Here's a question I only think to ask when sitting on the tarmac at ATL waiting for a gate to be assigned for us because we are late, or someone else is late, or whatever.
Why is there not an area at Midfield where airlines can sit their airplanes to offload pax onto busses when there are not going to be gates available for an hour or so? Tonight my wife came in on DL412 from JAN and they were delayed leaving Jackson, which put them in ATL more than an hour and a half late. Their MD-80 sat in front of the T gates for a half hour then another half hour in front of Terminal A. They spent more time on the ground idling the engines than they did in the air.
I can think of several places right off the top of my head where they could place airplanes that have lost their gate slot, so they can at least offload pax and bags as well as refuel the airplane. They have the busses and the airstairs necessary already.
Is there a reason why it's not done? It sure seems like it'd save the gas money, as well as the irritated customers.