FlyOakland2IAH
Topic Author
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:08 am

What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:20 pm

I have a friend flying from HOU to OAK tonight. Since I was planning my own trip in Oct. on the Southwest web site (should I change my handle to FlyOakland2HOU?)  Big grin I thought I'd check the status of his flight. Flight 1765 HOU-OAK, which is listed as N/S, is running almost 2 hours late. Strange, I thought, because the weather has been clear today in Houston. So I went to flightware.com. It showed flight 1765 stopped left at 8:04p (instead of 6:40p), and stopped in SAT! After half an hour on the ground, it is continuing to OAK. Flight 2924 was a later flight listed headed to PHX, where it connected to flight 1234 to OAK. But flight 1765 left about half an hour late, and stopped in AUS! Is something unusual going on?
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:34 pm

It was a mess.

HOU's underground hydrant fueling system at the SWA gates failed, inititally (we were told) due to a power failure. Flights that were in the process of getting fueled when the system crapped couldn't get any more, and that created other problems. We started tankering fuel (I had numerous DAL-HOU flights), and while I could tanker enough to get to the next stop on some (like CRP and HRL), I couldn't tanker the full amount needed to get to a more distant destination like HOU-OAK. Some flights like 1765 that didn't have enough fuel onboard for their long flights had enough to get to other nearby destinations like AUS and SAT, and these were operated as fuel-stops. Some flights didn't have gas for even that, and had to wait until they did, and clogged up gates that much longer.

The system went down about 4pm or so, and finally came back up about 9pm, but the damage to the schedule had been done. (The ATC and weather mess on the east coast didn't help either). Later word was that it wasn't an electrical system problem, per se, but that the computer that controlled the hydrant system for SWA's terminal was being upgraded (never heard whether it was software, or hardware) and the system never came back up. Don't know if it was the City's computer, or the fueling outfit's, but this should teach someone to -not- make "upgrades" right in the middle of an operational day--that's what midnights are for. All this presumes that's actually what the real culprit was.

[Edited 2007-08-10 06:36:37]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
FlyOakland2IAH
Topic Author
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:08 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:53 pm

Wow!

Sounds like you did the best you did with what you had. Southwest does a good job of handling the unexpected.

Last December, I flew WN OAK-OAK-SAN. We sucked a bird on takeoff, and had to immediately return to OAK. The pilot and crew did a great job of keeping us informed, and the FA's immediately brought out snack boxes and water. We were on the ground for about 90 min., but I thought Southwest handled it well. The pax were dissapointed, but no one was upset.

I do software for a living. Things NEVER go as expected. Yes, whoever was doing the upgrade should have lost some sleep by working at midnight so you wouldn't have to!
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:47 am

Quoting FlyOakland2IAH (Reply 2):
Sounds like you did the best you did with what you had. Southwest does a good job of handling the unexpected.

We try, but in a case like this one, the "solutions" were not all exactly elegant, efficient, or passenger-friendly.

Quoting FlyOakland2IAH (Reply 2):
I do software for a living. Things NEVER go as expected. Yes, whoever was doing the upgrade should have lost some sleep by working at midnight so you wouldn't have to!

Think there's now an opening in Houston?  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
iahflyer
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:34 pm

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:06 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 1):
HOU's underground hydrant fueling system at the SWA gates failed,

Aren't all of the gates at HOU in the central concourse now?
Little airports with the big jets are the best!! Floyd
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:39 am

Quoting IAHFLYER (Reply 4):
Aren't all of the gates at HOU in the central concourse now?

I know B is gone, and we vacated A, but I think C is still there and where the other airlines are. To the best of knowledge, there's no hydrant system at C, and they use fuel trucks. They used fuel trucks at A as well, and I don't know if it's being used by anyone else, or whether it too is slated for demolition.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
FlyOakland2IAH
Topic Author
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:08 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:33 am

Was there no way to get fuel trucks at C over to the WN concourse? Were there problems getting enough fuel over to Southwest because the fuel in the trucks were already committed to the other airlines? My guess is that the hydrant system must have separate fuel storage from what the fuel trucks use, otherwise, you could have brought some of the fuel trucks over. Or maybe there just weren't enough fuel trucks to cover this kind of situation.

Logistics planning on the fly (no pun intended) can make your job very interesting, I imagine...
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:24 am

The use of three fuel trucks was obtained, but where they came from I have no idea. None of the other airlines serving have the scale of operations that we do, so I rather doubt they had their own trucks per se, and they most likely were served by somone else (FBO?) via a contract arrangement.

Be that as it may, trying to run an operation the size of ours at HOU with three small fuel trucks was a slow go, especially since some of the longer ones needed a bunch of gas. Ditto for the ones goeing to the NE with all the weather and ATC they had there yesterday. The trucks needed refilling after only 1-2 flights, and that slowed things down further. We ended up only fuel stopping 3 in all (1224 HOU-LAX was the other) which ain't bad, considering..
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
FlyOakland2IAH
Topic Author
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:08 am

RE: What's Going On With WN Flights From HOU West?

Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:11 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):
None of the other airlines serving have the scale of operations that we do, so I rather doubt they had their own trucks per se, and they most likely were served by someone else (FBO?) via a contract arrangement.

That's more or less what I figured. There weren't enough trucks to make up for the volume of fuel usually delivered by the hydrant system. Sounds like a good job of keeping the metal moving!