1996 and after being based in both hubs I can tell you the difference between DFW and ATL was like night and day. DFW was ran really well. Of course back then it was much smaller but it started to grow when the first ATR-72 aircraft arrived and DL turned over the first of many mainline locations. ATL was a complete joke. No one ever knew where the fuel truck was, where the cabin services people were, etc. Heck half the time we would just have to walk around to find the airplane. But the rampers that I knew did bust their butts to get the planes loaded as fast as they could. One night we came in late because of a thunderstorm and we had a full flight and it was a BAe 146-200 so we had 88 people and there was no gate free for us. We just made circles around concourse E for about 15 minutes and never got a gate so we parked away from the terminal and the people had to walk down stairs that were pulled up to the plane. But it was in the middle of a downpour and there were no umbrellas for anyone. Stuff like that made me decide to go work somewhere else. ASA only sees everyone as a dollar sign and doesn't care about customer service at all.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 10:51 am

    Does anyone here that works ramp or gate for DCI know what the hell a delay code of 96 is? We see it on occasion in our FLIFOD's from ATL, yet its not listed in our delay code oversheet.
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 11:17 am

    How bout asking a supervisor or manager instead of on a public forum?
    Ask why..
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 11:58 am

    Aren't you a bit nervous knowing that Skip could be an active A.net member and is investigating the origin of this thread? Just kidding.

    I'm sure that Skip and other leadership from ASA are aware of the problems and are doing everything in their ability to look for ways to fix the morale in Concourse C.

    Perhaps Concourse C is need of more progressive and encouraging leadership. There are a lot of difficult tasks involved in "cleaning up" Concourse C. I wonder if there is a cultural barrier that discourages "change," or even a fear to do so. Something Concourse C lacks is a diverse and balanced work environment. I have heard over and over that there is little incentive that would attract outstanding personnel to ASA's Concourse C operation. Like one A.net member said....the difference between DFW and ATL is like night and day. I will go further and say that this is not a concern with Comair and the CVG hub. Demographics, maybe? Then again, you do not see these problems with Delta's ATL operation.

    Again, I am sure that ASA leadership is aware of the problems that plague Concourse C. I am also confident they are working to fix it.

    In regard to coding the delays correctly or honestly: I was on an ASA flight one time and it was apparently delayed because of MTC. Yeah, right! The gate agent was too busy shoving a Single Combo with a Biggie Shake into her face AT THE GATE PODIUM!

    MTC? Yeah, on the CRJ going to DSM parked BEHIND our CRJ blocking us from being able to taxi out! However, they still delayed our flight b/c of so called MTC. That's not what the crew told us when we boarded!

    Are those flights going to AVP coded properly? Or are they coded different to protect the truth? Good question.

    [Edited 2004-05-26 05:17:19]

    [Edited 2004-05-26 05:19:05]
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Wed May 26, 2004 12:04 pm

    ASA leadership? I think that is an oxymoron. The same things were being said when I was there in 1995-98. The same problems. Seems even a change in management did not help ASA.

    "What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
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    RE: What Goes On At The ASA Ramp In ATL @ Night?

    Fri May 28, 2004 3:22 pm

    All I can say is thank God it got better. AVPOH, ask the more senior people what it was like working ATL inbounds about 2 years ago....

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