Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 8:38 am

ATA Flights From Mdw?

Thu Sep 21, 2000 1:16 pm

After reading about the 727 ATA from MDW-LAS which had a engine fire upon landing @ LAS, I noticed that the flight had made an "unscheduled" fuel stop in Lincoln, NE. Is this pretty common for flights to leave MDW with light fuel and stop en route to refuel? I'm flying BOS-LAX via MDW in November and the MDW-LAX leg is a 757. I don't see a fuel stop being likely but would appreciate any info on the ATA operations at Midway. Thanks, Jeff
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Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 5:30 am

RE: ATA Flights From Mdw?

Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:38 pm

NO, it's not common. The ATA operations at Midway are hampered by the massive construction project at Midway, and the ridiculously outdated, undersized facilities that the construction is replacing. Congestion is a way of life right now. I suspect that the ATA flight that was diverted to Lincoln was burning way more fuel than normal due to an engine malfunction. However, it could be possible that the plane had to hurry in and out of a gate at MDW to avoid totally screwing up a very tight operational schedule at MDW, and may have left before being completely refueled.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 1:51 am

RE: ATA Flights From Mdw?

Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:56 pm

No, it's not common. However, the fuel stop did not have anything to do with the new terminal construction or ATA's operations at MDW. Right now, ATA ops. is not hampered by the construction of the new terminal since what is being built is the check in area and not the airside where the gates are. Airlines are not expecting to be inconvinienced by this late 2000/early 2001.

What most likely happened was that the 727 was weight restricted due to the short runways at MDW. ATA has this problem with their 727 ops. at MDW. The aircraft probably took off with a light fuel load in order to clear the fence and then stopped for fuel. The same thing used to happen to America West flights to LAS and PHX years ago. It also could be due to an engine malfunction, but I doubt that.

You don't have anything to worry about if you are flying on the 757, since that aircraft has a better perfomance than the 72, and can easily lift off from MDW's runways without nearly as many weight penalties.

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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 9:11 am

RE: ATA Flights From Mdw?

Fri Sep 22, 2000 4:53 pm

I've also seen ATA L-1011's in there. How do those get out of MDW? If these aircraft having trouble taking off with weight limits on those short runways, why does ATA even bother flying out of there?
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 1:51 am

RE: ATA Flights From Mdw?

Sat Sep 23, 2000 4:19 am

When did you see an L1011 at MDW????? That's f'ing impossible!!!!

The largest aircraft operated there is the 757. The gates are not big enough to accomadate widebody aircraft.

ATA chose MDW because it is was a good market for them to build a hub around. It was underutilized when they started servicing it and is also Chicago's "low-fare airport". Once the new terminal is built ATA will have a larger operation at this airport. The 727's don't have weight restrictions on every flight, only a few depending on weather conditions and what not. ATA is not the only airline to have weight problems. Every airline that flies into that airport has had problems with weight restrictions at one point or another, especially those that use older a/c like 727's and 737-200's. However it's not an everyday occurence and it doesn't happen enough to make operations there uneconomical.

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Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: ATA Flights From Mdw?

Sat Sep 23, 2000 9:57 am

MDW-LAS is a long haul for a 727 these days, particularly those which employ "procedural" hushkits to make Stage III. Perhaps the westbound headwinds were significant enough that the boys decided to land for fuel. (Had it happen myself once on Braniff a long time ago from NY-DFW; headwinds required us to land and refuel in (I think) Memphis.) On your BOS-LAX flight with ATA, you'll have a nice 727 from BOS-MDW and a 757 from MDW-LAX. The 757 has plenty of legs; it's not even a little stretch to get to LAX on one out of MDW, so you will not have a fuel stop.

By the way, ATA's equipment is generally quite nice inside; they make a big deal out of thoroughly cleaning the cabin on turns and at MDW. The pitch is comparable to everyone else's, and the service is generally quite good. They'll happily give you a full can of soda, they seem to care that you have a nice flight, and you even get a little snack and a movie on the MDW-LAX leg, which you don't on most of those carriers flying smaller a/c on that route. ATA will also be replacing its 727s, starting early next year, with 737-800s. ATA is the launch customer for the maximum-performance 737-800, with factory-installed winglets, and they are buying them *loaded*, with heads up displays in the cockpit, extra-powerful engines, etc. And they are installing seats with better-than-average pitch, as well.

You will enjoy your flight. I have taken them many times in the past year, and enjoyed every flight.


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