Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:38 pm

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.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 3:19 am

RE: Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:02 pm

I agree that DL has some problems with this. At christmas when we came in from NAS a few hours late due to DL's stupidity in LGA (won't go into it) we were stuck in the taxi ways, next tot he runway,waiting for a gate, the whole deal for close to 30 minutes. Would've been nice if they could get us off of the aircraft.
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:11 pm

It burns precious fuel that DL already can't afford. I think it's an issue they should address.
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RE: Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:19 pm

It happens from time to time. When ATC and weather effect the system like it did today it creates logistical nightmares. Today ATL had two ground stops (2:15 PM and 6 PM). Almost every DL flight was around 2 hours late in the evening on average. However when planes are released after a ground stop they all kind of get dumped on the ATL operation at once. Gates can be scarce and just because you see an open gate doesn't mean it isn't setup for a plane on approach. If planes would come in and just go to any open gate it would cause 50% of luggage to miss. Widebodies arrivals are set up by gate placements. For instance a 764 would have 10 containers of luggage. 1 container being A even gates, another being A odd gates, another being T gates, etc. If DL just played musical gates everytime planes come in luggage offload would take forever and transfers would just be driving in circles trying to get bags to connecting flights. Rather than do that; periodically planes have to sit out a bit waiting for their assigned gates or else the passengers on DL412 to EWR will be taking off without most of their bags. DL is working to improve gate utilization and coming up with better automation to aid during irregular operations. I know it is frustrating to wait for a gate especially when arriving late and excuses don't help, but it really is for the better in the whole scheme of the operation.
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:39 pm

So who at DL needs to be approached by a software company to help them modify this process within their own system?
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RE: Why Doesn't ATL Have Overflow Ramp?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:16 am

Not to mention the fact that ATL gates aren't designed to handle any size airplane. Certain gates were designed to handle certain airplanes. For instance, there are a few gates at the north ends of A and B concourse that can only handle narrowbodies and one in particular that can only accomodate a 737. There are others, such as most on T concourse, that are able to handle 764's better than anywhere else, due to the wingspan. So the folks in the towers have to take all of these things into consideration before deciding if a gate can be assisgned to a new flight. In addition to that, you have to make sure you will have a crew able to work that flight. Is there a ramp crew to park this plane now arriving at B15? Is there a free gate agent to meet it? Is the plane able to fit into that gate without causing any confictions with the airplanes next door? On top of all of that, you have to make sure all of this is communicated with the ramp crews in order to ensure the proper transfer of bags already being set up at the previous gate. If the Ramp Tower guy is nice, he will give the rampers as much of a break as he can. For instance, you don't bring a plane in at E-16 right after flight 299 to BOG has left. Thats just not cool. These rampers just busted their butts loading these 300 80 lb. bags(no kidding) onto this 757, which hopefully had a moving carpet inside. They need a break. I remember an instance like that once, where the ramp tower quickly scheduled a plane into that gate right after the BOG flight left. The supervisor's told that crew to take a break and had another gate crew cover the inbound before heading upstairs to have a little chat with the ramp tower folks.

In the insane world of irregular ops at the Worldport, there is some bit of sanity left and some thought put into the operation. I never said there was a lot of thought put into the operation, but there is some. LOL
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