Gonzalo
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Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:44 pm

The Chilean local carrier Sky Airlines is in the news again. After the close call of the wing smashing the runway a few days ago, and the full audit to the airline by the DGAC, today a report of a passenger winning a case against the airline was made public.
Long story short, about a year ago, a Sky Airline flight departed SCL with destination ANF. Mid-flight, the airline changed the first destination ( ANF ) to IQQ ( more than 200 nm north of ANF ), to pick up a group of passengers, for not very clear reasons. One passenger protested against that decision ( because she was flying to attend a work meeting in ANF and this sudden change will affect her schedule ). After an argument ( where the woman can be seen talking very calm with the crew ) the captain requested the presence of the police and kick the woman out of the plane in IQQ.
She sued and now she won the case against the airline, who will be fined with a U$D 2.000 and should pay a U$D 2.500 compensation to the woman. Personally this is the first time i hear about a "diversion" to pick up a group of passengers, I mean, totally understand the woman's position, when I buy a ticket SCL-ANF, I don't expect a flight SCL-IQQ-ANF, unless there is a safety/weather explanation.


http://www.chilevision.cl/home/content/view/429381/81/

Have you ever heard about similar situations ??

Rgds.
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xjramper
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:57 pm

Absolutely. Planes break, and without the possibility of gettin folks to their final desination for days, instead of repoing an aircraft to that city (especially if there are no spares in either the aircraft or crew departments) airlines sometimes flagstop a flight to pick up distressed passengers. Is it a pain for those originally on the AAA-BBB flight, absolutely. But a 45 minute delay for some folks is a lot better than what those other passengers were originally intending to do (2, 3, maybe 4 days).
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usflyer msp
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:13 pm

Quoting xjramper (Reply 1):
Absolutely. Planes break, and without the possibility of gettin folks to their final desination for days, instead of repoing an aircraft to that city (especially if there are no spares in either the aircraft or crew departments) airlines sometimes flagstop a flight to pick up distressed passengers. Is it a pain for those originally on the AAA-BBB flight, absolutely. But a 45 minute delay for some folks is a lot better than what those other passengers were originally intending to do (2, 3, maybe 4 days).

True but it is almost always announced before the plane takes off not when you are already halfway to your destination.
 
Gonzalo
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:26 pm

Quoting xjramper (Reply 1):
Planes break, and without the possibility of gettin folks to their final desination for days, instead of repoing an aircraft to that city (especially if there are no spares in either the aircraft or crew departments) airlines sometimes flagstop a flight to pick up distressed passengers. Is it a pain for those originally on the AAA-BBB flight, absolutely. But a 45 minute delay for some folks is a lot better than what those other passengers were originally intending to do (2, 3, maybe 4 days).

Well, yes, but why don't you pick up the stranded passengers after completing your original route ?? If you look a map of Chile, you will see that ANF is 590 nm north of SCL,and IQQ is 770 nm north of SCL, in a straight line. If you have a broken plane and want to "rescue" the passengers in IQQ, you can do that re-scheduling a flight form Arica to make a short stop in IQQ, or you can delay the return flight ANF-SCL ( 1, 2 hours top ) to pick up the people in IQQ, specially knowing that ANF is mainly a business destination ( leisure or tourism passengers are minority in this route ) .... I mean, there are better ways to do the things, and lately this airline is choosing exactly the worst option...

Rgds.

G.
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xjramper
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:07 pm

Without knowing the full details, it is really hard to comment on what really happened. But when you say that ANF is a business destination, what if the folks that needed the rescue needed to be in ANF? That would only work if they are heading to ANF and not away from it.
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shufflemoomin
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:24 pm

I've never understood people who complain about missing important appointments due to the action of airlines. If you have something that's important, maybe work a little wiggle room into the schedule where one delay doesn't ruin the plans, huh?
 
strangr
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:54 pm

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Have you ever heard about similar situations ??

2002 I think it was when I flew to Canada, the flight was with Air Pacific (Cheap seats) the initial flight was routed SYD NAN then YVR.

However we ended up flying SYD NAN PPG HNL YVR

The main reason was that the flight from Nadi to Vancouver was supposed to be on a 747, however they down graded it to a 737, all the xtra stops were for fuel, however there was some mail unloaded in samoa, which made me think that the flight was planned that way.

Made for a long trip and due to all the stops very hard to get any sleep, but none the less a one time chance to island hop.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:08 am

Quoting strangr (Reply 6):
The main reason was that the flight from Nadi to Vancouver was supposed to be on a 747, however they down graded it to a 737, all the xtra stops were for fuel, however there was some mail unloaded in samoa, which made me think that the flight was planned that way.

As far as I recall FJ never used the 747 to YVR. Their YVR service was always scheduled as a 737-800 NAN-HNL-YVR. They still operate NAN-HNL (once a week) with the 738 but dropped YVR in 2008.
 
olliejolly
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:22 am

"We'd run a perfectly good airline were it not for the damn passengers!"
 
ghifty
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:30 am

Quoting strangr (Reply 6):
The main reason was that the flight from Nadi to Vancouver was supposed to be on a 747, however they down graded it to a 737, all the xtra stops were for fuel, however there was some mail unloaded in samoa, which made me think that the flight was planned that way.

That sounds normal and quite necessary, IMO. But whatever happened here, with Sky, was a little strange given what little details are public.
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RussianJet
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:36 am

Mmm, $4,500 in total - that'll learn 'em!   
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:50 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Have you ever heard about similar situations ??

Saw an old episode of Airline USA a few days ago where they re-routed a flight from MDW to ISP via PVD to bring 18 passengers home. Unlike the PVD pax, the ISP pax were not happy.  
Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 5):
I've never understood people who complain about missing important appointments due to the action of airlines. If you have something that's important, maybe work a little wiggle room into the schedule where one delay doesn't ruin the plans, huh?

+1   
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traindoc
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:02 am

When traveling, you ALWAYS need to build in some wiggle room to your schedule! Stuff happens! If you don't, then you need to be adult enough about it, and roll with the punches when you miss getting to your destination as expected. And yes, I have gotten angry about delays, etc. But I try to remind myself that things go better if I am nice and gracious.

That said, if the passengers in this instance were not told in advance of the diversion, then they have every right to be angry. And yes the airlines are PERFECT when it comes to giving us pax timely and accurate information.      
 
N766UA
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:13 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
Have you ever heard about similar situations ??

Happens pretty routinely. I remember we had a CLE-ATL MD88 take a mechanical and an SYR-ATL MD88 was re-routed west, picked up the pax and some extra fuel, and was on its way again in about 30 minutes.
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SOBHI51
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:33 am

1982 was booked on BA DXB- HKG- Manila.
Plane arrived 3 hours late, carrying a 5th engine, we flew to Delhi to drop the engine, we were delayed a couple of hours so they can get the pax from the day before, then we continued our flight.
I think total delay was over 7 hours when we arrived to Manila.
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lweber557
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:53 am

I remember hearing about something kind of like on the news awhile back in the US. I wanna say it was a America West, but whatever airline it was they operated the charter plane for a basketball team. Apparently the team's plane was unable to fly for whatever reason so the airline had a plane that was already in the air with passengers on board turn around and deplane so it could be used to fly the basketball team to where they we're going.
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:58 am

Only took 5 replies for someone to blame the passenger for missing their meeting because she had the audacity to believe the published routing and schedule.  
 
BOS2LAF
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:52 am

Quoting USAIRWAYS321 (Reply 16):
Only took 5 replies for someone to blame the passenger for missing their meeting because she had the audacity to believe the published routing and schedule.  

Well, guess what? In the words of Forrest Gump, "$hit happens."

It's great when things go according to plan and you get off your plane and hop a cab to whatever business engagement you have planned, but if you have the luxury of building some time into your schedule and fail to do so, you really have no right to complain when things go wrong.

Planes break.
ATC computers break.
Airline computers break.
Weather happens.
Runway construction happens.
Birdstrikes happen.
TSA lines get backed up.
Terminal evacuations happen.

There are tons of what-ifs that cannot be reasonably predicted, so if you have extra time to take an earlier flight but voluntarily take a later flight leaving you minutes to get off the plane and into a cab and off to your business meeting, its nobody's fault but your own for not planning cautiously.

I get that not everyone has the luxury of building a fudge factor into their schedules, but my initial statement still applies, $hit happens.
 
EY460
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:20 am

There is a very recent example (23rd July 2012) with Gulf Air. From the Aviation Herald:

"A Gulf Air Airbus A320-200, registration A9C-AG performing flight GF-29 from Bahrain (Bahrain) to Rome Fiumicino (Italy), was descending towards Rome when both left and right hand windscreens cracked within seconds. The crew continued the approach and landed safely on Fiumicino's runway 34L.

The aircraft was unable to perform the return flight GF-28.

Flight GF-26 from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Bahrain (Bahrain) flown by an Airbus A320-200 registration A9C-AM was diverted to Fiumicino to pick up the passengers of flight GF-28 and reached Bahrain with a delay of 3.5 hours (both flights)."
 
Dizzy777
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:58 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 3):
Well, yes, but why don't you pick up the stranded passengers after completing your original route ?? If you look a map of Chile, you will see that ANF is 590 nm north of SCL,and IQQ is 770 nm north of SCL, in a straight line. If you have a broken plane and want to "rescue" the passengers in IQQ, you can do that re-scheduling a flight form Arica to make a short stop in IQQ, or you can delay the return flight ANF-SCL ( 1, 2 hours top ) to pick up the people in IQQ, specially knowing that ANF is mainly a business destination ( leisure or tourism passengers are minority in this route ) .... I mean, there are better ways to do the things, and lately this airline is choosing exactly the worst option....

If pax in both places were meant to end up at ANF, you pick up the pax in IQQ and then go to ANF - that removes the need to create an additional flt for the operating aircraft and allows it to continue on its next scheduled flt with a delay of 1 hour or so.. instead of 2 extra legs and the associated ground time, extra costs (extra take off and landing fees, fuel, wages, flt crew hours and so on.) if you have to go to ANF twice instead of single stop before continuing the schedule.
 
skywaymanaz
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:09 am

Quoting lweber557 (Reply 15):
I remember hearing about something kind of like on the news awhile back in the US. I wanna say it was a America West, but whatever airline it was they operated the charter plane for a basketball team. Apparently the team's plane was unable to fly for whatever reason so the airline had a plane that was already in the air with passengers on board turn around and deplane so it could be used to fly the basketball team to where they we're going.

I believe it was a sports charter for the Angels out of DFW. If I remember correctly there was some type of guarantee in the contract that made dispatch feel this was the best option. I don't recall what reason was given to the passengers already enroute for why they were turning around. Needless to say a lot of upset deplaned passengers watching their plane turn around and takeoff without them.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:17 am

Quoting USAIRWAYS321 (Reply 16):
Only took 5 replies for someone to blame the passenger for missing their meeting because she had the audacity to believe the published routing and schedule
Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
One passenger protested against that decision ( because she was flying to attend a work meeting in ANF and this sudden change will affect her schedule ). After an argument ( where the woman can be seen talking very calm with the crew ) the captain requested the presence of the police and kick the woman out of the plane in IQQ.
She sued and now she won the case

Sigh. From Delta's Contract of Carriage, IGR Rule 80, "Revised Routings Failure to Carry and Missed Connections":

"Delta will exercise reasonable efforts to carry passengers and their baggage according to Delta's published schedules and the schedule reflected on the passenger's ticket, but published schedules, flight times, aircraft type, seat assignments, and similar details reflected in the ticket or Delta's published schedules are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract. Delta may substitute alternative carriers or aircraft, delay or cancel flights, change seat assignments, and alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket at any time. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Except as stated in this rule or Rule 55, Delta will have no liability for making connections, failing to operate any flight according to schedule, changing the schedule for any flight, changing seat assignments or aircraft types, or revising the routings by which Delta carries the passenger from the ticketed origin to destination."

Pretty much covers this. The rule and Rule 55 do set out various forms of compensation that Delta will pay for certain types of delays under certain circumstances.
 
JayDub
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:18 am

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 2):
True but it is almost always announced before the plane takes off not when you are already halfway to your destination.

I've flagstopped at least two flights that were already enroute in order to pick up pax that, otherwise, would be screwed for days. It's not a normal operation, but it happens more often than you think.
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thrufru
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:50 am

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 2):
True but it is almost always announced before the plane takes off not when you are already halfway to your destination
Quoting JayDub (Reply 22):
I've flagstopped at least two flights that were already enroute in order to pick up pax that, otherwise, would be screwed for days. It's not a normal operation, but it happens more often than you think.

I'm gonna have to second JayDub's statement. I think the general public is blissfully unaware of how often an enroute diversion to pick up stranded passengers is. As a passenger, it's happened to me on America West and United. As a pilot I've had to do it a couple of times, too. In essence, a contract of carriage is to get you from Point A to Point B. Airlines are afforded a tremendous amount of latitude in not just routing but also timing.
 
kl911
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:37 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
this is the first time i hear about a "diversion" to pick up a group of passengers, I mean, totally understand the woman's position, when I buy a ticket SCL-ANF, I don't expect a flight SCL-IQQ-ANF, unless there is a safety/weather explanation.

In summer 2000 I was waiting for an evening flight NCE - AMS with Transavia when a colleague called me from AMS saying that the flight to NCE was cancelled due to technical problems. After a while it was decided to route the half empty BCN - AMS via NCE to pick us up. Total delay was just 90 minutes, job well done. And because it was an evening flight no one missed connections or meetings.
 
skywaymanaz
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:45 am

Quoting thrufru (Reply 23):
In essence, a contract of carriage is to get you from Point A to Point B.

Contract of carriage from A to B is probably the basis of her lawsuit in that she never got to B and why she was awarded damages. She was removed from the aircraft at IQQ. I'm guessing if she had been arrested that would release Sky from the contract of carriage. If she wasn't arrested and if Sky refused to transport her onward that could be the problem. If I'm the passenger I wouldn't be happy about a diversion either but that's not something I'd get civil damages for. I've been diverted before, it happens. The last time I was diverted I had a few calm questions for the FA (along the lines of their duty time and possibly timing out). If I'm a passenger and got removed from a flight merely for calmly questioning the FA about the diversion I think I'd get civil damages in court. That may be what happened here as they failed to take her to ANF.

I can read and write Spanish but I have trouble following it conversationally. I can't tell exactly what's going on in that video to say for sure Sky was wrong to have her removed from the plane. That doesn't look like a calm passenger to me though as stated earlier. If I was the Captain I wouldn't question the FA about their motives in wanting a passenger removed. I'd request they meet us at the gate and have the passenger taken off. The PIC absolutely has the authority to have them removed period. Just because they have the authority to take that action at the time that can not be revoked doesn't mean they won't be liable for civil damages later though.

Btw last time I was diverted was due to a severe thunderstorm that parked itself over MCI for hours. I had my Garmin GPSmap 496 in my bag. Got it out to see the storm on the display, it was pretty bad. I think that helped the situation that a lot of passengers not only saw the thunderheads as we were holding but could see on my GPS they weren't moving. So yeah like others pointed out bad stuff happens and if you can build some time in so things work out anyway.
 
JONC777
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:06 am

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):

Ive seen wn do this. Usally its a very underbooked flight in the first place that lands somewhere to pick up stranded pax from another lightly booked flight. And, its usually weather or maintance related.
 
whisperjet
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:50 am

Not that uncommon. Some charter airlines in the European market add additional stops if they cannot fill the planes for two separate flights.

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MD11Engineer
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:10 am

As one ex-military guy once told me: "If you are on time, you are too late. Always plan for the worst case".
So if the meeting was that important, I would fly there on either the earlier flight or one day earlier.

BTW, I had aircraft held up for me several times. Usually I was sent downroute into the boonies to fix an aircraft, which went AOG at some remote destination.
The crew of the aircraft I came with had orders to wait until I was finished to take me back to my own base (not getting stuck there for a few days with tools and spare parts, but without a change of clothes). I worked as fast as I could and the captain explained it to the passengers, who usually applauded (at least in Italy) when I came back on board.

Jan

[Edited 2012-07-29 04:15:03]
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Markam
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:54 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 28):
As one ex-military guy once told me: "If you are on time, you are too late. Always plan for the worst case".
So if the meeting was that important, I would fly there on either the earlier flight or one day earlier.
Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 5):
I've never understood people who complain about missing important appointments due to the action of airlines. If you have something that's important, maybe work a little wiggle room into the schedule where one delay doesn't ruin the plans, huh?

Good advice, but try doing that when having a busy schedule, and you will soon realize that you can only go to two or three meetings a week... airlines run tight schedules, and people run tight schedules, too, why should the latter be to blame? Perhaps it is the airlines who should build more buffer time into their schedules to account for unexpected (but not so uncommon) delays, "huh"?

Quoting bos2laf (Reply 17):
It's great when things go according to plan and you get off your plane and hop a cab to whatever business engagement you have planned, but if you have the luxury of building some time into your schedule and fail to do so, you really have no right to complain when things go wrong.

Good qualification: "IF you have the luxury of building some time into your schedule". That is a big if, and perhaps the passenger didn´t. At the very least, we don't know whether she did, and in any case, again, why it is always the passenger who is advised to allow for more buffer time by default, and not the airline?

Quoting bos2laf (Reply 17):
There are tons of what-ifs that cannot be reasonably predicted

Yes, and so are there in many other industries, yet airlines seem to believe in some kind of exceptionalism shared with some regulators, which allows them to include in their contracts of carriage very abusive terms for the passenger which would be unthinkable of in other contexts. For example, I believe that the logistics involving express air freight are as convoluted, if not more (cargo does not self-sort, as passengers do) and yet express air freight companies consistently deliver packages on time to their destination, and compensate the customer if they fail to do so.

Perhaps it would involve raising ticket prices, as if buffer times increased airlines would not be able to operate so many hours as they do now with the same aircraft, but the current system, in which all the blame is put on the passenger by default, only incentivates sometimes reckless, sometimes not conservative enough scheduling by airlines, and amounts to many many millions of dollars in lost meetings, lost hours of work, lost hours of holiday time, etc. by passengers delayed by the airlines. The European Union offers some specific protection for their consumers in the Air Passenger Rights Act (although it seems that it may not be so effective de-facto), and it also seems that the FAA is concerned about delays and stranded passengers on the tarmac (although it might be argued that perhaps their way to deal with the problem is not the most adequate, since some see it as only fostering cancellations instead of delays), so things seems to be moving in the right direction, but in my view there is still a long way to go until airlines share their fair burden of the "$hit happens".

  
 
wjcandee
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:36 pm

So much whining....

The market has spoken. You may be able to marginally increase travel time reliability by doing the banal things some have mentioned here, at perhaps the doubling of ticket prices. If Ms. Important Executive REALLY has that "tight a schedule" and she or her company is willing to pay more so she can get another two hours at home or work before leaving for her meeting, then let her charter a biz jet.

Otherwise, let the rest of us benefit from the lower fares that the flexibility afforded the airlines affords us.

However, my guess is that despite her own self-importance, her company would likely make her do that meeting by teleconference if the fares got much higher...
 
bristolflyer
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:59 pm

Ok so it's been determined that the airlines do this occasionally. And the pax should have left more margins in her timescales. But she has a right to complain and state her opinion. without the airline hearing complaints they're never going to improve their service. I haven't read all of the article but it seems like the airline was fined for what they did to her as a punishment for her complaints, which sounded out of proportion.
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krisyyz
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:35 pm

This incidents reminds me of a TAP flight that recently returned to BUD due to some forgotten passengers left at the airport by mistake.

http://avherald.com/h?article=452f6a17&opt=0

KrisYYZ
 
Markam
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:11 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 30):
So much whining....

The market has spoken. You may be able to marginally increase travel time reliability by doing the banal things some have mentioned here, at perhaps the doubling of ticket prices.

Oh, my apologies, if "the market" has spoken, it is settled, then, and I am just whining... but, you know, just to make sure that you are not one of those economic analphabets just parrotting words without actually knowing their meaning, who thinks that it is only costs which determine prices, in order to support your claim could you please show me any study that shows such a high elasticity of price with respect to time reliability, that improving the latter just marginally would double prices? Also, could you please enlighten and reasure me by showing me an study that shows that the current regulation and carriage contracts, is superior to a more demanding one in terms of punctuality, and not just convenient for airlines in detriment of the flying public?

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 30):
If Ms. Important Executive REALLY has that "tight a schedule" and she or her company is willing to pay more so she can get another two hours at home or work before leaving for her meeting, then let her charter a biz jet.

Otherwise, let the rest of us benefit from the lower fares that the flexibility afforded the airlines affords us.

Sure, and why not benefit from even lower fares not only by not enforcing higher punctuality standards, but also by lowering the expensive security standards? I am sure that since you seem to suggest that only cost determines price, and being things like price elasticity of demand so unimportant as you seem to think they are, the good airlines will be so kind to lower the fares instead of pocketing the money they would save if they could. That way some would not make it to their business meetings altogether, but hey, if that meeting is so important the travellers and their companies should think in advance and send more than one representative in different flights, to ensure that at least one arrives safely, or get a business jet, shouldn't they?  
 
SJUSXM
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:37 pm

Back in the day when you saw half empty widebodies routinely flying around the US this was even more common, especially in the Northeast. My dad tells me of several times when DL would cancel the last ATL-PHL and all the passengers would simply get on the BOS L1011 and the flight would fly ATL-PHL-BOS. Sometimes there might even be a few passengers that would get on the PHL-BOS leg, even though it was unscheduled until a few hours before it ran.
AT7, ER3, ER4, ER5, CR7, E70, E75, F100, M82, M83, 722, 732, 738, 752, 762, 763, AB6, 320, 321, 772, 77W
 
ckfred
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:40 pm

Back in the early 1980s, my parents were flying on the original Ozark from JLN to ORD, with a stop in STL. The flight they were scheduled on was canceled due to the aircraft going tech.

So, another flight, that was departing TUL for STL was diverted to JLN to pick up the passengers.

Now, there are a few differences. First, the diverted flight was picking up passengers who were stranded because of a maintenance issue.

Second, JLN is pretty much under the flight path on TUL-STL. The only lost time is for descent, landing, loading baggage and passengers, take off, and climb back to cruising altitude.

Third, some of the passengers on the TUL-STL non-stop were scheduled to connect to the second segment (STL-ORD) of the flight with the maintenance problem. OZ found a spare airplane to fly the STL-ORD segment.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:37 pm

Quoting Markam (Reply 33):
high elasticity of price with respect to time reliability

Don't think you're using the word "elasticity" correctly here.

What there certainly is in this business is high price elasticity of demand. As proven by the overall traffic increases following deregulation, and the dramatic reductions in travel that occur when prices rise, both on the business travel side (alternative goods) and the leisure travel side. Few are captive to air travel, which all the people forget who think that everything would be wonderful again if we would just let monopolistic prices reign again.

Travel time reliability increases have negligible effects on a given airline's traffic, as evidenced by the fact that the best-performing airlines in that metric don't have a disproportionate share of the market. Only when it really, really sucks, and everyone knows it, does it peel off a bit of traffic, but most FF members just stay behind and bitch.

The market as to choice of a particular carrier is highly-distorted, particularly with regard to business and frequent travellers, because of frequent flyer programs and contracts between employer and carrier that require a commitment to a certain airline on a certain route. Travel time reliability barely moves the needle here.

The babyish things being proposed here -- crews that sit around waiting to go rescue stranded travelers and aircraft with lighter utilization and such -- I'm here to tell you they ain't gonna happen. It's a huge expense in a business driven by the savings of pennies, and there is no meaningful way to recover those costs.

apology accepted.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:48 pm

Quoting USAIRWAYS321 (Reply 16):
Only took 5 replies for someone to blame the passenger for missing their meeting because she had the audacity to believe the published routing and schedule.

The truth hurts sometimes.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
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Tomassjc
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:01 pm

Never forget riding MEX-Cozumel on a Mexicana 727 in the 80s. We started our decent at what I thought was rather early into the flight. Shortly thereafter, an announcement came from the Flight Deck that we would be making a quick unscheduled stop in Merida. We touched down, rolled out to the end of the runway, rear air stairs dropped, engines still running, a mechanic popped up from an aisle seat with his tool kit and deplaned down the back stairs into a waiting truck. Stairs up, cabin secure, we made a 180 and we were airborne again. We arrived in CZM just a few minutes late!

Tomas SJC
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
AAIL86
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:08 pm

Quoting Markam (Reply 29):
Yes, and so are there in many other industries, yet airlines seem to believe in some kind of exceptionalism shared with some regulators, which allows them to include in their contracts of carriage very abusive terms for the passenger which would be unthinkable of in other contexts.

Aviation is indeed an exceptional industry. Some of the challenges airlines face on a daily basis would leave some of their counterparts working in other industries in tears. Most of these controversial decisions that I've ever witnessed are made with a very high degree of professionalism - not indifference. These events are very frustrating for all involved to be sure, but in the long run a safe transportation system is more important then a few missed meetings.

One example I remember from my own career(very similar to the OP's) was back in the days when AA flew TUL-STL. That particular day the fleet was running very short of available aircraft due to a few weather events in the northeast. At TUL, a fully loaded MD-80 was about to depart for STL with 140 passengers (100%) on board. Meanwhile, a 763 with a light load(80 booked of 225 seats) had been subbed on DFW-STL to make up for a 757 delayed back east.

While that particular 763 was preparing to depart for STL, the MD-80 was taken out of service due to excessive leakage from the forward lavatory. Due to the aircraft shortage that day, the flight was at risk to be canceled. However it was decided to to route the 763 DFW-TUL-STL and pick up those 140 passengers. So that aircraft ground interrupted back to the gate so the pilot could could pull the new flight plan. Needless to say, the 80 passengers going to St. Louis found this to be a major inconvenience, but in the end it was the right decision..
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamim Franklin
 
AAIL86
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:22 pm

Quoting Markam (Reply 33):
Sure, and why not benefit from even lower fares not only by not enforcing higher punctuality standards, but also by lowering the expensive security standards?

In the USA, ALL the majors have an average punctuality of 75%-82%. I'm pretty sure that down in Chile, LAN is close to that as well. When one considers that the majority of delayed flights are caused by weather and ATC problems, the airlines have generally done a good job in most situations. If I may ask, what level of on-time performance would meet your expectations?
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamim Franklin
 
cmf
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:02 pm

All who claim airlines will delay passengers on one flight to take care of other passengers are obviously wrong. It doesn't happen. At least that is what several people insistently told me in the PVG delay thread.   
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
shufflemoomin
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:43 pm

I'd forgotten about this, and not an in-flight diversion, but on an SAS flight from CPH-EWR in January 2011, we were delayed for a while at the gate because the EWR flight from ARN (I think) was cancelled so they were flying in those passengers to join our flight. My point is that although this happened in flight, it's irrelevant. Delays of any kind can happen at any time and the general point of a delay is that it's unexpected. Anything hugely important shouldn't be left to fate in hoping that things run smoothly.
 
Markam
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:00 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
Don't think you're using the word "elasticity" correctly here.

Keeping it simple, "elasticity" in economics refers to the ratio of the percentage change in one variable with respect to the percentage change in another (it is not exactly so, as this is only an approximation, but in the limit as the change in the reference variable becomes infinitesimal the approximation is exact, and it is much easier to think of it in this terms). Then, for example, the price elasticity of demand refers to the percentage change in demand with respect to an infinitesimal change in price. This is a standard concept, but again, "elasticity" can refer to the relationship between any two variables, so with "high elasticity of price with respect to time reliability" I referred to the percentage change in price that would be caused by (the measures needed to obtain) an infinitesimal change in time reliability. You can argue that the use is non-standard, or that I should have been more specific, but definitely a "correct" use of the word.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
What there certainly is in this business is high price elasticity of demand.


Again, to keep things simple, I understand what you mean and will say that you are correct, demand for air travel is considered to be very price elastic, but mind that elasticity varies along the curve, so unless demand is thought of as linear, it will vary. This is important because as equilibrium price changes, so will the price elasticity of demand. So saying that there is "high price elasticity of demand" works for a dicussion like this in which the use of economics is just for support purposes, but such a claim is really something vague, as the elasticity will vary along the demand curve. Moreover, there is not a single elasticity, as there is not a single market for air travel, and therefore not a single demand or supply curve, so the price elasticity of demand may be higher in some markets than in others, etc. Thing are even more complicated since the fact that airlines offer connections makes it possible for the same seat to be sold in different markets, etc., but I will stop here.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
As proven by the overall traffic increases following deregulation, and the dramatic reductions in travel that occur when prices rise, both on the business travel side (alternative goods) and the leisure travel side.

No, as proven by rigorous studies which take into account the very complex relationship between the two variables (price and demand), taking into account factors like reverse causality and others, and using econometric techniques that allow to isolate the causal effect of price on demand, and therefore the "true" elasticity. Again, your example is ok for anecdotical purposes, to support the discussion in this forum, but mind that measuring elasticities (of any kind) is generally far from simple.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
Few are captive to air travel, which all the people forget who think that everything would be wonderful again if we would just let monopolistic prices reign again.

In order to answer this question you need to look at cross-price elasticity of demand, not at price elasticity of demand. This is, you need to find out what is the effect of the increase in the price of air travel, in the demand for other means of transportation. For example, some people may not travel at all if the price of air travel is high, and in that case they would be considered as "captive" to air travel, and you would only detect this by looking at the cross-price elasticity of demand for other means of transportation for the same market.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
Travel time reliability increases have negligible effects on a given airline's traffic, as evidenced by the fact that the best-performing airlines in that metric don't have a disproportionate share of the market. Only when it really, really sucks, and everyone knows it, does it peel off a bit of traffic, but most FF members just stay behind and bitch.

Anyone who has taken one lecture in econometrics will tell you that correlation, my friend, does not imply causality. The fact that you mention may well be so, but it doesn't mean that punctuality doesn't matter, its effect may be masked by many others, and you will not be able to tell it apart just by pure anecdotical observation. In any case, here it would be more relevant to look at the effect of punctuality (perceived, since there may be informational considerations) in the overall demand for air travel, and the elasticity of substitution between airlines, neither of which are, again, not even remotely as trivial to infer as you suggest.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
The market as to choice of a particular carrier is highly-distorted, particularly with regard to business and frequent travellers, because of frequent flyer programs and contracts between employer and carrier that require a commitment to a certain airline on a certain route. Travel time reliability barely moves the needle here.

Again, this has more to do with elasticity of substitution between airlines than with price elasticities, but yes, frequent flyer programs, product differentiation, etc., create heterogenous and therefore not perfectly substitutable products, giving airlines market power. This makes the air travel markets (and many others) not perfectly competitive, which has many implications in the discussion of whether regulation, if any, is advisable.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
The babyish things being proposed here -- crews that sit around waiting to go rescue stranded travelers and aircraft with lighter utilization and such -- I'm here to tell you they ain't gonna happen. It's a huge expense in a business driven by the savings of pennies, and there is no meaningful way to recover those costs.

I will not go into the methods proposed, and I agree that it will not happen if the status quo does not change, but I can guarantee you that if airlines were made more responsible for delays, punctuality would go up, as airlines would take into account that delays would be even more costly for them, as they would have to compensate passengers unless the delay was clearly not their fault (say, weather).

Would this increase the price? Well, maybe, but mind that if as you yourself have claimed, the demand for air travel is so price elastic, it would be difficult to increase price for the same product, as demand would go dramatically down. This is, when price elasticity of demand is high, it is the suppliers, in this case, the airline, who has to bear most of the cost, not the consumer. So airline profits would maybe take a hit, but the consumer would not necessarily have to pay more, and in any case they would be paying for a higher-quality product.

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 36):
apology accepted.

Which apology? In my first post I tried to make you understand that "the market" is way more complicated that you seemed to think, and that the cheapest air travel is not necessarily the most efficient, and since you didn't seem to understand, I have elaborated a bit more on this second one. I will not go further because it is not my role to lecture you in economics (at least not for free), but I hope that you have understood that you cannot tell the intricate mechanisms of air travel apart by mere anecdotical observation of correlations, and that tolerance with inpunctuality by airlines is more the result of historical developments and lobbying than of economic thought, and that a more even distribution of the burden of the $hit that happens everyday in air travel would not necessarily translate into higher prices, and, as far as we can tell, may decrease delays by making airlines more aware of their cost for the consumer.

I certainly do not expect you to apologise, but a "thank you" would indeed be nice...  
 
Markam
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:16 pm

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 40):
In the USA, ALL the majors have an average punctuality of 75%-82%. I'm pretty sure that down in Chile, LAN is close to that as well. When one considers that the majority of delayed flights are caused by weather and ATC problems, the airlines have generally done a good job in most situations. If I may ask, what level of on-time performance would meet your expectations?

You are certainly very welcome to ask:

1) I would make airlines 100% responsible for any delays on their side caused by anything else than "force majeure" and "act of god" delays, i.e. anything that is not a natural, outside of human control, or third party event, as it is standard practice for other industries such as insurance. The passengers are 100% responsible for any delays of their own in these cases, for example if they do not arrive on time at the airport, so I really don't see why it cannot be the same for airlines, let everyone take responsibility for their delays.

2) As for "force majeure" and "act of god" delays, I would salomonically make the airlines and the passengers share the cost, which keeping things simple would translate into the airline providing transportation as soon as it is feasible, i.e. I would leave things more or less as they are now in this second case.

With this any technical delays, aircraft of crew scheduling problems, etc. would be the full responsibility of the airline, and I would expect the airline to refund the ticket and/or offer compensation to the passenger, depending on the lenght of the delay, just a passenger should expect to pay for another ticket if they arrive late to the airport. Also, to avoid the airlines claiming "force majeure" or "act of god" in any single delay case, I would put the proof burden on the airlines, i.e. the airline should expect to refund and/or compensate the passenger in the event of a delay, unless it can prove that the delay was due to "force majeure" or an "act of god".
 
Markam
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:29 pm

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 39):
Aviation is indeed an exceptional industry. Some of the challenges airlines face on a daily basis would leave some of their counterparts working in other industries in tears.

So they say, but again, I really do not think that the logistics involving, say, express air freight, are less challenging, and express air freight companies are expected to deliver on time and to compensate if they do not fulfill their promises. Also, punctuality is not everything, nor are the physical challenges. For example, insurance companies are expected to pay, unless it is a case of "force majeure" or an "act of god", and I do not find the calculation of insurance premiums, which involve many forecasted probabilities, any easier than devising the schedules for an airline. The same could be said for supply chain logistics at most firms of some size, etc., so I really cannot see the exceptionalism claimed by the airlines.

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 39):
Most of these controversial decisions that I've ever witnessed are made with a very high degree of professionalism - not indifference. These events are very frustrating for all involved to be sure, but in the long run a safe transportation system is more important then a few missed meetings.

I am sure that decisions are made in a very professional way, I have never doubted that. However, if airlines are not responsible for delays, even if they are not "force majeaure" or "act of god" related, and they do not need to refund or compensate passengers in those cases, they will not make avoiding them such a high priority. Incentives matter, and they matter a lot.

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 39):
One example I remember from my own career(very similar to the OP's) was back in the days when AA flew TUL-STL. That particular day the fleet was running very short of available aircraft due to a few weather events in the northeast. At TUL, a fully loaded MD-80 was about to depart for STL with 140 passengers (100%) on board. Meanwhile, a 763 with a light load(80 booked of 225 seats) had been subbed on DFW-STL to make up for a 757 delayed back east.

While that particular 763 was preparing to depart for STL, the MD-80 was taken out of service due to excessive leakage from the forward lavatory. Due to the aircraft shortage that day, the flight was at risk to be canceled. However it was decided to to route the 763 DFW-TUL-STL and pick up those 140 passengers. So that aircraft ground interrupted back to the gate so the pilot could could pull the new flight plan. Needless to say, the 80 passengers going to St. Louis found this to be a major inconvenience, but in the end it was the right decision.

Good for them, but since arguably a leaking forward lavatory was not the fault of the STL or the TUL passengers, nor "force majeure" or an "act of god", in this case I would expect Delta to be held liable and compensate all passengers for their delays. Also, my way I bet you that next time Delta would be way more careful with lavatories when inspecting the plane.
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:21 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 21):
Sigh. From Delta's Contract of Carriage, IGR Rule 80, "Revised Routings Failure to Carry and Missed Connections":

"Delta will exercise reasonable efforts to carry passengers and their baggage according to Delta's published schedules and the schedule reflected on the passenger's ticket, but published schedules, flight times, aircraft type, seat assignments, and similar details reflected in the ticket or Delta's published schedules are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract. Delta may substitute alternative carriers or aircraft, delay or cancel flights, change seat assignments, and alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket at any time. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Except as stated in this rule or Rule 55, Delta will have no liability for making connections, failing to operate any flight according to schedule, changing the schedule for any flight, changing seat assignments or aircraft types, or revising the routings by which Delta carries the passenger from the ticketed origin to destination."

Sigh. You read that and think it sounds reasonable and fair? You may like bending over again and again and then thanking them for the privilege, but I sure don't.

The terms in that Contract of Carriage wouldn't last more than a week in any other industry. Airlines are the only companie who are allowed to blatantly say "we don't give a shit what we advertised or what you paid for - sit down and quit bitching." It's obviously ridiculous to those with common sense, but not to some blind apologists around here.

Quoting bos2laf (Reply 17):
Well, guess what? In the words of Forrest Gump, "$hit happens."

It's great when things go according to plan and you get off your plane and hop a cab to whatever business engagement you have planned, but if you have the luxury of building some time into your schedule and fail to do so, you really have no right to complain when things go wrong.

Planes break.
ATC computers break.
Airline computers break.
Weather happens.
Runway construction happens.
Birdstrikes happen.
TSA lines get backed up.
Terminal evacuations happen.

There are tons of what-ifs that cannot be reasonably predicted, so if you have extra time to take an earlier flight but voluntarily take a later flight leaving you minutes to get off the plane and into a cab and off to your business meeting, its nobody's fault but your own for not planning cautiously.

I get that not everyone has the luxury of building a fudge factor into their schedules, but my initial statement still applies, $hit happens.

Wonderful list, but none of those instances are what happened here. Of course weather or unforeseen mechanical problems can delay a flight, and then the passenger really doesn't have a reason to complain. But that's not this debate. This was a case of an airline changing the itinerary without notice to serve their own purposes. Nothing about this was a "what-if." She has absolutely every right to complain.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:33 pm

Hey, USAIRWAYS. First of all, thanks for the personal attack. Thought that wasn't permitted around here.

But anyway, here's the point: That's the contract. It also protects against activities that airline has to take for Safety reasons as well. You want an airline that guarantees or takes responsibility for those things, such a thing could certainly exist, and if the market could support it, it very well might exist. However, the reason the market doesn't deliver it is that you could never run the business profitably if you didn't have a contract provision like this. (And high-service airlines that don't even go that far have all failed.)

So let's not talk about "common sense", unless you really like to lead with your chin.
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:39 pm

Quoting wjcandee (Reply 47):
Hey, USAIRWAYS. First of all, thanks for the personal attack. Thought that wasn't permitted around here.

There was no personal attack, come on.

What I said, and I stand by, is that it's beyond absurd for airlines to be able to wipe their hands clean of every single aspect of the service they advertise and charge for, without any justifiable reason. That's clear common sense.
 
bellancacf
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RE: Inflight "diversion"...to Pick Up Passengers!

Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:38 am

I like to remember that the stranded people who were picked up also had paid for their tickets and had places to get to. They were, in other words, passengers, just like the people in the diverted plane, and presumably they had become passengers before the ones in the plane that picked them up.

There is a certain calculus involved, I imagine, one that tries to maximize overall welfare, even at the cost of spreading inconvenience around among more people.

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