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Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:08 pm
by alasizon
jayunited wrote:
On yesterday June 11, at DEN where the system is fully deployed UA's D:0 was 63%, A:14 was 89.4%, completion rate was 100%. For UAX the D:0 number still hasn't been published, but the A:14 was 84.5% and the completion rate was 99.6%.

If you consider a 63% D0 great, then there is a problem. Given the UAX number wasn't published but keeping in line with the A14; it was probably around 60%. A 60-63% D0 in a hub without any WX yesterday isn't something to brag about. Its not terrible but it indicates that there were still a good handful of problems in getting aircraft out on-time.

jayunited wrote:
Again ORD's number which are terrible was caused by the all day ATC ground delay program do high winds. However DEN's numbers which was fully within UA's control are great and this was with over 500 departures and ConnectionSaver being fully deployed. So I would say UA has done their homework and covered all their bases and the over 14,400 connection passengers who would have misconnected over the previous 4 months at DEN alone is proof ConnectionSaver is working.


14k passengers isn't proof at all. That averages out to 120 passengers a day but you have to compare that to the prior metrics. If Feb-May 2018 the old system held for 15k passengers, then that would show ConnectionSaver isn't doing anything any better than before. 120 pax/day also isn't much when you think that most holds are between 5-10 passengers so that would equate to 12-24 (out of 450+) per day which is probably what UA was already holding for.

As mentioned, this is nothing new when it comes to deciding to hold; the only new piece is the customer guidance which will probably improve A14 on short holds.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:08 pm
by blockski
WeatherPilot wrote:
Sounds like this would have a domino effect on their system. Plane holds for late passengers taking up more gate time. Now next arriving flight has to wait for their gate to clear now making that planes' next flight late.


Why would it have a domino effect?

They're not holding every single flight for a potential connection. If holding the flight means a cascading delay elsewhere, then the system won't hold the flight.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:40 pm
by ethernal
As mentioned by others, I think that this is not hugely novel other than trying to notify passengers. All US3 carriers do some degree of calculating the cost of holding versus going although I think in general no carrier truly industrializes it today (more of an exception basis than a "less try to micro-optimize each one using AI").

That said, one thing people are missing here is that schedule padding exists because their are random factors that impact how long it will take to get from Point A to Point B. Some of those factors are:

    * Random variation in pre-flight time (boarding, catering, etc)
    * Taxi time which depends on which runway(s) are use and in which direction
    * Departure queue depth (how many planes ahead for departure)
    * Route pathing from which runway is in use and which direction
    * Strength of the jetstream (tailwinds / headwinds)
    * Weather obstructions in flight (routing around WX)
    * Runways in use and direction of arrival airport impacting path and taxi-time on return

Unfortunately for airline planners, most of this information resolves "day of" or immediately before departure. You can get a best guess or average or confidence interval in advance (e.g., certain times of day have longer runway queue depths, certain runway directions are generally used, jetstream strength varies by season) - which is what is used to calculate optimal block time - but you get dramatically increasing estimate resolution of how long the flight will really take at T-5 days (first reliable resolution on weather), T-1 days (high-resolution weather), and <T-1 hour (expected departure slot depth, runway use, etc).

There will be many instances where the variables line up in favor of the flight - meaning that the flight can depart late and still arrive on time. If that is the case, it makes sense to hold the flights (potential customer satisfaction impact from non-delayed connecting passengers aside) since it has no domino effect - you are just "cashing in" on favorable conditions. Conversely, many times the variables will stack up against them, and the flight will barely (if at all) be on time with a D0 departure. When that happens, I expect United will not hold.

In short, it is an optimization game. There is absolutely no need for delays to increase as a result if they are using better pre-departure (as opposed to estimates when scheduling block times months in advance) data to estimate flight time to make the decision.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:11 pm
by TVNWZ
Here's the rule of thumb:

The airline will hold flights you are not on.
The airline will NOT hold flights you are on.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:15 pm
by ScottB
codc10 wrote:
At the end of the day, it's only "suggested" to the GA and he/she can still close out a flight on time if they choose.


Arguably one good part of this for agents is that presumably the recommendations from the connection saver tool will be incorporated into reporting on D:0 performance; i.e. if the tool recommends holding the flight for 10 minutes, the agent shouldn't get dinged for doing just that.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:42 pm
by speedbird52
Pretty sure this is standard procedure in Europe no?

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:54 pm
by kiowa
janders wrote:
UA finally realized after months of coming up short they will never catch DL on OTP and now have dialed things back to lesson absolute focus on D:0 and instead use reasoned decision making.


“Never catch dl “? Eastern and PanAm had the same attitude at one time. Never is a long time.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:25 pm
by professorpryor
Stitch wrote:
alasizon wrote:
The new piece here is the customer outreach portion that helps guide customers to their connecting gate which is currently the biggest downfall when it comes to holding flights. You plan to hold for 10 minutes but then the customers get lost, wander off course, intentionally delay themselves because the airline is holding, or simply just aren't able to get there in time. That 10 minutes becomes 20 and then the delay starts to roll.


That should hopefully get connecting passengers to their gate faster by showing them they can make it so they should hustle.

A long time ago I had like 4 minutes to make my connection at ORD from - literally - the farthest gate in Terminal 2 to the farthest gate in Terminal 1. I knew rushing was pointless, but I headed for the gate anyway since I figured I'd swing back to the T1 Red Carpet Club and explore my options (heading home to SEA when it was still a major station so I knew I had options via DEN, SFO and LAX). Was surprised to see my 777 (tells you how long ago it was :rotfl: ) still waiting for me some 15 minutes after her scheduled departure time (evidently there were a significant number of mis-connects so they held the plane longer).

If I had known they were holding it for me, I'd have hustled there and knocked at least five minutes off my time so as to win the :goldmedal: instead of the :silvermedal: . :biggrin:[/quote

My understanding is that at ORD they will hold the last flight of the day going to another UA hub.

For instance, back in January, when I had to be wheel-chaired from B19 to E25 - then elevatored down to tarmac level for a CRJ heading to Washington-Dulles, I was pleasantly surprised to find the plane's door still open. I knew it was the last flight of the night, but I thought it was just something they did.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:25 pm
by SkyVoice
So, is this new system of United's going to factor in flights that have wheels-up times, bound for busy airports & major hubs?

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:12 pm
by codc10
SkyVoice wrote:
So, is this new system of United's going to factor in flights that have wheels-up times, bound for busy airports & major hubs?


Yes. UA won’t blow an EDCT to accommodate connecting pax... but this generally means the departure is late, anyway.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:31 pm
by Kilopond
Why is this regarded as a new developemnt? In my experience railway and airline companies used to wait for connecting passengers ever since. If their ongoing schedules had not been threatend by a domino effect, of course.

In the case of United I rember a Heathrow procedure: we passengers from a very late 727 had been greeted by a hostess and than rushed and hurried over the tamrac to a waiting 747. That had been shortly after United inherited the Pan Am hub over there.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:42 am
by AlnessW
What if United flights were simply on-time? Novel idea, I know - but I was on 6-7 x UA domestic flights this last year and 100% of them were delayed at least 30 minutes due to "late inbound aircraft."
What gives?

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:53 am
by LDRA
Does the app UI has a big count down timer?

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 am
by Ziyulu
One time I witnessed a passenger who was upset he didn't get Group 1 boarding because his flight arrived late. When he arrived at the gate, he was furious they already started boarding.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:27 am
by antoniemey
AlnessW wrote:
What if United flights were simply on-time? Novel idea, I know - but I was on 6-7 x UA domestic flights this last year and 100% of them were delayed at least 30 minutes due to "late inbound aircraft."
What gives?


Mostly carryon effect from having major hubs in cities with terrible weather.

EWR is pretty much guaranteed to be on a GDP every afternoon. ORD has terrible thunderstorms at the height of winter and summer. If it RAINS at IAH you can basically kiss any semblance of normal operations goodbye...

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:17 am
by mandargb
Kilopond wrote:
Why is this regarded as a new developemnt? In my experience railway and airline companies used to wait for connecting passengers ever since. If their ongoing schedules had not been threatend by a domino effect, of course.

In the case of United I rember a Heathrow procedure: we passengers from a very late 727 had been greeted by a hostess and than rushed and hurried over the tamrac to a waiting 747. That had been shortly after United inherited the Pan Am hub over there.



I have had similar experience on bunch of other international connections at foreign airports. Some that come to mind: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
In fact @SIN we did not even have bonding passes for connecting Flight and SQ people standing there were ready with boarding passes for TX passengers and rushed us to next gate.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:43 am
by frmrCapCadet
Last time I flew United we landed on time, walked quickly to next gate (only a few hundred feet away) only to watch them close the gate. They were surly, and no one offered to help - except to tell the three of us the 4 hour later flight would be full.(it wasn't) Last time I flew United.

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:45 am
by AlnessW
antoniemey wrote:
Mostly carryon effect from having major hubs in cities with terrible weather.

EWR is pretty much guaranteed to be on a GDP every afternoon. ORD has terrible thunderstorms at the height of winter and summer. If it RAINS at IAH you can basically kiss any semblance of normal operations goodbye...

......incidentally, all of my aforementioned flights were either to/from SFO, ORD, or IAH - or said hub was worked into that flight's schedule. Another time, storms around IAH turned my 7:30 PM flight home (on the other side of the country!) into a 10:30 PM departure - I was livid, especially since I had to work that next morning.

As for holding flights themselves - I was once on the last SFO-PDX flight of the evening (11:00 PM or so), and they opened the door and re-connected the jetbridge so as to allow connecting passengers onboard who's flight was also, uh, delayed. That way they didn't have to wait until morning to make the next departure...

Re: UA Will Now Hold Flights for Connects

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:37 am
by klkla
exunited wrote:
janders wrote:
UA finally realized after months of coming up short they will never catch DL on OTP and now have dialed things back to lesson absolute focus on D:0 and instead use reasoned decision making.


Not bad, only 4 posts before a Delta fanboy shows up. D0 was always a dumb metric to worry about when the flight was scheduled to arrive early anyways and promotes bad will among customers just so a random executive gets their multi million $ bonus for meeting some arbitrary metric.


What I'm surprised about is that it took a United fanboy a full 27 posts to get indignant about a DL fanboy on a UA topic.