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Question To F/A's Re: Long Delays In Aircraft

Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:39 pm

I was just reading the thread of DL521 JFK-ATL. Now it is not my intention to point fingers or to place blame on anyone or any airline. We ( passengers and crew ) have experienced severe delays on the tarmac quite recently and unfortunately, things happen. So, here is my question to the flight attendants that must endure these situations:

Let's say we are on a Boeing 757 flying from JFK - ATL and divert to AGS. It's summertime, hot, full load, and duty time is about to expire. Only a 50 mins flight to ATL. Instead of passing out cups of ice to passengers to offset the heat, would it be possible to set up beverage carts in the galleys at 1L/1R, 4L/4R, and 2L/2R? Passengers can then self-serve their own beverages and at the same time, ( Air France, for example, sets up beverage carts during the longer flights for the passengers convenience ) the flight crew can take a 'break' and leave the aircraft in a rotating break schedule ( rotating so that at least 1 F/A stays on board in the cabin at all times ). The F/A's can leave the aircraft for an hour, let's say. I say 1 hour because it will allow enought time to taxi to runway, fly, land, and taxi to the parking stand. The whole idea is to remain on board the aircraft when in flight without your duty time expiring.

I understand there is a labor contract to be upheld and the galley may be stocked for additional flights on that aircraft for the very same day, however, these are human beings who have basic human rights. If quantities of beverages are seriously low at the next station, then cabin crew should relate this to ground staff, and the ground staff should make an announcement over the PA to warn the passengers so they can purchase beverages and take them onboard. When temperatures exceed high 70's and into 80F inside an aircraft without power during the summer, I'm sorry but someone ( Cpt, F/O, F/A, Purser, etc ) should take some ownership and make an executive decision.

On a side note, I have been flying Delta domestically since the purchase of Pan Am and "I love the way you fly!" - but this really disappoints me in a very sad way.   

p.s. Does this only happen in the United States? Does this happen anywhere else in the world and I just don't know?

[Edited 2007-09-08 05:50:15]
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RE: Question To F/A's Re: Long Delays In Aircraft

Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:46 pm

Creative idea but it would not work for many reasons.

FAR's mandate that a minimum crew remain on board when there are passengers. Actual number required depends on the aircraft. Most airlines due to cutbacks only staff with the FAA minimum to start.

Once you have timed out the FAA requires a minimum rest period of no less than 8 hours.

A one hour break will not reset the duty clock so to speak.

Carts are not permitted out when on the ground as they could block egress in an emergency.

Depending on where at the airport the aircraft is FAR's may prohibit passengers and crew from getting up.

Yes this does happen outside of the US. I specifically remember it happening to me in Japan. Diverted and delayed for 8 hours on the ground crew timed out and we got stuck in the Sapporo airport for 28 hours before getting to finish our itinerary.
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RE: Question To F/A's Re: Long Delays In Aircraft

Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:08 am

When a flight is active & in service, regardless if on the ground or in the air...the Flight Attendants must stay with the aircraft when passengers are aboard. FAA required one F/A for every 50 seats, whether or not that seat has a passenger sitting in it.
One time when I was a gate agent with F9 at LAX, we had a broken 737 at gate 39A. It was our only gate at the time. While waiting for a tug to tow the bird away from 39A, another F9 flight came in, and waited for our gate, which BTW cannot be taxi-in on the aircraft's own power. You shut down on the ramp, and be towed in to 39A. The inbound flight shut down on the ramp, and without power to the A/C, was getting warm in the cabin. So being in charge that day, I called the catering truck over & got some bags of ice and physically tossed them up to the F/As, who had the 2 port side doors open for ventilation. The aircraft was only sitting there perhaps 45 minutes, but there was no ice left onboard, just warm sodas. All this happened before 9/11. I personally received kudos from the flight crew & DEN dispatchers for getting some relief to the folks aboard that "stranded" aircraft. It was all in a day's work when all F9 had then were just 14 737s in the fleet.
So even then before Sept 11th, there were rules...rules were sometimes broken for the safety, security and the sakes of the crew & passengers delayed aboard an aircraft. Nowadays, we all have to suffer irregardless how miserable we become.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin

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