|Quoting Noelg (Reply 4):|
First I've heard of a car chasing a car along an active runway
A car chasing a CAR ???
|Quoting Noelg (Reply 4):|
Err - how about that was probably the cats eyes?
Cats eyes are on roads not airfields - do you mean the centre line lights ?.
This story is a typical British gutter press nothing story that has been edited and over dramatised to make it out to be worse than what it is.
Lets put things in perspective here from an Airline point of view :-
airlines have tech delays period - every single one of them do.
A rolling tech delay as happened here is the worst case. You think it will take x amount of time to fix, but as the job goes on, it takes longer and longer, especially when the required parts are not immediately available.
If the pax are in the terminal, it isn't a huge issue, as you can send them back into the departure lounge to wait, however if they are already on the a/c, then you are stuck in a catch 22 situation.
It will take at least 1.5 hours to de-board and re-board a full 747. Remember that not everyone comes through the gate in alphabetical order, and if you are de-planeing and planning to re-board again, you have to give the b/passes and tickets back. This takes time to collate them all back together in alphabetical order to be able to give them back to the pax, as ticket coupons and b/passes will usually be in seperate piles. This takes the most time to do and has to be done before you can let the pax off.
What do you do if the delay is supposed to take 15 mins to fix ?. You keep everyone on the a/c. Then the time to fix it gets put back a while, but unless it is put back by over 1.5 hours min, there is no point taking everyone off, so you leave them on. You also have to get permission from the Airport Authority to de-plane back into the departure lounge, and due to recent security problems, this might not have been given anyway, but the article doesn't mention this. If you do take them off, and then the plane is suddenly fixed, you then have to try and round everyone up again to get them back on to get the flight away ASAP, and it ends up being later than if you left them onboard.
However, you can't serve the food as you they will need to eat on the flight and it isn't possible to just magic up a whole new load of catering for a 747 full of pax. That would need a minimum of 4 hours if your lucky, if the delay is estimated to be less then that then new catering wouldn't be ordered. So you don't serve meals and wait. You also cannot open the bars on the ground, so a limited soft drinks service is all that can be offered - again it will take roughly an hour to get these items replenished from the catering companies - which are no doubt located off airport.
Parts arrive and then get fixed, however by now the meals have been out of cold storage for too long now to be used safely under H and S regulations, so you can't use them - again you can't get anymore either as it would take too long and you think the flight will be going soon and you want to get the pax on their way ASAP.
Then plane is fixed, and goes out for take-off, however the problem isn't fixed after all and they have to return to the gate.
By this time the crew have gone out of hours and the flight has to be cancelled.
The passenger were never "trapped". Any person is free to leave an a/c that is still on the ground at any point if they so wish - however thats where things get complicated. If a pax demands to leave (against what the airline is advising them to do), as they are entitled to do so the airline cannot stop them, but if they do then it is deemed that they left of their own accord so any subsequent insurance claim could be deemed null and void.
So the airline is really stuck between a rock and a hard place in a rolling tech delay situation. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. It is just an unfortunate situation to be in, and one that will happen again and again in the future to almost every airline at some stage.
The airline really wants the a/c to go as much as the passengers do. The airline could have to spend thousands of ££ and a number of days getting that a/c back on schedule after a delay, so that is the last thing they want, yet they end up with a slating in the gutter press for it regardless.
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"