D L X
Topic Author
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Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:40 am

Question: do airlines typically hold the last flight of the day to a particular destination when inbound passengers are slightly delayed?

I think I'm about to get into a big fight with United about my recent trip to Vancouver, where my inbound flight from Detroit to Denver landed late, and I missed my connection to Vancouver by between 5 and 10 minutes. That was the last flight to Vancouver for the day, and so long story short, I didn't get to Vancouver until nearly a whole day later. (There were many other things that went wrong on this trip, and I'll spare you the details unless they are relevant.) But, had the airline waited the 10 minutes for us to get from Gate A to Gate B, we would have gotten to Vancouver that night, as planned, and I would not have missed out on a day of snowboarding Whistler.

Any thoughts appreciated.
 
BMED
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:45 am

They don't have too but i guess it will depend on whether the connection is the same airline or not. Also if there are tight slot restrictions at either airports then a 10min delay waiting for 1 passenger could turn into a longer delay waiting for a take off slot or holding to land?
Living the jetset life! No better way to be
 
jdwfloyd
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:52 am

It's a relevant to the situation. An airline will never hold a flight for any amount of time for one passenger, or even three. They look at the fact that it would be cheaper to accommodate the people on another flight than it would to have an entire 100 pax+ A/C go late. If the reason you were late was due to ATC or WX then the have nothing to loose by leaving you behind. For Express flights they will normally hold for 4 or more people, but rarely less. The exceptions come into play if you are a high mileage FF or something along those lines. Also if the reason a group of people is late for a connection is the fault of the airline they may be more apt to hold. If it's the airlines fault then they will be responsible for hotels and such, costing more than if they would have held the flight. For the argument that it was the last flight of the night and no other down-line flights would have been affected you need to remember there are more factors than just that. What if the crew was at the end of a full duty day and was at risk of timing out? The entire flight is then in jeopardy of be cancelled. Also what if the crew getting in late would cut into their rest period, delaying the flight they were schd to take out in the morning. So to recap an airline will only hold if it is worth it to them.
 
73G
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:54 am

There are several factors that go into making the decision to hold the last flight of the night for connections. These include, but definitely are not limited to:

- Number of connections being held for
- Number of passengers already at the aircraft on time
- Gate constraints
- Crew rest issues (the next morning)
- Reason for the inbound-flight delay
- Flow control affecting the outbound flight
- Availability of flights for reprotection in the morning
- Special Service Pax (Meet and Assist, Unaccompanied Minor)

Hope this helps.
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:55 am

Midwest did it for my sister two weeks ago-- they held the plane over two hours (the delays were for weather). Unfortunately, thats about the only thing Midwest did right the entire trip!

JBLU
 
ikramerica
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:10 am

Correction. They MAY hold for just one pax, even if it is due to a weather delay from the destination city. It depends on the airline (in my experience, DL is not very accommodating, CO is very, and AA is flaky)

With these new fangled computer contraptions, they know if you are on approach, on the ground, etc. They will hold the plane if they know you are about to show up, unless the plane is oversold, in which case they will often give away your seat away and get off the gate as quickly as possible. Generally, if there's someone to fill your seat waiting, they aren't going to deny them AND hold the plane for you.

With severe weather delays at a hub, that is different, as they are often just trying to get any planes out when they can. With so many misconnects already that day, they can't keep planes sitting around when it is finally clear for them to take off.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
D L X
Topic Author
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:14 am

Thanks for the replies. Here's some more info:

There were at least 7 of us on the Detroit flight heading to Vancouver. (That's how many familiar faces I counted in the customer service line. There may have been more.)

The airline claimed that the delay was weather, but we dispute that because the baggage handlers didn't get the bags on the plane until 15 minutes after our scheduled departure time. I don't know if the airline was saying the weather was the light flurries or wind, or both.

The airline provided no accommodations or food.


BTW, I'm not sure the airline has nothing to lose by leaving us behind, even for weather or ATC delays. There were 75 IRATE passengers from the Detroit flight that missed various connections and were put on reroutes that would have made them arrive at least 18 hours later. One poor woman missed her flight to China, and would have to wait a *long* time to get there. (Rumor was 2 days.)
The airline has to lose all 75 passengers as future customers.
 
jdwfloyd
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed P

Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:18 am

Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 4):
Midwest did it for my sister two weeks ago-- they held the plane over two hours (the delays were for weather). Unfortunately, thats about the only thing Midwest did right the entire trip!

JBLU

The A/C being was delayed for 2 hours due to WX, not just to ensure you made the connection, right? If so you must be at the top of their FF list.  Wink
 
positiverate
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:11 am

Quoting D L X (Thread starter):
Question: do airlines typically hold the last flight of the day to a particular destination when inbound passengers are slightly delayed?

I think I'm about to get into a big fight with United about my recent trip to Vancouver, where my inbound flight from Detroit to Denver landed late, and I missed my connection to Vancouver by between 5 and 10 minutes. That was the last flight to Vancouver for the day, and so long story short, I didn't get to Vancouver until nearly a whole day later. (There were many other things that went wrong on this trip, and I'll spare you the details unless they are relevant.) But, had the airline waited the 10 minutes for us to get from Gate A to Gate B, we would have gotten to Vancouver that night, as planned, and I would not have missed out on a day of snowboarding Whistler.

Any thoughts appreciated.

When it is someone else runnign to make their connection, they always hold it.

When it is me, they NEVER do.
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:19 am

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 7):
Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 4):
Midwest did it for my sister two weeks ago-- they held the plane over two hours (the delays were for weather). Unfortunately, thats about the only thing Midwest did right the entire trip!

JBLU

The A/C being was delayed for 2 hours due to WX, not just to ensure you made the connection, right? If so you must be at the top of their FF list. Wink

She was routing PIT-MKE-BOS and the PIT-MKE sector was delayed by about an hour, due to weather in both MKE and PIT. When they finally arrived MKE, her BOS flight had been delayed an hour for weather. After that hour (my sister had only been there for 25 minutes though, as her original connection was about 35 minutes) they boarded the plane and then deboarded it, claiming they were holding the plane another 1:40 for inbound passengers from three cities coming on Skyway flights. The aircraft was, however, ready and cleared for departure after a 60 minute delay . The extra 1:40 was to hold the plane.

JBLU
 
aircanada014
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:30 am

Airlines make money in the air not on the ground so I don't think they will wait for last min delayed passengers. if they stay on the ground too long they are losing money.
 
superhub
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:41 am

On some of CX flights which I have been on for HKG-LHR, planes could be delayed for an hour just to wait for late connecting passengers. They usually gave the excuse that the inflight entertainment needed to be fixed, but an hour later, you see a bunch of passengers coming in and going to their seats.

I believe on one occassion (which I was not in but was widely publicised in HK), a group of angry CX passengers phoned up a now-defunt popular talkshow (Teacup in a Storm) and complained that they were deceived by the airline after they saw a group of pax boarding despite being told that the plane was delayed to get the inflight entertainment fixed.

I am not sure why they could not be truthful, but instead choose inflight entertainment as the excuse.
 
Mich
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:04 am

I would like to think a airline would wait for you if your on a connecting flight and it was delayed but if your coming from security or check in and are simply late then tuff. Cant say a plane I was ever on left without a passanger but they dont really advertise that fact we did sit at the gate about 15 minutes after departure time to load additional bags they actually reopened the cargo door while 4 people got on. The F/A politely explained it was a connecting flight that couldnt get to a open gate.
 
sccutler
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:10 pm

One time (long ago), my wife and I were on a USAir flight IAH-PIT, connecting with a flight to ISP. The inbound was delayed by ATC delays and resultant ground hold at IAH (not US' fault); we arrived at PIT too late to make the connecting flight on time, ran our narrow a**es off to get to the gate, knowing we'd miss the flight anyway.

Smiling gate agent says, "You must be the Cutlers," escorted us onto the plane, door almost hit me in the backside as they closed it behind us, and we were pushing back within seconds.

I'll always remember that, and always have a soft spot for US for that.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Bridogger6
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:49 pm

Unfortunately at the hub at HP... err US... we NEVER hold flights for just about any reason... unless it's is like ten or more people we're pushing on time. It seems the worst always happens with the Mesa flights, for some reason Mesa seems to close the door earlier than mainline in order to push on time and as we all know, that door is VERY hard to reopen once shut... basically it doesn't happen. So people see the plane yet cannot get on, thus making them very angry that they buster their arses running for no reason and then to hear they're now stuck in PHX for a couple hours, well that always sets them off. Flights through the hub must always go on time or it's bad news for the rest of the operation.

Once in awhile for the last flight of the night we're a bit more accomadating, but even then we pretty much still need to leave on time, last flight or not.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:54 pm

Quoting AirCanada014 (Reply 10):
Airlines make money in the air not on the ground so I don't think they will wait for last min delayed passengers. if they stay on the ground too long they are losing money.

But the question was about the last flight of the day. Often, it matters not if the plane lands on time or 10 minutes late at it's last destination of the day if it is just going to sit over night and be ready as the first flight in the AM. Also, when it's the last flight, the airline is more likely to have to put the pax up in a hotel (vs. just getting them on the next flight). Thus waiting for the customer is more common on the last flight of the day.

But first connection of the day, far less likely. It could screw up the schedule for the whole day for that plane.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
ordflier
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:00 pm

Quite simply, the airline's "Conditions of Contract" which you technically agreed to when purchasing your ticket do not require that the airline do anything except re-accommodate you on the next departure that has seats available. Airlines in the US are not required to compensate you for delays regardless of reason. Most carriers will provide you with accommodations & meals when the situation is under their control such as a maintenance issue, but when weather issues cause problems the passenger is usually stuck footing the bill.
ORDflier
 
nycflyer
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:07 pm

Angry, Frustrated, and Abandoned by UA in SFO.

Oh, God. Just read this thread. I feel your pain. I was in your exact shoes two weekends ago, when United abandoned me in SFO, knowing that I was in-bound on a late flight from JFK, and I missed the last flight to LAS by literally sixty seconds. Good comments from others on this thread, though. Good luck.
 
D L X
Topic Author
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:39 am

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 13):
Smiling gate agent says, "You must be the Cutlers," escorted us onto the plane, door almost hit me in the backside as they closed it behind us, and we were pushing back within seconds.

That's what I thought! I seem to recall talking to a US operations manager about holding flights. (Back when I was considering joining their war room or something.) They've held flights for me, and I've sat while they held flights for others. I didn't realize other majors didn't have this policy.

Quoting ORDflier (Reply 16):
Quite simply, the airline's "Conditions of Contract" which you technically agreed to when purchasing your ticket do not require that the airline do anything except re-accommodate you on the next departure that has seats available.

Yeah, but there is a difference between what the government requires and what makes good business sense. For some strange reason, I thought UA had good business sense. Instead, they have 75 irate passengers.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:49 am

Quoting SCCutler (Reply 13):
"You must be the Cutlers,"

Similar experience at IAH with CO connecting from B to E . Plane arrived late, I hurried to the gate and the door was still open despite the departure time being past.

They said "we were waiting for you." Then two F/As said to each other "how many more?" and "there's one more couple and they just pulled up to CXX." Then they called that gate to confirm, and were told debarkation had already begun. I took my seat and within 3 minutes an out of breath couple arrived and they closed the door behind them.

They were obviously waiting for close connections based on what the computer was telling them. Made me feel confident that CO was looking out for their customers when possible.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
planespotting
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:13 am

I was at ELP a year and a half or so ago, and there were 5 people who had not shown up for the flight; 3 of them were Elite Access OnePass members. They held that ERJ for 10 minutes before all of them finally showed up.

Pretty nice of them...haha
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
lamedianaranja
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed P

Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:14 am

WX was bad at AMS today, snow and strong winds. At one time during the morning we held the MNL flight 10 minutes so a group of 27 ex LHR could make it, and their luggage too. Big group, small delay, worth it.
Then at the transfer desk I spoke to a group of 6 passengers ex FCO who missed the GYE flight by half an hour last night. Clearly not worth it for the company
Sad thing was we had re-booked them via MAD at 06.50 in the morning and they didn't know about it. That flight was gone by the time they showed at my desk and I could only waitlist them AMS-CUR-BOG-GYE, hell of disappointment for them. I'm not sure if they got on, next alternative was wait 36 hours for our next flight to GYE Sad All that because of 30 minutes delay
I wish that all skies were orange and blue!!
 
kcm572
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:49 am

I know that NW doesn't hold a flight. I was on a flight from VPS to MEM a few years ago that was delayed due to aircraft (DC9) problems (they had to fly a new plane in for us). While we were at VPS the gate agents told us that if we missed our connections in MEM that NW would give us a hotel room for the night and put us on the 1st flight in the morning. We were told that if we wanted to stay in VPS it would be a 2 day delay due to overbooked flights. We were 30 minutes late getting into MEM and everyone except 1 passenger (the plane that we were on was here connecting plane) that was connecting missed their flights. When we went to the customer service desk they told us that it was a weather delay and that we were on our own for the night. I was one of the 1st people in line and asked to see the station manager. Once I "strongly" voice my opinion (and him calling over the airport police to intimidate) me and turned around and asked everyone that was off our flight if they told us in VPS that MEM would give us a hotel room and food vouchers. They all said yes very loudly. The airport cop told the manager that he strongly suggest that he acomidate all of us. The MEM station manager did get even with me though by giving me a room at the airport hotel next to the main runway that FedEx uses at 02:00  Smile
 
planespotting
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:08 am

Quoting Kcm572 (Reply 22):
The MEM station manager did get even with me though by giving me a room at the airport hotel next to the main runway that FedEx uses at 02:00

Seriously, I don't think the NW MEM station manager had much to do with your hotel accomodations other than setting them up and paying. I wouldn't think he could specifically say "okay, I want this guy, *name*, to be given room XXX".

Probably it was a more begrudging

"I have 25 pissed off people who need hotel rooms, give me the NW rate and a confirmation number."
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
bphendri
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:27 am

My customer service experiance with AA has been less then stellar,

My first trip to SE Asia on Asiana before they joined Star Alliance, and they used American Eagle from SAN to LAX, on my return trip, I was delayed in Immigration and customs for about an hour, and they did not give me a boarding pass in Incheon for my last connection. On getting over to the AA check in counter, that line was at LEAST an hour long, I waited at the side of the line and when the agent was done checking in a customer I approached and explained the sitation of just coming off an international flight and being delayed in customs and I need to check in for my connecting flight departing in 30 minutes. After traveling for over 22 hours (Including layover), the last thing I wanted to do was wait in LAX, I wanted to get home and go to sleep!

The agent rudely told me that I should have known I need to be at the airport 2 hours prior to departure, I again reitterated the fact that I just came off an international flight and was delayed in customs, the agent informed me that he was NOT going to help me. I asked him if he COULDN'T help me, or he WOULDN'T help me. He just said, "I'm NOT going to help you, you need to get in line!" At that point I kinda lost it, and said "I can not belive that I made it all the way from Bangkok to get stuck 45 minutes from home in LAX, and for the first time my bags are going to make it to my destination and I am not!", A sympathetic woman who was walking by and cheking in for first class recommended I checked in with her.. I was like "Yeah, like they're going to help me!"

Anyways, to make a long story longer  Smile, I went to first class check-in, and explained the situation again, she pointed to the line for security, and said "Look, thats the line for security, it's about 30 minutes long, you have 20 minutes to make your flight." I just sighed and said "If I miss the flight, I miss the flight, I can check in for the next flight at the gate, but let me at least TRY to get on this one." She gave me a boarding pass. I got to the gate right as my flght was boarding. It turned out my bags DIDN'T make it, and I had to wait for the next plane in San Diego, but at least I was HOME.

I was very relieved when Asiana joined Star Alliance, United seems to treat me a whole lot better! Big grin
 
LeonB1985
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:39 am

I think the type and class of travel would have a considerable impact. For example, if a party of first class passengers (or frequent flyers) were running late due to a connection, the airline may feel more inclined to hold the flight slightly longer than for Joe Bloggs booked on a deep discounted economy ticket.
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
ckfred
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:06 pm

Here is what I've seen over the years at AA.

My parents were connecting at RDU for RSW in 1995, and the flight wound up pushing back 15 minutes late, because they had about 10 passengers connecting from PVD. The gate for the PVD arrival was even moved to next to the RSW departure, so that the baggage handlers could transfer bags ASAP. The captain explained that the remaining flight to RSW was full, so the decision was made to hold the flight.

In 1997, I was flying ORD-BOS. Due to snow, the plane, which was coming from SNA, diverted to MSP. The plane wound up pushing back about the same time that the next flight to BOS also pushed back.

Here's the interesting thing. The agent had retracted the jetbridge, then put it back, so that two more passengers could board. My guess is that because of the various delays, the remaining flights to BOS were full, and we probably had some empty seats. The captain, however, wasn't too happy about the delay, because the crew was going to be illegal by the time we landed at BOS.

In 2004, my wife and I were waiting for a flight to LGA. ORD was having problems, because of snow from IAD to BOS, as well as high winds that put ORD in a strange configuration that slowed up arrivals. The plane sitting at the gate was going to JAC. About the time the agent went to close up the jet bridge, two people came running down the concourse. One explained that the slower group of 8 would be coming along in about a minute. So, the second agent went aboard to explain the delay to the crew. AA only has 1 ORD-JAC flight, so it made sense to hold the plane for a few minutes.
 
ordpia
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RE: Do Airlines Hold The Last Flight For Delayed Pax?

Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:07 pm

as Jdwfloyd said:

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 2):
The exceptions come into play if you are a high mileage FF or something along those lines.

The only time I have had a plane held for me is on United, being 1K it is almost a given that if I am less than 45 mins late the plane will be held (this may seem extreme but believe me, even in some cases up to 90 mins). Yes maybe there are 75 angry passengers with you but chances are 30 of them have very few options on flights from there home airport and even more purchase there ticket on cost alone, and will fly UA again if it is economical. don't get me wrong I am sorry for your delay, espically as you had to miss out on a day on my favorite mountain, but any airline, not just UA, would have seen the numbers and realized that it just does not make sense to hold many different aircraft for 75 people when it could make over 1,000 other passengers late.

The other thing one must realize is that the captian has the final word. If he/she wants to get home, or has a limited time before the next departure the jet is pushing back without delay, even if someone is sprinting from "F11 to C31"(ORD people you get the reference), it's simple economics late push back = loss in $$, all airlines think this way.

[Edited 2006-03-03 08:18:14]

[Edited 2006-03-03 08:19:17]
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