Airline7322
Topic Author
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:42 am

Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:22 am

I was curious as to why Dulles ground and ramp operations are so poorly run? The Independence Air pilots always seem to complain about the ramp operations and ATC at their forum, and whenever I fly through Dulles I end up waiting at least half an hour for my baggage (Jetblue is the exception, I've never waited more than 10 minutes). Does anyone care to shed light on this mystery?
"Good ideas must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
 
GroundStop
Posts: 607
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:48 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:44 am

Well, I'll at least speak to the baggage pickup part. While 30 minutes is a long time, its not unacceptable. Consider the number of flights that JetBlue operates into IAD. Then look at I-Air. JetBlue could have one driver whose specific function is to take all the local bags off that one inbound and bring them to the bag belt. On the other hand, that would be impractical with I-Air's operation. Instead, one driver might have to pick up 3 or 4 flights worth of bags before making the trip to the bag belt. If you were on the 1st of the 4 flights on his pickup list, it'll be a bit...if you were on the last, it wouldn't be long at all.

JP
 
iairallie
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:29 am

Jet blue actually has 2 dedicated drivers when fully staffed. I used to work their ramp. They also do not have large amounts of connecting traffic.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:58 am

Most of the ground operations at Dulles are performed by contractors and employees of low cost carriers who get paid about 9 to 10 bucks an hour for hard work in miserable conditions. DC area has a very high cost of living and anyone with skills tries to work elsewhere. From what I can tell, most of the contract ramp worker speak very little English and can't read a baggage tag. The airlines and passengers get what they pay for. The United Express operation is performed by contractors and they are horrendous. Lost bags and missed flights cost a lot of money. United mainline at Dulles is still relatively well paid union workers and their operation runs smoothly. Again, you get what you pay for. If your bag doesn't arrive with you, think about how really motivated is the low paid immigrant or low skilled American to try to get your bag to you? Most could care less.

[Edited 2004-09-13 03:30:19]
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toltommy
Posts: 2482
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:04 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:08 am

Yeah, too bad the passengers are no longer willing to pay for those union workers to throw bags for 'em.... They want the cheap ticket, and are willing to wait for their bags...
 
Airline7322
Topic Author
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:42 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:17 am

I've also heard that some airlines contract airport employees (not contractors) to load and offload baggage at Dulles. Is that true at other airports? Although it's plausible that that Jetblue handles less traffic at Dulles, then how do they consisently beat their competitors in terms of offloading baggage at their hub airport, JFK, where they are one of the leading carriers in terms of flights?
"Good ideas must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
 
ETStar
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:09 am

Union or not union, the worker is there to work and put bread on his/her table. Be it a regular bread or a fancy all-grain which the unionized worker can afford, there should not be much difference in the level of efficiency between the workers (as long as they are feeding themselves  Smile ). When it comes to a job, and especially during these times where jobs ain't easy to find and layoffs are occuring, a worker would not be slacking since he/she is not getting paid as much as the other guys (would those who were furloughed from unionized jobs at the big airlines and now work with these smaller companies want to loose their jobs?).

So, if there are issues at I-Air, then the company itself is to blame, as maybe there are not enough employees to look after baggage handling, or they need to look at their procedures and fix them accordingly. If B6 adds more flights, I do not doubt that they will stick it out with this one driver since other airlines get their drivers to do up to 5 flights at a time. Right? Also, what is the driver to flight ratio at UA? Do its procedures/equipment differ from i-Air?

Now, as for the unionized guys, from my personal experience, all of the unionized jobs that I have had (none are in the airline industry) had staff that pretty much worked 'work-for-rule' and did the bare minimum and without any initiative because their jobs were relatively protected and they had better chances to grieve anything as small as a peanut, and those positions were also mostly overstaffed (through negotiations) which somewhat facilitates this.

What it really comes down to for these airlines who contract out this type of work is to look at the performance and press on the contracting company or look elsewhere, including in-house.
 
graham697
Posts: 344
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 11:59 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:20 am

It took almost 35 minutes for my bags to come off a Ted flight from TPA, I thought that I was at the wrong belt for about ten of those minutes. I think MWAA should look into Automated Baggage sorting, it works wonders at TPA and eventually will be at ATL. Although, the current projects are pretty important and expensive.
Looking forward to the new AA
 
iairallie
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:49 am

I waited an hour once for the first bag to come off a UAL flight at IAD. After 45 minutes I hunted down a baggage agent and told them the bags never came. They were totally unaware of the situation. 15 minutes later they made a PA said that someone had "forgotten" to bring them over.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:04 pm

Funny, WN has well paid union workers on their ramps and seems to be able to sell their tickets cheap
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
TonyBurr
Posts: 1059
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:20 pm

What is the problem? One word - Unions
 
venuscat2
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:44 am

RE: Why Are Dulles Ground Operations So Bad?

Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:02 am

How does baggage work at IAD? Outgoing bags go from the airline, to the TSA, and back to the airline, the airline hand sorts it, and drives it out to the plane? Doesn't sound very efficient. They should have an underground system that at least drops them all off at the concourse.

I noticed that there were about 5 airlines coming off of carousel six. There's quite the crowd when there's a mainline flight and a couple regionals at the same time.