OK, first off, we're not talking "diversions" here, but un-scheduled stops, or what we call "flagstops". The terms "divert/diversion" are used when an aircraft can't get into a scheduled destination (WX, MX
) and has to go to an alternate airport. Yes, I know that might appear to be quibbling about semantics, but if you want to know how it "really" works from an operational standpoint, that's it, and that's the terminology. (Never expect to hear proper terminology from PR
Flagstops are not something that gets done every day, nor are they an airline's first choice in solving a problem caused when another aircraft breaks down somewhere, since some pax are being inconvenienced. As is usually the case, there are a number of variables involved. One variable that -doesn't- enter into our decisionmaking processes is whether there are any VIPs within the group of "stranded" pax--a stranded pax is a stranded pax, period. Those chiming in on this thread claiming that UAIR's flagstop was purely because the Prez's 2 daughters were amongst the stranded pax conveniently ignore the fact that 20 other folks who weren't the Prez's daughters were also stranded. Neither were UAIR's actions "unprofessional". All airlines do flagstops on occasion, and it's a tactical response/reaction to an operational problem, and not an attitude.
A funny thing about flagstops is that their value seems to be heavily influenced by which side of the equation one is on. If you're a pax that's being delayed because of a flagstop, you might not be thrilled about the delay. If you're one of the stranded pax that's being "rescued" by the flagstopped aircraft, you tend to view things like you've just gotten a seat on the last flight out of Saigon....
[Edited 2004-08-04 19:02:15]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.