tercer
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20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 4:12 am

Well John Stossel did a horrible job of conveying the reasons for delays in the NAS on his “I wish I could be a Myth Buster too Show” last night on 20/20.. I love this quote by their expert, an unknown Columbia University Economist who has studied 12 years worth of flight delays. This master of industry has, though a miracle of enlightenment straight off the shores of Lake nonsense, shown us all the path to an easy fix for everything.

Quote:
When two-thirds of the days you're delayed, you can't say that it's bad weather." Mayer says the airlines deserve the blame. "The airlines choose their schedules," he said

Check the rest of the story out here

[Edited 2006-05-13 21:23:28]
It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
 
ikramerica
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 4:41 am

He's absolutely right.

If you are constantly delayed due to weather, then a rational business would change their schedule to allow for more time to turn and deal with it.

It's how some airlines with snowy or rainy hubs don't have the same delays that other airlines do on a seasonal basis.

Think of it as "just in time" flight scheduling. B6 does it, and they suffer the consequences. In my experience, CO pads their schedules for just such problems and even with weather or other delays departing, we get in on time quite often.

Weather may be unpredictable on any one day, but seasonally, you know what to expect. Not planning for it is your fault. But because the airlines can get away with NOT COMPENSATING for weather delays and cancelations, why on earth should they care? It's "not their fault."

The only price you pay is if you become known as the "late" airline. B6 is starting to have that problem.

Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
tercer
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 5:34 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.

Not exactly correct since airport capacity issues is due to the lack of upgraded technology on part of the FAA. The equipment the controllers are using is +20 years old were as the aircraft they are separating have the latest high tech gadgets on board (The 777 can take off out and fly to an imaginary point in the sky within +/- 1 min and +/- 2 miles of plan) The continued usage of ground based navigational aids, old controller equipment and separation rules written in the 40s is a major contributor to the constraints currently plaguing the National Airspace System (NAS). With the future moving towards no more land based nav aids and programs like RNP SAAAR (Required Navigation Procedures Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP SAAAR enables improved capacity and arrival efficiency through parallel approaches to closely-spaced runways at busy airports during Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC))) we will see capacity increases at the airports but as with all things .gov the pace is slower than a snails crawl. That said with capacity increases you will see that airlines grow to meet the new standards.

As far as airlines over scheduling, well if Continental tried to de-peak its EWR Hub then rest assured other carriers (like B6) would back fill will that freed up arrival space. Airline completion is fierce and with LCC basically controlling the domestic pricing market the last thing an airline needs is to allow one to get a foothold in a HUB (See Deltas mistake with ValuJet/Airtran at ATL) because once there they will undercut the dominate airlines pricing power and ability to make money domestically..

More on RNP SAAAR

[Edited 2006-05-13 22:38:06]
It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
 
WJ
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 5:39 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Are there days where weather closes and airport or causes delays that can't be compensated for en route? Of course. But some airlines use it as an excuse for bad business, and all airlines over schedule flights into weather prone airports, almost purposely causing the delays by just not scheduling for the real world they fly in.

You are forgetting that airlines are a business like any other and getting people to their destination is second in importance to the bottom line. It's all about how many segments you fly or how many seats you sell. True enough that over time you are going to get a bad rap if you are constantly delayed but overall, airlines rarely pad schedules or do anything to account for weather issues in their budgets because they can't afford to. Airlines are strapped for cash as it is and if they do not attempt to maximize revenue at every turn, they are going to hear it from their share holders and boards.
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OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 5:43 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Think of it as "just in time" flight scheduling.

That's a great way to put it, and I wanted to build upon that with a couple of items that Stossel and others in the media just don't seem to understand.

First off, just about every US airline I can think of schedules this way, since higher aircraft utilization rates result, and efficiency is the name of the game these days. Accordingly, the more the aircraft are in the air, the more they're generating revenue, which they don't do while sitting on the ground. For this same reason, one doesn't see dedicated "spare" aircraft very often, if at all at some places.

Secondly, what many media types fail to understand is that aircraft don't just exist for the purpose of a specific flight (like the one they're about to get on, or just got off from). An aircraft's daily schedule consists of multiple flights that are linked togther as far as aircraft, crew, maintenance scheduling, and other factors go.

Let's say an aircraft is scheduled to originate at SAN first thing in the morning, and is scheduled to end up in BWI at the end of the night, and then look at some common scenarios.

[SANPHX] [PHXHOU] [HOUMCO] [MCOMDW] [MDWMCI] [MCIMDW] [MDWBWI]

1/ If the weather is great everywhere, there are no mechanical breakdowns anytime during the day, and there are no ATC/connection issues, the aircraft will run on-time all day, and have a optimal utilization rate for the day.

2/ Oops! SAN is below takeoff minimums due to fog, and stays that way for 2 hours past the scheduled departure time for the SAN-PHX flight. That means the whole "line" of flights that aircraft is scheduled for will all also be 2 hours late. When the folks down the line in PHX, HOU, MCO, MDW, MCI and BWI ask why their respective flights are 2 hours late and are told "weather", they tend to look outside and the weather there and, seeing it's great, thus think that they're being lied to.

3/ One of the things that my office does is try and mitigate/eradicate the delays by tweaking the schedule. Let's say, as before, SAN is fogged in. Since there's also a PHX-SAN flight (on another line) that's not going anywhere because of the same SAN fog, we could possibly use (if they're legal, crew time-wise) that aircraft/crew for the PHX-HOU flight and others down the line. Another option might be to run the line 2 hours late from SAN until reaching MDW, and then canceling the MDW-MCI and MCI-MDW flights (if there was suitable passenger protection for them on other flights) and then use the same aircraft for the MDW-BWI flight, which would now be back on-time.

The above is just a simplistic example, and you can imagine how much more complicated it gets when applied to a fleet of hundred of aircraft, dozens of cities, and all the operational variables involved. An airline can "pad" its schedule (to some degree) to compensate for volume-related issues (like a hub), but most of the variables are transient in nature and defy suitable advance planning. An airport may fog-in one day, but not the next. If it does fog-in, it may be for 1 hour, or 2, or 6. If thunderstorms pop-up somewhere, will they impact the airport at 11am, 2pm, or 6:30pm? If they do, will they skirt the airport, or make a direct hit? Are they slow-moving storms that will stay around for 2-3 hours, or are they moving through at 40 knots?

It's these kinds of variables that make it damn near impossible to build a schedule that has enough "slack" in it where you can recover from delays, not to mention trashing the aircraft utilization rate. It's sort of similar to having a spare aircraft. If you had one available, exactly which one of your 50-100 cities would you position it in? Murphy's Law usually dictates that if an aircraft breaks down in LAX your spare will be in BWI.

If Stossel et. al. had even a remote understanding of all this, and more, he wouldn't have made (I hope) some of the statements that he did on the program...

[Edited 2006-05-13 22:49:17]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 6:01 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
He's absolutely right.

From my experience, I think he is right too.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):
Weather may be unpredictable on any one day, but seasonally, you know what to expect. Not planning for it is your fault.

Great example: I fly TPA to ATL on FL from time to time. The 6am or 7am flight will be delayed because the pilot is not qualified to fly IFR under certain minimums and they have to call in another pilot who is qualified. This happened just last Monday. I miss my connection in ATL and asked for some meal money because the next flight to where I am going is not until 5pm. I have to wait almost 8 hours at ATL because they did not have a qualified pilot in Tampa. They denied the meal because of...ta da...weather delay.

Weather delay my ass.

It was not having a qualified pilot scheduled to run from Florida to Atlanta. I told the CSA that, but she could hardly speak english anyway. I persisted and asked for her supervisor and finally got an $8 food voucher for my persistance. And I will bet you that flight went in the books as a weather delay.

And this is not an isolated incident with FL. It has happened to me at least four times over the last year. This was the only time I missed my connection.
 
jjbiv
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 6:18 am

Stossel's argument is akin to saying that we should get rid of rush hour on the roads by spreading out work schedules so everyone isn't trying to go in the same direction at the same time. The fact of the matter is that demand for flights peaks in the morning and early evening to coincide with most peoples lives. Airlines, operating in a competitive marketplace, are behooven to meet this demand from their customers. Likewise, the efficiencies we gain by having most workers available to collaborate and conduct business from 9-5 imposes a relatively small cost on society in terms of commuting congestion. Analyze the delays that do occur for their most proximate cause and then useful results may be obtained. Although I generally like Stossel's willingness to challenge accepted beliefs, he gave this issue a gloss job in his quest to address 10 topics in 60 minutes (gross of commercials.) I doubt he would have reached the same conclusions upon digging deeper into the matter.

joe
 
tercer
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 6:32 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
I have to wait almost 8 hours at ATL because they did not have a qualified pilot in Tampa

Most likely not Category II qualified, unfortunately pilots bid their pairing so they tend to fly what they bid, As far as waiting for the new crew member, pilots are protected, under most contracts, to a minimum amount of hours to report when called out. Not an excuse but trying to shed a little light on your situation.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
They denied the meal because of...ta da...weather delay.

Another answer you may not like but the original cause of the delay was weather driven due to fog; again this is just speculation on my part since.

Here is another explanation I posted on CBS site to Mr. Stossel


MYTH: The published reason for these delays is often weather because it improves their ratings and they don't have to pay for hotels for people who miss their connections and are stuck in a strange city for an evening. However when the published reasons for these delays are other than weather or safety they have to foot the bill for everyone's accommodations for the night.

The conditions at your departure and arrival stations may be sunny without a cloud in the sky but delays defined as weather are not necessarily Terminal issues or "weather at the airport". Enroute weather can too cause delays in the form of re-routes, Mile in Trail restrictions (the spacing between aircraft e.g. 20 miles between each plane), Ground Stops and Ground Delays Programs (GDP) at the Terminals in support of SWAP (Severe Weather Avoidance Procedures). A GDP basically makes an airport Slot Controlled, assigning an arrival time to each flight operating into that airport causing extensive delays (anywhere from 60-210 minutes) and anyone who has flown into the NY Metro area knows what this is. The dynamics of the airspace in the North Eastern US is very complex and when things are not running perfectly with zero weather some sort of Traffic Management Initiative (TMI) is needed. TMI’s are coordinated with the airlines and ATC facilities through the ATCSCC (Air Traffic Control System Command Center), as seen on the Myths report as the room with the big screens. The ATCSCC, ATC field facilities and airlines discuss via phone conferences the impacts of the weather and collaborate on a plan of operation every two hours. This is a daily process that includes a large amount of people trying to balance a safe operation with the needs of both the enroute ATC facilities and the airlines. The Airlines, for the most part, advocate NOT having any TMI’s in place as it cost them money in excess fuel, Crew Cost, aircraft logistics (see OPNLguy post) and customer re-accommodation as well as work very hard to keep their operations running as published on a daily basis. Unfortunately during these planning conferences there is not always an agreement on how to operate the NAS (National Airspace System) so the ATCSCC, with the ultimate decision on the plan of operation, usually chooses the most conservative approach to the situation (thus delays using TMI’s).

MYTH: I fly extensively in my job and have experienced "weather delays" during clear, sunny days. The real reason for this is often airline overselling flights, overloading planes and air traffic.

Clear sunny days does not mean you are going to have a delay free day because there is another weather phenomenon that has a very large impact on operation that you cannot see … WIND. Winds and runway configuration (what runways are used for landings and takeoffs) are a major cause of delays and too drive both Ground Stops and Ground Delay Programs. Take Chicago (ORD) or example, on a good day 100 flights per hour can land using multiple runways but if you get a strong sustained crosswind or a tailwind in excess of 10 knots that does not allow for a good runway configuration that number can drop between 72-80 flights per hour and that is the ultimate reason you are delayed.
It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 6:32 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 5):
Great example: I fly TPA to ATL on FL from time to time. The 6am or 7am flight will be delayed because the pilot is not qualified to fly IFR under certain minimums and they have to call in another pilot who is qualified.

What this sounds like is a case of a newly-upgraded captain being on "high minimums" (for landing) for the first 100 hours of his/her being a captain. The normal ILS landing minimum is 200-1/2, and hign mins captains have to add an extra 100-1/2 to that, so their landing minimums are 300-1. Once they've logged 100 hours as captain, they revert to the regular 200-1/2 mins.

If a destination is forecasted to be anywhere near the 200-1/2 normal minimums, most airlines will try to shuffle the captain assignments around (often at the last minute) so that the high mins guy is re-assigned to a flight heading to a destination with better weather, and let a "normal" mins guy fly to where the fog is. Sometimes, this is not possible, especially when the weather (like ATL, I suspect) deteriorates with little/no warning.

[Edited 2006-05-13 23:35:24]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
SA7700
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 6:50 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 1):
He's absolutely right.

I agree with you.

Quoting Jjbiv (Reply 6):
Stossel's argument is akin to saying that we should get rid of rush hour on the roads by spreading out work schedules so everyone isn't trying to go in the same direction at the same time.

Maybe flexi-time should be considered in the workplace. It works in South Africa, so I can not see why it would not be feasible in some industries in the USA. E.g. all workers don't start-and stop working at the same hours during the day. The norm in South Africa is a 08h00-17h00 workday, with a 60min lunch break. With flexi-time some people start as early as 06h00-07h00 in the morning, but get to leave at 15h00-16h00 in the afternoon.  twocents 


Rgds

SA7700
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kalvado
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 7:12 am

OPNLguy, your WN example is quite clear - but lets look at a different approach - super-hubs like ATL or ORD. Now we're looking at bad weather at one airport only.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have an impression that a single cloud within 100 miles from ATL causes avalanche delays throughout DL system. How often ATL and ORD run on-time by 8 pm? I would imagine 4, at most 5 days a week. Would it be reasonable to assume that at least hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes?
 
flightopsguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 7:36 am

Quoting Tercer (Reply 7):
The Airlines, for the most part, advocate NOT having any TMI�s in place as it cost them money in excess fuel, Crew Cost, aircraft logistics (see OPNLguy post) and customer re-accommodation as well as work very hard to keep their operations running as published on a daily basis. Unfortunately during these planning conferences there is not always an agreement on how to operate the NAS (National Airspace System) so the ATCSCC, with the ultimate decision on the plan of operation, usually chooses the most conservative approach to the situation (thus delays using TMI�s).

Actually, speaking as someone who actually does this job everyday, most of the airline ops coordinators are pretty good at being realistic (with a couple of exceptions...folks totally disconnected from reality in my opinion). Most of us are pretty good at knowing when to "gamble" with the operation. There usually is a valid CDM process, and often the people advocating the most conservative approach will be the individual facilities such as a center TMU, or a Tracon, who simply refuse to work the traffic. After June 1st, a new Airspace Based Traffic Flow initiative will be available to the NAS. Instead of just delaying major hubs for say, big thunder in the Ohio valley which can almost shut down Cleveland center (ZOB), ALL airlines and NBAA operators flying through the thunderstorm area will be issued delays, whether you are flying LGA-ORD or PVD-MKE. This will at least spread the pain around a bit.



Sorry I didn't catch the Stossel report. Lots of non-airline people think that the delays are just a big plot by the airlines to sell more drinks. What they fail to see is that every minute of delays costs a carrier from $25-100 with the extra crew pay, engine and airframe time, lost conex pax, crew legalities at the end of the day, missed maintenance opportunities, etc. A major carrier at it's hub will incur tens of thousands delay minutes during a single event.

The FAA website, www.fly.faa.gov/ois has some good info in the "Tier Info" about the various runway configurations and arrival rates for most of the major/pacing airports in the CONUS.

To conclude, unless there are FAA mandated slot requirements, airlines will sked up to and over even the best arrival rate. Just part of the business.
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OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 8:11 am

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 10):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have an impression that a single cloud within 100 miles from ATL causes avalanche delays throughout DL system. How often ATL and ORD run on-time by 8 pm? I would imagine 4, at most 5 days a week. Would it be reasonable to assume that at least hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes?

It might seem like a single cloud will have that effect at ATL (and elsewhere), but one of the main "triggers" is a big airport's ability to conduct "visual approaches" (VAPs) to the airport. The weather requirements (cloud ceiling and visibility) vary by airport (and they're nowhere near the normal ILS CAT-I 200-1/2 landing minimums), but for the sake of simple example, let's call the VAP mins at ATL as a minimum 3,000 foot cloud ceiling and a minimum 5 miles visibility (3000-5). As long as the ATL weather permits the use of VAPs, the airport acceptance rate (AAR) will be at optimum (assuming no runways closed, of course). Let's also assume the resultant AAR with VAPs is 120 per hour.

Oops, now an overcast deck came in at 2,000 feet, and/or the visibility dropped to 4 miles. So, now no VAPs (full ILSes instead) and the AAR drops from 120 an hour to 80 an hour. Problem then becomes there are 120 aircraft within an hour of ATL, and you only have the capacity to land 80 of them. So,
some of them have go into holding patterns. To manage demand, as Tercer pointed out, the ATCSCC will impose a groundstop and/or a ground delay program on flights yet to depart from XYZ-ATL. Whereas Southwest might cancel roundtrips here and there to help recover the schedule, a big carrier like Delta with "waves" or "banks" of flights into their ATL might cancel an entire bank or two.

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, alot depends upon the exact timing of the "triggering" weather event, as well as it's duration. ATCSCC, as well as some of the larger airlines have Met folks on staff, and are generally pretty good about forecasting the development/duration of such conditions and can thus issue groundstops/delay programs in anticipation of the conditions. Other times, the triggering condition appears suddenly and without warning, or occurs earlier than planned, or lasts longer than anticipated. Sometimes it may clear by 8pm, other times not. Another factor in getting an airline back on-time is how many flights you can cancel to make up time yet adequately protect the passengers off the cancelled flights. During the week when loads are often lighter, it's alot easier to do so than a Friday or Sunday when flights are more likely to be full.

Back to your original question re: "hub weather can be less than perfect for scheduling purposes", I think that can apply to just about any airport. It's just that mega-hubs are all that more susceptible to disruption because of the sheer volume of flights.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting Tercer (Reply 7):
Another answer you may not like but thernoriginal cause of the delay was weather driven due to fog; again thisrnis just speculation on my part since.

Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com. The schedulingrnshould have been adjusted. Or, the passengers should have been takenrncare of.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 8):
What this sounds like is arncase of a newly-upgraded captain being on "high minimums" (for landing)rnfor the first 100 hours of his/her being a captain. The normal ILS landing minimum is 200-1/2, and hignrnmins captains have to add an extra 100-1/2 to that, so their landingrnminimums are 300-1. Once they've logged 100 hours as captain, theyrnrevert to the regular 200-1/2 mins.

Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?
 
planespotting
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 8:53 am

Although the Premise of this idea is fairly accurate, the article is probably the poorest written of any Television based website newsarticle I have ever seen.
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OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 8:54 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com. The schedulingrnshould have been adjusted. Or, the passengers should have been takenrncare of.

A generalized forecast of "fog" 24 hours out is pretty much useless from an operational standpoint, IMHO. The closer one gets to the time of the flight's planned ETD/ETA, the more specific the forecast is. Even then, if ATL had been forecasted at 3 miles in fog (no big deal minimums-wise), it could have easily cratered at the last minute, hence the last-minute scramble to find a non-high mins guy/gal.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):

Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?

I'd say it's just your bad luck. We've run into similar problems in the past, but they've abated as we've grown larger, with more resources to choose from from being a larger size. The inconvenience aside, just remember that it's being done with regulatory compliance and thus your safety in mind.

True story. Years ago, fog rolled into HOU unexpectedly one evening and took it right down to the normal 200-1/2 minimums. Aircraft 1 through 4 made it in, aircraft 5 was a high mins guy and diverted, and aircraft 6 behind him made it in. Some of the passengers were questioning how #1-#4 and #6 could get in but not #5, and the ticket agent (who, I'll point out, was well-versed in ticketing matters but not operational details) told the folks that #5's captain "was new and didn't have much experience." Of course, the guy had thousands of hours before having become an F/O, as well as flying as a SWA F/O--he just hadn't yet accumulated that requisite 100 hrs since he had upgraded to captain. Naturally, that's not the way it came across to the passengers at the gate... I learned alot about customer service that night...  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
kalvado
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 8:56 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 12):
It's just that mega-hubs are all that more susceptible to disruption because of the sheer volume of flights.

thanks for technical insight into the problem!
However, let's try to look at all that from passenger point of view:
Schedule, which is being screwed up, was completed months in advance, with certain assumptions about airport/airway/terminal throughput. Reduced throughput at remote location would affect those going to/from those destinations anyway, and probably less likely to cause a problem - at least looking at local ALB, which appears to be very far from runways capacity.
Hub throughput problem, even if treated very professionally, affects every flight for the airline. Going back to your example, would building the schedule around capacity estimate of 80/hr solve at least some problems?
Well, I know the airline answer - everything is about bottom line, and pax are good for that only while at ticket counter. And as far as I understand, airline is ultimately going to benefit from those cancellations. Just some additional expences - airline not responsible for pax compensation- but gets less fuel burn due to canceled flight, less paid crew hours, airframe hours/cycles etc.- but tickets are already paid for, ultimate load factor is higher (more re-accomodated pax filing extra seats) and scheduling frequency (marketing) is not affected. I know I'm oversimplifying, but still...
Meanwhile, scheduled frequency reduction would hurt bottom line, even if ultimately exactly same number of flights take off.
I believe ORD slot control is discussed monthly on the forum- isn't that effectively similar limitation on scheduling?..
 
OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:07 am

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 16):
Going back to your example, would building the schedule around capacity estimate of 80/hr solve at least some problems?

Yes, from an operational/customer service point-of-view, but the folks up the Finance Department I'm sure would take issue with it...  

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 16):
I believe ORD slot control is discussed monthly on the forum- isn't that effectively similar limitation on scheduling?..

In essence, it is, but it too is dynamic in nature. ATL is pretty simple (4, er, now 5 parallel runways, but ORD has 3 sets of parallels that are oriented differently (09-27, 04-22, 14-32), and the number of possible runway configurations and AARs vary more widely. (Ironically, one of their configurations is called "Plan-Weird"). On days when the weather, winds, and runway conditions (wet or dry) allow, they run great. Other days they don't.

Historically, I think, the general rule is you have (and plan/schedule for) normal ops the majority of the time, and you tolerate the few times (whatever lesser percentage) that you don't. Unfortunately, the percentage of abormal ops time (at some places) has gone up to the point where it's more of a "norm"...

[Edited 2006-05-14 02:08:50]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:09 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Yes, it was fog.rnForecast at least 24 hours before hand on weather.com

Airlines don't leave early. If the weather is forecast above minimums for that plane and crew, then that plane is going. While things may look peachy when the flight is planned, the NWS can, and will, change a forecast on the fly, and that will stop that flight from operating on time, if at all. At outstations, there is not much that can be done to remedy this situation.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Probably. The guy looked young. My problem is the frequency it occurs with this airline, FL. In fact, I have only had problems with this airline. Never had it with WN, OPNLguy. Lucky?

He could be 23 and it being his first time being PIC at an airline, or he could be 59, getting ready to retire, and still be freshly minted on the type. The regulations are very specific as to what the minimums are.

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 10):
but lets look at a different approach - super-hubs like ATL or ORD.

When weather comes to cities such as these, the mass amount of traffic that is scheduled in has to be spread out in order to avoid holding, or other possible congestion. That massive low that's been sitting over Lake Michigan for the past 3 days did it's fair share of damage to ORD on Thursday and Friday, leaving traffic limited to 35 planes per hour at one point on Thursday, which left some flights dangling with 5 hour flow times. Not fun at all, but it wasn't the marginal VFR ceilings that were causing the problems; rather, it was the wind and MDW operations that were limiting the usable runways at the time.
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:49 pm

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:09 am

Quote:
"The Federal Aviation Administration told us that 70 percent of air traffic delays were caused by weather.
......

"The explanation of weather just isn't true," said Columbia University economist Chris Mayer, who has studied 12 years of flight-delay data. "When two-thirds of the days you're delayed, you can't say that it's bad weather."

Mr. Professor economist - maybe a lesson in logic would be necessary here. Saying that "70% of traffic delays are caused by weather" has completely different meaning than "you are delayed two-thirds of the days". But maybe it is too complicated to Herr Professor. I think I will make sure not too attend any lectures by this 'brilliant' economist.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:15 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
the NWS can, and will, change a forecast on the fly,

...and usually, right after the SPECI is issued...  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:18 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 20):
...and usually, right after the SPECI is issued..

Gotta love AFTcasting.  Wink
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
kalvado
Posts: 485
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:22 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
That massive low <..> did it's fair share of damage to ORD on Thursday and Friday, leaving traffic limited to 35 planes per hour at one point on Thursday, which left some flights dangling with 5 hour flow times. Not fun at all, but it wasn't the marginal VFR ceilings that were causing the problems; rather, it was the wind and MDW operations that were limiting the usable runways at the time.



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 17):
Unfortunately, the percentage of abormal ops time (at some places) has gone up to the point where it's more of a "norm"...

GoldenShield - I'll let OPNLguy to handle MDW traffic issue  Smile - but my own ultimate question is about planning, which is ..ahm.. not very realistic at some places, and ORD is one of such places I believe. I know it really hurts when winter suddenly comes in December without any early warning  duck  - but maybe some weather statistics can be used to estimate what can really be expected? never mind, Accounting would never believe in that anyway  Sad
 
OPNLguy
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:25 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 21):
Gotta love AFTcasting.

Can't remember which airport it was for (there have been so many of late, it seems) where they were forecasting Chamber of Commerce VMC yet radar showed big line/blob of TSRA heading straight for them for the past 3-4 hours. The amended TAF was issued at :38 now calling for 1SM +TSRAGR starting at :00 (22 minutes warning). Gee, thanks for the scoop. We think the thunder woke them up...  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
commavia
Posts: 9781
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:43 am

I actually like John Stossel, and find many of his programs -- including last nights -- pretty intersting and, at the very least, thought provoking. However, I think he paid a little too much attention to the issue raised by the ATA representative in the piece he did about airline delays last night, namely, that the ATA guy said that ATC delays due to congestion were really due to customers.

That's the story of life. Airlines don't randomly assign flight times because the throw darts up on a big wall clock and decide, gee, 1730 would be a great time for a flight from LaGuardia to O'Hare. They do it because people want to fly at that time. As usual, it's easy to point the finger at airlines, but really, passengers need look no further than themselves if they wish to assign blame.

Airlines (and any rationally-run company that seeks profit) don't do anything for the fun of it, or unless they feel it is economically viable. Airlines schedule flights at peak times (i.e., 0700am on a Monday, or 1700 on a Friday, because they enjoy low aircraft utilization. They do it because people want to fly at those times, and because people are willing to pay more -- and wait longer in air traffic -- to be able to fly at those times.

If people want to avoid delays -- tell them to fly at 1000 or 1400. And if enough of them start doing it, then I feel quite confident that airlines will rapidly adjust their schedules to what the market wants. But until that days comes -- which I don't see happening anytime soon -- when business travelers enjoy scheduling meetings at 0700, or until travelers enjoy checking out of DisneyWorld at 0900 instead of 1500, nothing will change.

If air travelers want to see a change in flight delays, they can do one of two things: they can change their flying patters, and adjust their own schedules in order to avoid delays, or they can write their congressman and senators and demand that, despite NIMBYs and everything else, more runways are built in this country.

Personally, I hope we all do both.
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:05 am

You have to remember that John Stossels 2020 stories are severely biased and one sided. Also you have to remember that it's entertainment. Don't take it too seriously. The fact is that whether you're flying a Cessna172 or a 747 or the space shuttle, you are going to be at the mercy of weather. So to say that the airlines are at fault is just plain wrong. I would say that 25% airlines are to blame the rest on weather or other problems when it comes to delays.

Besides, I have never heard of a flight being delayed of weather unless it really is bad weather so that alone says how stupid and biased this 2020 story was. Just entertainment not facts. Also why would airline lie in the first place? Does it matter to pax why the flight is delayed?

[Edited 2006-05-14 03:08:28]

[Edited 2006-05-14 03:10:11]
 
flightopsguy
Posts: 299
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:08 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 18):
When weather comes to cities such as these, the mass amount of traffic that is scheduled in has to be spread out in order to avoid holding, or other possible congestion. That massive low that's been sitting over Lake Michigan for the past 3 days did it's fair share of damage to ORD on Thursday and Friday, leaving traffic limited to 35 planes per hour at one point on Thursday, which left some flights dangling with 5 hour flow times. Not fun at all, but it wasn't the marginal VFR ceilings that were causing the problems; rather, it was the wind and MDW operations that were limiting the usable runways at the time.

Good post, but the MDW 13C issue was not a factor on Thursday. Simply wind, windshear, long finals, wet runways, and no trip for ORD. Rate started at 74 but they hardly put down 58 most of the day shift. ORD was 27's a pair.
A300-330 BAC111/146/J31/41 B99/1900 CV580 B707-777 DC8/9/10 L188/1011 FH227/28/100 SB340 DO228 EMB2/170 CR2-900 SH330-60
 
User avatar
zippyjet
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:14 am

Quote:
Almost a quarter of all flights are late these days. Some, like Continental's evening flight — Newark, N.J., to Boston — are late about 70 percent of the time.

Duh! The Northeast is not known for round the clock beautiful weather. Boston being highly influenced by the North Atlantic Ocean currents/fronts, and the New York area is also highly influenced by coastal weather. That 70% figure is no great revalation. Flights in and out of these busy airports can very easily be delayed by the quick changing weather.
I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
 
kalvado
Posts: 485
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:15 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 24):
If air travelers want to see a change in flight delays, they can do one of two things: they can change their flying patters, and adjust their own schedules in order to avoid delays, or they can write their congressman and senators and demand that, despite NIMBYs and everything else, more runways are built in this country.

Looks to me this argument works wery well for those going from NYC to Chicago direct- but if there is a connection, you pretty much spend at least half a day, so 7 am or 10 am make little difference.
Right now poor me, going from non-hub airport in NY to another non-hub in CA plans it in such a way:
"I have to be there Monday afternoon, so leaving Sunday afternoon is risky, Sunday morning would probably be better. 1.5 hrs connection? well, it's tight, but I'l plan a backup"
 
satx
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:22 am

I've rarely been delayed due to WX. It's usually been MX in my case. Probably has to do with living in the Southwest instead of the Northeast.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 25):
You have to remember that John Stossels 2020 stories are severely biased and one sided.

I agree completely. After his anti-organic 'give me a break' show he had to publicly admit that the "tests" he claimed were the source of his findings had in fact never taken place and that the tests that did take place had nothing to do with the arguments he claimed they substantiated. You'd think something like that would ruin a 'reporter's' career, but somebody high-up must really love this guy and his far-out views.

[Edited 2006-05-14 03:24:51]
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
dallas74
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 10:31 am

Stossel could not understand why airlines would schedule so many flights during peak hours even though there would be delays.

Funny Mr. Stossel why does your industry put it's best programming in "Prime Time" and not after Midnight? Oh that's right because people want to watching shows in "Prime Time" and not when it's inconvenient! Same holds true with air travel.

I hate these Seagull shows: Fly in. Crap all over the place. Then fly out without really discussing the issues that cause delays.
 
ltbewr
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 12:07 pm

Sometimes the airport is part of the problem. LGA and EWR are to me excellent examples of airports that have almost 'overbooked' schedules at peak flight times that can go off schedule very bad very fast due to limited size, number and spacing of runways. When visibility, rain, wind reach certain levels, spacing of take offs and more so with landings increased by huge amounts to assure safe operations. Airports like JFK with multiple very long and well spaced parallel runways and a more even schedule of flights are far less required to reduce operations when weather get bad.
 
crownvic
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 3:08 pm

Interesting...Whether you believe Stossel or not, I have thought the airlines have been pulling this "stunt" for quite sometime. Does the DOT, FAA, CAA or JAA really check into whether an aircraft had a weather delay (as opposed to a mechanical)? I raised this same issue on this forum about a month ago and got attacked from all ends and got my post deleted. I find it interesting though that in this thread, there are many others who feel the same!
 
saturn5
Posts: 308
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 3:46 pm

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 32):
have thought the airlines have been pulling this "stunt" for quite sometime.

And what stunt it is?
Folks should realize that "delay" is a very complex matter. When aircraft pulls out of the gate within the 15 min window after the official departure time it is not being counted against airline as a 'delay'. But then if the aircraft spends waiting 45 min for takeoff in a long queue with other aircraft due to weather or other factors - it is not reported in airline's statistics. But this other delay may exceed any other delays which are airline's fault. In short on-time statistics can be meaningless.

[Edited 2006-05-14 08:54:42]
 
HikesWithEyes
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 3:52 pm

Quoting Dallas74 (Reply 30):
Stossel could not understand why airlines would schedule so many flights during peak hours even though there would be delays.

Funny Mr. Stossel why does your industry put it's best programming in "Prime Time" and not after Midnight? Oh that's right because people want to watching shows in "Prime Time" and not when it's inconvenient! Same holds true with air travel.

I think that this cuts to the core of the situation.
It's a business, and airlines are in business to make money.
I think in most major hubs airlines schedule to account for some hiccups, but
Mother Nature has the final say on how things are going to operate.
Too bad that Stossel couldn't sit in the Flight Ops or SOCC for a major to
see how things run in the real world.
First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
 
ANother
Posts: 1833
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 5:48 pm

Interesting thread - thanks for starting it.

Part of the problem (IMHO) begins with the way the CRSs prioritise. (Yes, stay with me - I think this makes sense). I'm not sure of the exact algorithm but it's determined by a number of factors: Requested time vs actual schedule departure time; total elapsed time; On-line connections take priority over interline.

So, in selling tickets, the airline has an incentive to have the best schedules - and these can be unrealistic (as shown in other posts). Better schedule means better screen display and something like 90% are sold from the first screen and over 60% from the first line.

CRS regulation (in the US) has expired but it would seem to me that it would be in the CRSs interest for them to add a new factor - historical performance - into their alogroritm.

A simple example A1 and B2 both have a flight departing at 0700. A1's arrival time is 0932 and B2's 0945. Lets assume that A1's flight is 15m late 50% of the time while B2 is late 10% of the time. (i.e. all things considered the block-to-block time is the same for both)

Today A1's flight shows up on the first line of a CRS display - but B2 is really the better choice, because the actual schedule is more realistic. Today B2 has an incentive to 'fudge' their schedule and move up their arrival time to 0931 - their on-time performance goes to hell, but their screen position improves.

I think this would be good for passengers, who can plan better and have fewer misconnects, for the airlines - less costs and better on-time performance and for the CRSs (a little more competition here wouldn't hurt anybody).
 
flightopsguy
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:51 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 7:44 pm

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 32):
Interesting...Whether you believe Stossel or not, I have thought the airlines have been pulling this "stunt" for quite sometime. Does the DOT, FAA, CAA or JAA really check into whether an aircraft had a weather delay (as opposed to a mechanical)? I raised this same issue on this forum about a month ago and got attacked from all ends and got my post deleted. I find it interesting though that in this thread, there are many others who feel the same!

There are auditing procedures, and oversight seems tighter now than when I started in the business in 1966. Stations often get confused as to which delay to report...I've always instructed them to use the most restrictive factor. For example, a flight may have a mech delay, and a crew rest delay at the same time. The longest delay would be the one reported. Things get confused when one type of delay such as a mech puts the flight into a weather delay. Some airlines will then report both factors as delays.

Great models from AK these days!
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tercer
Posts: 137
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:25 pm

Quoting Flightopsguy (Reply 36):
There are auditing procedures, and oversight seems tighter now than when I started in the business in 1966. Stations often get confused as to which delay to report...I've always instructed them to use the most restrictive factor. For example, a flight may have a mech delay, and a crew rest delay at the same time. The longest delay would be the one reported. Things get confused when one type of delay such as a mech puts the flight into a weather delay. Some airlines will then report both factors as delays.

Great models from AK these days

Not to mention the internal audits that the airlines do themselves and most try very hard to get their flights off of the DOT List of Shame. I now the conspiracy theorist run ramped on airlines and their reason for delays but the reality of it is they do not like being late because an on time, safe operation means everyone is making money.

That word safe, that is one you hear a lot and is the single most important and widely used word in this industry. I have found from my CRS days all the way to SOCC that the traveling public, while demanding a safe operation, often get upset when the word delay is involved.

True story: I was at the gate waiting for my flight from PHX-SLC, DL 727, when they announced a one hour delay due to the air conditioning issues and immediately the crowd turned ugly, arguing to the CRS agents that the lack of air conditioning would not bother them and why they couldn't go on time (which, if able to, would have turned into a nightmare for in-flight as the pax started to complain about the cabin heat). There were several very good and informative announcements made by the agents but the crowd would not hear it and began conspiring amongst themselves as to the real reason for the delay and like any issue the real reason, comfort aside, needed to be fixed.

The air conditioner is what pressurizes the aircraft and without it you have to cap your flying altitude down low (PHX-SLC goes over the Rockies so you have mountains to deal with). There is also terrain clearance/drift down performance issues over the mountains that must be complied with if the flight looses an engine to maintain a safe altitude over the terrain until they can land. Now DL might have been able to re-route the flight left or right of the mountains but you still have to fly low and the extra fuel required means they leave people at the gate (including me the non-rev) there might have also been crew duty time issues that, with the delay, limited the amount of extra flying time a re-route added. Fortunately the aircraft was fixed and everybody went about 1.5 hours later.

This is just a small and abbreviated example about he complexities of an airlines operation. The day for your trip starts at the airport but the planning for your flight starts hours before and continues tactically until you land with an ultimate goal to give you a safe, non eventful, and routine flight to were you need to go. That is it, simple, nothing more with no conspiracies ...
It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
 
VEEREF
Posts: 560
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:38 pm

Of course weather doesn't cause your fight delays. The TV guy said so so it must be true!  

.

[Edited 2006-05-14 14:40:13]

[Edited 2006-05-14 14:46:22]
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
flightopsguy
Posts: 299
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 9:47 pm

Quoting Saturn5 (Reply 33):
In short on-time statistics can be meaningless.

And airlines get NO credit for arriving early. Cancelled flights also do not mean much, as often pax can be reaccomodated with little or no delay.

A better metric would be the percent of passengers of a carrier who incurred a reportable delay, and the average delay of those delayed pax. So if a carrier had 100,000 pax a day, and 2,000 were delayed, with an average of 2 hours, you could draw some valid conclusions. I do concur that listing the individual flight stats is valid data. But these "flights of shame" are often the last flight of the day on the city pair, and the carrier has chosen to wait for all the conex pax rather than leave them overnight.
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jfr
Posts: 136
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RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 11:55 pm

First of all.....it's not a stunt. It's the result of laborious cost benefit analysis. Simply put, the delays cost airlines less than they earn at these times of day. If it weren't profitable, they would stop doing it.

Secondly, and this is my pet peeve about flying in the US, the airlines play a schedule game. "We have 10 flights a day and the other guys have fewer......, etc."

How do they get to the point of having so many flights? They retired their larger jets (DC-10's, etc.) and replaced them with 73's, 320's, and MD-80's......and added loads of extra flight segments to move the lift they can sell. For example, you end up with American flying 18 times per day each way between ORD and DFW with MD-80's where they used to use MD-11's, and so on. Little planes.....all day long. Here in KL, SQ and MH fly lots of trips between SIN and KUL, but with nothing smaller than a 330. QF flys between SYD and MEL so many times every day, but with 747's no less. Only in the largest air market on earth do you find so many small planes flying the busiest routes.

Congestion at American airports is the airlines fault. As traffic has grown they have actually reduced their lift per flight, and have scheduled the hell out of their little birds. But there are no heroes here: why have the public aviation institutions sat by and watched this happen. Why has there never been a landing fee scheme which rewards slot utilization efficiency?

What about doing away with landing fees at rush hours for planes larger than 300 seats? And doubling the fees for those under 100?
 
dallas74
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 1:09 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Sun May 14, 2006 11:59 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 31):
Sometimes the airport is part of the problem. LGA and EWR are to me excellent examples of airports that have almost 'overbooked' schedules at peak flight times that can go off schedule very bad very fast due to limited size, number and spacing of runways. When visibility, rain, wind reach certain levels, spacing of take offs and more so with landings increased by huge amounts to assure safe operations. Airports like JFK with multiple very long and well spaced parallel runways and a more even schedule of flights are far less required to reduce operations when weather get bad.

Don't forget how tight the airspace is between all these airports. On most approaches to LGA you get to see EWR and JFK! If you have strong winds out of the Northwest - LGA and EWR go down to single runway operations and then the fun really begins!  Yeah sure

During the traffic and weather reports in New York they tell you about delays at the airports. When the wind is strong out of the NW it is not uncommon to hear a report that says 2 hour arrival and departure delays at LaGuardia and Newark. JFK is on or close to schedule!

You are 100% on the mark in your comments. Size matters! Thank goodness for decent spacing between parallel runways that work in all wind directions!
 
CWAFlyer
Posts: 536
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:33 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 1:12 am

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 32):
Interesting...Whether you believe Stossel or not, I have thought the airlines have been pulling this "stunt" for quite sometime. Does the DOT, FAA, CAA or JAA really check into whether an aircraft had a weather delay (as opposed to a mechanical)? I raised this same issue on this forum about a month ago and got attacked from all ends and got my

Actually, yes they do. At least on the FAA's side of things. They
audit the reasons for delays and make the airlines explain them.
A prime example is an airplane that was scheduled to fly:
SBA-SFO-PSP-DEN-FSD-ORD-MKE. SFO has a flow program which
delays the initial flight 2 hours, hence the whole line is that much late.
All of the subsequent delays starting with the SFO-PSP flight are
charged to being late because of ATC. Well the FAA gets dinged
for the PSP-DEN and FSD-ORD flights just the same, but since
there were no delay programs in DEN or ORD, they don't think those
delays should go to ATC. Who should they go to?

So yes, PSP, DEN, FSD and everyone else was enjoying bluebird skies
that day, but the first flight of the day started off late because of
weather and ATC in SFO. Passengers in all the other cities besides
SFO will think the airline is lying to them.

[Edited 2006-05-14 18:20:00]
 
crownvic
Posts: 1762
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 2:36 pm

CWAFlyer...I am sure you know what your talking about, but the part I still do not understand is, are airlines 100% honest on mechanical vs. weather delays? You and I both know in these tough financial times, airlines do not want to compensate, if they could get away with it. I am not implying that every airline claims weather delay, when it is a mechanical. I am just wondering if there instances that this is going on. We would be naive to think that every business operating out there is 100% honest. What makes us all think that the airlines in these tough times are being so honest. I am not looking for an argument, but just some common sense opinions...
 
fxra
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 2:58 pm

Heres a question for some of you SOCC types out there, and I've gone round and round in the past with MX control on this one. IF an aircraft has an MEL added with a restriction such as no convective wx or no icing and is delayed due to that reason, is it coded to WX or MX? I've had this come up on inop
radars, no icing penalties (the best... out of MSP in January.... MX wanted to add a no icing MEL to the plane... snow for the next 24 hours in the forecast... the MX controller said "Well, ok we'll try and fix it, but its not our delay") and even windshield wipers...

ANd back to the original subject, i think the article is over simplistic. ATL for one has fligths scheudled inbound base don the best possible AAR... during a tour of TRACON during my last recurrent, we ask the shift manager about GDPs on beautiful days... the answer.... Anytime theres significant clouds (not necessarily BKN or OVC) below 5000 feet, expect a GDP. If your in a east config (the west config for ATL is the more efficient) expect delays inbound.

It goes back to consumer demand, peopole want the option to fly when its convenient for them, the airlines attempt to meet it... And i think we have gotten complacent. Flights will be delayed, luggage will be lost, politicians will lie, gas prices will go up, these ar euniversal truths.

just my $.02

PS Favre, your email didn't shoot me another one and i'll send the info u asked for.
Visualize Whirled Peas
 
deltagator
Posts: 6170
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 3:29 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 25):
You have to remember that John Stossels 2020 stories are severely biased and one sided.

Just biased and one-sided in the opposite direction of everyone else on that show.

Quoting SATX (Reply 29):
You'd think something like that would ruin a 'reporter's' career, but somebody high-up must really love this guy and his far-out views.

I'm surprised by his staying power myself. I don't think it is so much love from above as he might have nudie pics of someone. His views are completely opposite of the liberals who run the ABC News department.

Quoting Dallas74 (Reply 30):
I hate these Seagull shows: Fly in. Crap all over the place. Then fly out without really discussing the issues that cause delays.

I've had managers like that.

On the note of delays though...Since Delta implemented the de-banking of flights in and out of ATL I've hardly been delayed at all. If anything it is a delay on the far end that cause the issue.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
flightopsguy
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:51 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 7:35 pm

Quoting FXRA (Reply 44):
Heres a question for some of you SOCC types out there, and I've gone round and round in the past with MX control on this one. IF an aircraft has an MEL added with a restriction such as no convective wx or no icing and is delayed due to that reason, is it coded to WX or MX? I've had this come up on inop
radars, no icing penalties (the best... out of MSP in January.... MX wanted to add a no icing MEL to the plane... snow for the next 24 hours in the forecast... the MX controller said "Well, ok we'll try and fix it, but its not our delay") and even windshield wipers...

The airlines I have worked for would code it as a mech delay. If the airplane was AOG, then the cancellations would also be for mech.
A300-330 BAC111/146/J31/41 B99/1900 CV580 B707-777 DC8/9/10 L188/1011 FH227/28/100 SB340 DO228 EMB2/170 CR2-900 SH330-60
 
tercer
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:55 pm

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 9:17 pm

Quoting FXRA (Reply 44):
Heres a question for some of you SOCC types out there, and I've gone round and round in the past with MX control on this one. IF an aircraft has an MEL added with a restriction such as no convective wx or no icing and is delayed due to that reason, is it coded to WX or MX? I've had this come up on inop
radars, no icing penalties (the best... out of MSP in January.... MX wanted to add a no icing MEL to the plane... snow for the next 24 hours in the forecast... the MX controller said "Well, ok we'll try and fix it, but its not our delay") and even windshield wipers...

Regardless of the weather the root cause of the issue is the MEL (if the A/C was not broke it could operate into those conditions) so yes it is a MX delay ... Windshield wipers are usually something like no operations in precipitation within 5NM of the field (landing and takeoff) so if it isn't a full blown, all day rain event this MEL shouldn't be an automatic cancel. The best is when MX puts on a No-Ice MEL in the middle of summer and is surprised when you say no, typical answer "It is the middle of July so there can't be icing out there!".



Quoting Jfr (Reply 40):
First of all.....it's not a stunt. It's the result of laborious cost benefit analysis. Simply put, the delays cost airlines less than they earn at these times of day. If it weren't profitable, they would stop doing it.

Just to get it out there, you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about! I would love for you to break down, for all, just how delays do not cost an airline and how you think they are profitable?

Quoting Jfr (Reply 40):
Secondly, and this is my pet peeve about flying in the US, the airlines play a schedule game. "We have 10 flights a day and the other guys have fewer......, etc."

Competition in a free market society.

Quoting Jfr (Reply 40):
How do they get to the point of having so many flights? They retired their larger jets (DC-10's, etc.) and replaced them with 73's, 320's, and MD-80's......and added loads of extra flight segments to move the lift they can sell. For example, you end up with American flying 18 times per day each way between ORD and DFW with MD-80's where they used to use MD-11's, and so on. Little planes.....all day long. Here in KL, SQ and MH fly lots of trips between SIN and KUL, but with nothing smaller than a 330. QF flys between SYD and MEL so many times every day, but with 747's no less. Only in the largest air market on earth do you find so many small planes flying the busiest routes.

Its called frequency, the consumer is offered a largeer selection of when they can fly vs. only one or two option a day. In some market you may actually lose capacity buy gain frequency using small aircraft. In your case of the DC-10 the first issue is cost to operate. ORD-DFW on a DC-10 is not a profitable route because the stage length is to short, basically the farther you fly the aircraft the more profitable it becomes. Another issue is can you fill all the seats in a DC-10 by operating it once a day or are you better utilizing other aircraft that meet the publics demand for capacity during certain hours? 0800 you fly 155 seats but a 1300 you only need 50 then at 1700 120 and again the demand at 2100 is 50. In your scenario you only get 210 pax (if you can fill it) once a day and your done... Oh, by the way your airline just went out of business.

[Edited 2006-05-15 14:44:47]
It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.
 
CWAFlyer
Posts: 536
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:33 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 10:10 pm

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 43):
are airlines 100% honest on mechanical vs. weather delays? You and I both know in these tough financial times, airlines do not want to

I think what gets reported to the DOT is pretty accurate. What
a customer service agent may tell you at the time may be
a bit fabricated. Several examples in this thread show you
how uneducated some of the front line folks really are.
 
Bridogger6
Posts: 665
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:21 am

RE: 20/20: MYTH: Flight Delays Are Due To Weather

Mon May 15, 2006 11:03 pm

I really enjoy how all you folks seem to think that airline customer service agents are all lying to you about weather delays, it really is not the case. Much like OPNL guy said, a lot of times the reason a flight is "WX" delayed is because of weather in a downline station, a station the aircraft came from two flights ago. If you look in airlines' contracts of carriage, you'll find that airlines will not provide compensation if the ultimate reason an aircraft was delayed is due to weather in any of the stops along its flight path that day.

Ha, I remember once we cancelled a flight into ICT due to maintenance and all the passengers were completely understanding, they came up for some reason originally thinking it was cancelled due to weather because the weather was really bad apparently and other airlines were cancelling flights. We let them know it was a maintenance issue, even though the airline could have easily blamed the cancelled flight on weather. They even added an extra ICT flight the following day as all other PHX-ICT flights were packed so that we could accomadate all the passengers.

So I think a lot of you are badly misinformed, and airline is not going to make up weather delays. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean we're lying. Also, the other thing I have found, is if a plane is ATC delayed, a lot of agents will just assume that means weather delays and tell the passenger weather even if that is not the case. It confuses the passenger when they find out the weather is fine... but still ATC delays are not compensated for either...