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jamesontheroad
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:28 am

schernov wrote:
Is bag check at the gate and getting them back inside a jetway a thing outside of US? Aka valet check on small regional planes? I have not seen it


It happens in the EU as well. SAS, for example, outsource a lot of regional flying to XFly (Estonia) and CityJet (Ireland) on their ATR and CRJ900. For these flights, with smaller overhead bins, gate agents can issue tags and passengers can leave the bag beside the steps for retrieval immediately after arrival.

The very particular labour agreements relating to the capacity of regional jets in the US aren’t mirrored in the EU, so a much smaller proportion of regional flying in Europe is on small regional jets.
 
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Jamake1
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:54 am

Avgeek21 wrote:
Are those block hours or duty hours? Block hours of 90+ would be insane tbh. Especially without those above mentioned protections.


Those are block hours. If you're a single F/A and you reside in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C., you're not going to make it just flying your line. Many of my flying peers fly at least 90-120hrs per/mo.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:22 am

767Forever wrote:
In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening


I had 6 WN flights do rolling T-O last month on my flights. Yes they do that on quite a few flights. Depends on time of day & number of arrival/departures going on. It probably does not happen much at JFK, ATL, MIA, ORD, DFW, LAX, SFO and a few others due to traffic loads all day.
 
jethawk
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:25 am

usflyer msp wrote:
B727skyguy wrote:
santi319 wrote:
I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Seven years ago, Frontier (F9) outsourced all of their ground handling functions, including their home base of DEN. They outsourced all of their res functions as well.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/todayint ... /21903721/

NW outsourced all except 40 of its largest stations in the mid-2000s.


To me, the way US carriers outsource is strange.
Normally, when carriers use third party handling it is to lower costs by leveraging staff across several contracts. In the US, carriers will outsource but then those outsourced employees will only work one contract so it is essentially the same as insourced employees just with lower pay and no union. Sometimes the outsourced workers are unionized so I don't see the savings there and sometimes the mainline ground staff are non-union (like DL) so I don't see the savings there either.



Yet Delta employees are some of the highest compensated in the airline industry. With the exception of the pilot unions; little positive can be said about organizations representing ramp, passenger service and flight attendant groups in the USA. Tough to support the case for a union shop who can’t deliver a contract and still wants your money.
 
JRadier
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:05 am

Two things come to mind:
-Scheduling by minute which seems to be done in the US only, where a departure time of 13:29 can be perfectly normal. In Europe I've never seen this, timings are always rounded to 5 minute increments. In my slot management history I haven't come across anything why 1 minute increments wouldn't be possible in Europe, I've just never seen it happen.
-Kangaroo belts for infants is a very interesting one, regulatory completely opposite. Kangaroo belts are seatbelts for infants which are linked to the seatbelt of a parent:
Image
  • In the US kangaroo belts are forbidden. Reasoning behind is that in case of a crash an adult passenger will fold double, crushing the infant. As I understand it the regulator deems it safer that the infant can move away from the adult, which would be impeded by a kangaroo belt.
  • In the EU kangaroo belts are mandatory. The reason for it is to keep the infant safely in place during turbulence, hard landings, etc.
In my personal opinion the EU logic makes more sense as there are many more instances of heavy and sudden movements (i.e. turbulence), however there is logic to the US position.

SteelChair wrote:
By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

[...]

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. [...]

I'm not completely understanding your case. We both very much agree with the value of dispatchers following a flight. This is clearly shown in your Africa example, no question about it. There is significant value in an extra pair of eyes, and all EU operators I have worked with have this in place.

However, you state (last sentence of quote) that positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. I interpret this that you mean that the joint responsibility being the main driver for this difference. I have difficulty understanding why this is. The two cases you state (BA & Hapag-Lloyd) were both in touch with the dispatchers according to wiki. That means that the joint responsibility would have made a significant difference, which you also claim in the last sentence in my quote. I see no substantiation for that. What makes you say that the joint responsibility is shown to be a big driver in safety vs a 'regular' flight dispatcher?
 
slowrambler
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:13 am

Tinek wrote:
Reservations/call centers: This isn't true for all European airlines, but at a glance, BA, SK, KL (all of which I'd consider pretty large EU carriers) don't operate 24 hour call centers, while all the US airlines (even NK!) do, by default. I'm a little surprised that with a global operation across time zones, the EU carriers can get away without having res agents available 24/7. I've definitely had my fair share of phone calls morning time in Europe trying to rebook a delayed/canceled flight with an agent from a US airline who's working in the US at 2 am his/her time.

Again, not fully true. Yes, some airlines do have their 'local' call centre open only during specific hours, but generally there is always at least one open. Just a matter of organisation. When your local, let's say, Swedish Call Centre is closed, you may call the US one, or the Japanese one and go with english. Easy.


It's beyond ridiculous to have to figure out time zones to find a country in which the call center will be open and then pay for an international call (which could last for an hour if the call volumes are high on the other end, as happened to me recently with BA). These days there is no excuse for airlines to not connect local numbers to a global call center outside of local staffing hours; even Ethiopian Airlines does better on this than the Euro majors.
 
Pontiac
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:50 pm

bennett123 wrote:
Pontiac wrote:
Pi7472000 wrote:
I was holding a small, light jacket in my lap while sitting in the exit row on BA and was told very sternly that it must go up or I need to wear it...


I was on a IB flight 2 days ago LIS to MAD; the spiel for us exit rows was more detailed than a US flight but nothing about banning items under the seat?


Were you in an exit row?.


Yes. Paid a bit extra for it.
 
Heinkel
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:39 pm

Many laws, rules and regulations are different in Europe compared with the USA.

What is perfectly legal, if not mandatory, in the USA, can be the fastest way to jail in Europe. And vice versa.

Examples: Drinking a beer in the public is perfectly legal in Germany from the age of 16. At the age if 14, if accompanied by a parent. Beer is food. So Lufthansa serves beer to 16 year olds. Don't try that in the USA.

On the other hand, bearing a loaded gun in public is perfectly legal in several states of the USA. Don't try that in Europe.

Or overrun-brakes on trailers. Mandatory in Europe, fobidden in the USA. Electric trailer brakes - Mandatory in the USA, forbidden in Europe.

The laws and regulations in one region are not worse or better than in the other region, they are just different. So when in the USA, do what the Americans do and when in Europe, do what the Europeans do.

And many operating practices follow just the local laws and regulations.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:16 pm

767Forever wrote:
In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening

It has happened. Here's one from back in 2010 out of ORD. You can see both the Delta DC-9 and the United 757-200 rolling without stopping. In fact, the United 757 started applying thrust before turning onto the runway.

https://youtu.be/6QqEQhMKGeI?t=321

Southwest 737-800 doing the same thing out of ATL.

https://youtu.be/KHytVACs1xs?t=624

I guess this sort of counts since the plane didn't actually stop, but Delta 757-200 rolling at ATL.

https://youtu.be/Xc4LbrjP2Vo?t=780
rbavfan wrote:
767Forever wrote:
In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening

I had 6 WN flights do rolling T-O last month on my flights. Yes they do that on quite a few flights. Depends on time of day & number of arrival/departures going on. It probably does not happen much at JFK, ATL, MIA, ORD, DFW, LAX, SFO and a few others due to traffic loads all day.

It could, the above videos were at ORD and ATL. Here's one from JFK.

https://youtu.be/lLqCfaYhXSQ?t=47
 
MLIAA
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:22 pm

santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


There are a TON of exceptions to this.

Legacy airlines in the US have their own above wing agents at US airports (Including AA with PT and MQ agents, Alaska/Horizon), but internationally tend to outsource ticket and gate agents. Below wing is similar, the legacies typically do their ground handling in the US or Envoy/Piedmont/UGE will do it in the states, but outside of that they will outsource. I’ll include WN with this, they keep nearly everything in house.

LCCs in the US tend to outsource a lot more, particularly F9.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:25 pm

A lot of busy US airports move “lot of tin”. It very common to “line up and wait” while traffic vacating is still on the runway and there’s one on final, hence entering the runway and stopping. Less traffic in European airports in my experience.
 
factsonly
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:50 pm

Jamake1 wrote:
questions wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month.


Is this true? What is generally min and max?


This is absolutely true. At my airline there are some F/A's who fly a west coast turn from their east coast base 6 x week (think NYC-LAX-NYC or NYC-SFO-NYC several days in a row). They average 225 hrs per month. Unlike the EU, the FAA has no limits on how many hours a F/A can fly per month (one does have to have 24 hrs free of duty in a 7-day period, but the rest can occur on a layover of at least 24 hours). I believe in the EU, F/A's can only fly a maximum of 900 flight hours per year. There are also EU limits as to how many times a F/A can work a long haul polar route during the year. This is due to the possible effects of radiation exposure. No such regulation exits in the U.S. So U.S. F/A's have the potential to maximize earnings and can earn up to $200,000+ per year, but to the detriment of one's health, life balance, and well-being.

As to your other question; F/A flying schedules at my airline are typically built between 70 & 80 hours per month. From there we can pick up trips from other F/A's or from "open flying" which are un-crewed trips. My body is a good compass and let's me know when I'm out of balance, so for me, 90-100 hours per month of flying is a good benchmark in terms of flying maximum.


BIG difference between F/A pay systems in USA/Europe, not yet reported !

- USA = the F/A's are paid per Flight Hour or Block Hour, hence the need/ability to fly lots of hours per month, to gain lots of pay.
- Europe = many F/A's are on fixed monthly wages (just like any other employee), regardless of hours flown.
 
bennett123
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:50 pm

Heinkel wrote:
Many laws, rules and regulations are different in Europe compared with the USA.

What is perfectly legal, if not mandatory, in the USA, can be the fastest way to jail in Europe. And vice versa.

Examples: Drinking a beer in the public is perfectly legal in Germany from the age of 16. At the age if 14, if accompanied by a parent. Beer is food. So Lufthansa serves beer to 16 year olds. Don't try that in the USA.

On the other hand, bearing a loaded gun in public is perfectly legal in several states of the USA. Don't try that in Europe.

Or overrun-brakes on trailers. Mandatory in Europe, fobidden in the USA. Electric trailer brakes - Mandatory in the USA, forbidden in Europe.

The laws and regulations in one region are not worse or better than in the other region, they are just different. So when in the USA, do what the Americans do and when in Europe, do what the Europeans do.

And many operating practices follow just the local laws and regulations.


The bit about guns is wider than that.

In the UK and probably elsewhere in Europe having a gun, even unloaded is generally a big no no.

There is no 2A and the default is that you do not have the right to bear arms.
 
TravelsUK
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:53 pm

I really enjoy these type of discussions!

European cabin crew seem to stop talking, sit on their hands or place them flat on the legs and take note of what is going on around them during take off, for US crews it seems take off is a great opportunity to play a game on your phone, have a good chat with a colleague or in one case (I couldn't believe my eyes!) put your feet up on the bulkhead and get out the puzzle book!

Off subject slightly, I have never understood why in the US you can have 4+ lanes of traffic yet only one kerb to drop off? I had to fight for my life getting dropped off at PHL recently as the the only option left to me was to get out in the 3rd lane furthest form the kerb. European airports tend to be far more organised, such a LHR T5 two lanes on the ramp to the terminal that then become six lanes with 4 kerb areas for drop off and 2 central lanes for through traffic, a lot more sensible and user friendly IMHO
 
Jshank83
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:56 pm

YIMBY wrote:
In US, fasten seatbelt light is set on during half of the flight, but no one cares if you go to toilet except while landing.

In Europe, it is set only during takeoff, landing and turbulence, and is controlled very strictly.


I was on a southwest flight where someone was in the bathroom when we landed... Obviously not really allowed and I am sure is VERY rare.
 
MSJYOP28Apilot
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 4:51 pm

JRadier wrote:
[*]

SteelChair wrote:
By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

[...]

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. [...]

I'm not completely understanding your case. We both very much agree with the value of dispatchers following a flight. This is clearly shown in your Africa example, no question about it. There is significant value in an extra pair of eyes, and all EU operators I have worked with have this in place.

However, you state (last sentence of quote) that positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. I interpret this that you mean that the joint responsibility being the main driver for this difference. I have difficulty understanding why this is. The two cases you state (BA & Hapag-Lloyd) were both in touch with the dispatchers according to wiki. That means that the joint responsibility would have made a significant difference, which you also claim in the last sentence in my quote. I see no substantiation for that. What makes you say that the joint responsibility is shown to be a big driver in safety vs a 'regular' flight dispatcher?


The best example would be Air France 447. No SIGMETs were sent to the flight. Other airlines deviated around the same weather. No SIGMETs were sent because the pilots did not request it and dispatchers in France do not have a regulatory responsibility to send updated weather in flight. It is only sent by pilot request. When they did get to the area of thunderstorms, the pilots flying had no plan of action and fell apart. Further, nobody with any legal or operational reponsibility received the ECAM ACARS messages sent by the aircraft. If that had been a DAL/AAL/UAL flight, those ECAM ACARS messages would have sent major alarm bells across multiple departments and someone from dispatch would have contacted the crew asking what was going on. Same could be said of the flight monitoring as it took Air France over 2 hours from time it was overdue to start trying to find its own plane. Most airlines with active flight monitoring the dispatcher has a legal responsibility after 30 minutes overdue to start the process of verifying the status of the flight and activitating search and rescue if needed.
 
JonathanRP
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 4:55 pm

TravelsUK wrote:
I really enjoy these type of discussions!

European cabin crew seem to stop talking, sit on their hands or place them flat on the legs and take note of what is going on around them during take off, for US crews it seems take off is a great opportunity to play a game on your phone, have a good chat with a colleague or in one case (I couldn't believe my eyes!) put your feet up on the bulkhead and get out the puzzle book!

Off subject slightly, I have never understood why in the US you can have 4+ lanes of traffic yet only one kerb to drop off? I had to fight for my life getting dropped off at PHL recently as the the only option left to me was to get out in the 3rd lane furthest form the kerb. European airports tend to be far more organised, such a LHR T5 two lanes on the ramp to the terminal that then become six lanes with 4 kerb areas for drop off and 2 central lanes for through traffic, a lot more sensible and user friendly IMHO


I'm crew for a large British airline and we call that the "silent review" where at the critical moments of flight we must disengage from any conversations with Passengers or crew (unless an emergency) - this is when we're about to enter the runway for departure, and when the landing gear comes down for landing. During this time, we are supposed to check our doors (make sure they're definitely in the armed/automatic mode), remind ourselves/be thinking about emergency commands, check the floor is clear for an evacuation and be thinking about our brace positions, we adopt a 'semi-braced' position, so in the event of the captain calling "Brace brace" or there's a sudden emergency, we are already half way there, saving valuable moments in a sudden impact situation.
 
Prost
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:09 pm

Block hours. I used to fly about 135 hours, I also got extremely ill, those days are long gone.
 
floridaflyboy
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:13 pm

JonathanRP wrote:
TravelsUK wrote:
I really enjoy these type of discussions!

European cabin crew seem to stop talking, sit on their hands or place them flat on the legs and take note of what is going on around them during take off, for US crews it seems take off is a great opportunity to play a game on your phone, have a good chat with a colleague or in one case (I couldn't believe my eyes!) put your feet up on the bulkhead and get out the puzzle book!

Off subject slightly, I have never understood why in the US you can have 4+ lanes of traffic yet only one kerb to drop off? I had to fight for my life getting dropped off at PHL recently as the the only option left to me was to get out in the 3rd lane furthest form the kerb. European airports tend to be far more organised, such a LHR T5 two lanes on the ramp to the terminal that then become six lanes with 4 kerb areas for drop off and 2 central lanes for through traffic, a lot more sensible and user friendly IMHO


I'm crew for a large British airline and we call that the "silent review" where at the critical moments of flight we must disengage from any conversations with Passengers or crew (unless an emergency) - this is when we're about to enter the runway for departure, and when the landing gear comes down for landing. During this time, we are supposed to check our doors (make sure they're definitely in the armed/automatic mode), remind ourselves/be thinking about emergency commands, check the floor is clear for an evacuation and be thinking about our brace positions, we adopt a 'semi-braced' position, so in the event of the captain calling "Brace brace" or there's a sudden emergency, we are already half way there, saving valuable moments in a sudden impact situation.


Silent review and the brace position are a thing in the US as well. They are absolutely required. However, I do have to agree with the previous poster, having worked in inflight for a long time, I see a lot more disregard for it on US airlines than I do on carriers outside the US. It is always a pet peeve of mine to see the FA playing on their phone, etc. during critical phases of flight. In fact, just a month ago, I was on an AA flight where the FA had a beverage cart open, a drawer pulled a quarter of the way out and her iPad propped up on it so she could watch a movie during takeoff. It's just a few bad apples, most are good. But it certainly happens.
 
EMB170
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:22 pm

YIMBY wrote:
In US, fasten seatbelt light is set on during half of the flight, but no one cares if you go to toilet except while landing.

In Europe, it is set only during takeoff, landing and turbulence, and is controlled very strictly.


This! It's been my experience, whether long-haul or short, that US airlines will generally keep the seatbelt sign switched on until AT LEAST cruising altitude, if they even switch it off at all. Sometimes it's never switched off, even if the flight is 100% smooth, like on a recent KOA-LAX trip. EU airlines, on the other hand, switch it off almost immediately once the aircraft passes through FL100...and then will leave it off as long as possible (as it is pretty strictly enforced if it does come on again).

Also, (at least until recently), I've noticed that, during the safety briefings, US airlines didn't talk about asking cabin crew to help with a lost cell phone in the seat, while foreign airlines have done this for many, many years.
 
Breathe
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:20 pm

"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.
 
bennett123
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 7:24 pm

EMB170 wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
In US, fasten seatbelt light is set on during half of the flight, but no one cares if you go to toilet except while landing.

In Europe, it is set only during takeoff, landing and turbulence, and is controlled very strictly.


This! It's been my experience, whether long-haul or short, that US airlines will generally keep the seatbelt sign switched on until AT LEAST cruising altitude, if they even switch it off at all. Sometimes it's never switched off, even if the flight is 100% smooth, like on a recent KOA-LAX trip. EU airlines, on the other hand, switch it off almost immediately once the aircraft passes through FL100...and then will leave it off as long as possible (as it is pretty strictly enforced if it does come on again).

Also, (at least until recently), I've noticed that, during the safety briefings, US airlines didn't talk about asking cabin crew to help with a lost cell phone in the seat, while foreign airlines have done this for many, many years.


I tend to prefer the 'European' alternative on both.

Turn off the seat belt sign early, but if needed enforce it.

On the other issue, bit worrying if US passengers are trying to retrieve phones, which could be s fire hazard.
 
Heinkel
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:03 pm

Breathe wrote:
"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.


You are absolutely right but from what I've learned here, there are also huge differences between the laws and regulations in different US states.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:39 pm

Heinkel wrote:
Breathe wrote:
"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.


You are absolutely right but from what I've learned here, there are also huge differences between the laws and regulations in different US states.


Passenger air service is Federally regulated in the U.S. Other than some crew labor laws there is no state regulation - and hasn't been since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
 
Vicenza
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:11 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Heinkel wrote:
Breathe wrote:
"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.


You are absolutely right but from what I've learned here, there are also huge differences between the laws and regulations in different US states.


Passenger air service is Federally regulated in the U.S. Other than some crew labor laws there is no state regulation - and hasn't been since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.


Air service in the EU is very heavily regulated and administered by EU law and applies to all countries in the European Union. Indeed, it is recognised as something of a gold-standard and additionally implemented by other non-EU jurisdictions. I think the member was primarily meaning that there are very many US laws in everyday life which vary from state to state.
 
Max Q
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:30 am

One thing that is extremely obnoxious and intrusive when traveling through US airports are the endless, loud and repetitive inane PA announcements


Other countries airports seem like an oasis of calm by contrast
 
gwrudolph
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:45 am

Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


US flight crews fall asleep in their jump seats? I have never, ever seen a crew member sleep in a jump seat. I think doing so would violate most airline policies if not FAA rules
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:34 am

Max Q wrote:
One thing that is extremely obnoxious and intrusive when traveling through US airports are the endless, loud and repetitive inane PA announcements


Other countries airports seem like an oasis of calm by contrast


Absolutely true, if I get welcomed to ATL by the mayor one more time, I going thru DTW or MSP even going to Florida. I’m not going to ATL, your honor, I’m connecting and I don’t care about your city.
 
Max Q
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:37 am

We had at least one ‘homeless’ flight attendant, she arranged to fly almost every day of the month and used to always have three suitcases with her, as long as she was on a trip she had a hotel room paid for
 
dcajet
Posts: 6234
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 3:56 am

gwrudolph wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


US flight crews fall asleep in their jump seats? I have never, ever seen a crew member sleep in a jump seat. I think doing so would violate most airline policies if not FAA rules


You are correct. Sleeping while sitting on a jumpseat is a big no-no under US regulations, even if you are not a crew member assigned to the flight yet jumpseating it. That is why when traveling on staff travel passes as a crew member you always hope you get a regular seat... so you can sleep!
 
Pontiac
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:56 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:53 am

bennett123 wrote:
On the other issue, bit worrying if US passengers are trying to retrieve phones, which could be s fire hazard.


One of the items on my flight checklist as a passenger is a compact LED flashlight; handy to find stuff dropped and may really be handy in an emergency.
 
Pinto
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:30 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:35 am

eta unknown wrote:
I guarantee you the UA crew upon arrival in SYD will be waiting at the baggage carousel for their luggage like everybody else (although these will be the first bags down the chute). And when you depart the check-in staff will be outsourced (sometimes they wear the airline's uniform, but usually not- it's the airline's decision).
As for reservations call centers, yes most European airlines have these operating 24/7.


United allows their crew to bring bag onbiard in the cabin. There are storage areas for crew bags so they don't have to wait for checked luggage .
 
FlyingHonu001
Posts: 756
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:07 am

Pontiac wrote:
bennett123 wrote:
On the other issue, bit worrying if US passengers are trying to retrieve phones, which could be s fire hazard.


One of the items on my flight checklist as a passenger is a compact LED flashlight; handy to find stuff dropped and may really be handy in an emergency.


Some airlines even discourage it trying to find your phone if it fell between seats. At KL for example cabin/ tech crew are able to take the direct aisle J seat cushion apart in a heartbeat or put it in lie flat mode manually if needed. Causr there were instances where passengers are known to permanently destroy their seats while trying to find their phone... :boggled:
 
Jomar777
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:47 am

MSJYOP28Apilot wrote:
JRadier wrote:
[*]

SteelChair wrote:
By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

[...]

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. [...]

I'm not completely understanding your case. We both very much agree with the value of dispatchers following a flight. This is clearly shown in your Africa example, no question about it. There is significant value in an extra pair of eyes, and all EU operators I have worked with have this in place.

However, you state (last sentence of quote) that positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. I interpret this that you mean that the joint responsibility being the main driver for this difference. I have difficulty understanding why this is. The two cases you state (BA & Hapag-Lloyd) were both in touch with the dispatchers according to wiki. That means that the joint responsibility would have made a significant difference, which you also claim in the last sentence in my quote. I see no substantiation for that. What makes you say that the joint responsibility is shown to be a big driver in safety vs a 'regular' flight dispatcher?


The best example would be Air France 447. No SIGMETs were sent to the flight. Other airlines deviated around the same weather. No SIGMETs were sent because the pilots did not request it and dispatchers in France do not have a regulatory responsibility to send updated weather in flight. It is only sent by pilot request. When they did get to the area of thunderstorms, the pilots flying had no plan of action and fell apart. Further, nobody with any legal or operational reponsibility received the ECAM ACARS messages sent by the aircraft. If that had been a DAL/AAL/UAL flight, those ECAM ACARS messages would have sent major alarm bells across multiple departments and someone from dispatch would have contacted the crew asking what was going on. Same could be said of the flight monitoring as it took Air France over 2 hours from time it was overdue to start trying to find its own plane. Most airlines with active flight monitoring the dispatcher has a legal responsibility after 30 minutes overdue to start the process of verifying the status of the flight and activitating search and rescue if needed.


I do agree in regards to SIGMETs but I guess that, given US as a whole has a risk of significant disruptive weather throuout in different regions, it became norm whereas Europe is less prone to those.

Mind you, you need to consider that the main issuf in regards to the AF447 incident was its location. You would not be able to contact the aircraft even if you wanted/haved to once itleft the Brazilian Coast since they were on a black spot. So, even if the ECAM ACARS messages were passed on to other departments, you would only be able to contact the crew once they appear on Daka's Radars - which never happened as we know.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:32 pm

Funny, I’ve received sat comms on weather, flight plan info overwater, even over that area. A dispatcher could have communicated with AF 447 by satellite link. Radar coverage had nothing to do with communication by dispatcher, if there were one.
 
inaforeignsky
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 3:39 pm

I'm a pilot for a major European airline, but have previously flown for a couple of US regionals, a Caribbean airline and another based in Europe.

The US is definitely the exception to the rule globally in terms of how things are done. Some, such as ATC having full WX radar coverage and giving Precip warnings etc are superb, others not so much.

I would say that aviation in Europe is much more measured and considered. In the US it was always a case of rushing between flights, rushing to get airborne, ATC speaking at 1000 miles an hour and giving questionable clearances. In Europe I find that pace and clarity of the operation are much more important. The word I would use for European operations (my experience is with Western European Airlines) is 'rigor'. In the US the operation was always just about good enough, in Europe it is much more about a continued high standard. This does mean that sometimes the European operation can be a little more myopic and redundant.

Having worked in the US for 10 years I didn't even realise just how exhausted, stressed and unhealthy I was. Crew food was non-existent and if provided, extremely unhealthy. Uniform standards were poor, as was general presentation, but that is endemic of what is essentially a mass transit system in the US versus a more refined operation in Europe.

That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to put my family on any US airline, and frequently do, although the lack of extension seat belts for infants totally boggles my mind having had our first child a few years ago.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 5:00 pm

As a US pilot who has flown a good deal of international over 30+ years, I’d agree with a lot of that. I flew USMIL and corporate, not international airline, but even almost 40 years ago, US airline flying was a busy, rushed exercise. I’d come from 5 years of corporate domestic and couldn’t believe how exhausted I was.

OTOH, European flying while more “measured” can be very frustrating to a Yank-slot regulations, APU rules aimed at airlines not private jet ops, delays. I never understood getting a 2-hour slot delay, then depart to nearly empty skies, at least on the radios clearly very quiet. I flew a Global during supposed fuel strike about 6 years ago on France—what a nightmare, something unheard of in the US.
 
Cory6188
Topic Author
Posts: 2766
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 5:08 pm

inaforeignsky wrote:
I'm a pilot for a major European airline, but have previously flown for a couple of US regionals, a Caribbean airline and another based in Europe.

The US is definitely the exception to the rule globally in terms of how things are done. Some, such as ATC having full WX radar coverage and giving Precip warnings etc are superb, others not so much.

I would say that aviation in Europe is much more measured and considered. In the US it was always a case of rushing between flights, rushing to get airborne, ATC speaking at 1000 miles an hour and giving questionable clearances. In Europe I find that pace and clarity of the operation are much more important. The word I would use for European operations (my experience is with Western European Airlines) is 'rigor'. In the US the operation was always just about good enough, in Europe it is much more about a continued high standard. This does mean that sometimes the European operation can be a little more myopic and redundant.

Having worked in the US for 10 years I didn't even realise just how exhausted, stressed and unhealthy I was. Crew food was non-existent and if provided, extremely unhealthy. Uniform standards were poor, as was general presentation, but that is endemic of what is essentially a mass transit system in the US versus a more refined operation in Europe.

That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to put my family on any US airline, and frequently do, although the lack of extension seat belts for infants totally boggles my mind having had our first child a few years ago.


Interesting observations across the board - particularly since you've worked as a pilot on both sides of the Atlantic. I can totally believe that things are more rushed in the US. I might slightly disagree though with the "mass transit" vs. "refined operation" in Europe.

For example, what feels more mass transit?

A few examples:
  • An airline having its own ground staff managing flights, or everything outsourced on the ground, where the first airline employee you talk to is on board? Good luck in case of IRROPs if the ground staff just direct you to call the airline's reservations dept.
  • EU airlines are finally catching up to the US carriers on having on-board wifi for short haul, which the US airlines have had for years.
  • Seatback IFE is commonplace in the US, with DL and B6 featuring PTVs across the board (AA and UA are more of a mixed bag, but getting there, and even WN offers live TV to your device), while it's basically non-existent for flights within Europe.
  • IT for US airlines is lightyears ahead of EU airlines. For example, US airlines give you push notifications for boarding (DL even notifies you when your specific zone is boarding), and many of them have live checked bag tracking, package delivery style, whereas the EU airlines only barely execute this, if at all.
  • AS and DL guarantee your checked bag will get to the belt within 20 minutes - I haven't seen anything remotely resembling that in the EU.

Of course, there are things EU carriers do way better (100% agreed on uniform presentation, and you could probably argue a better level of in-flight service from F/As, too), but I think calling it "mass transit" probably wouldn't be giving the US airlines enough credit.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 6:18 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
schernov wrote:
Is bag check at the gate and getting them back inside a jetway a thing outside of US? Aka valet check on small regional planes? I have not seen it


It’s a “thing” on US regionals, but no where else that I’ve seen. You can gate check your bag in the US for free, but it’ll be at your destination baggage claim. The first because there’s no overhead storage; the second to encourage checking large bags to free up the overheads.


You can gate check a bog free on WN, but others not always. If they charge fees for baggage they are likely to do the same for gate check.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 6:26 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
In the US, remote parking is unheard of for passenger flights. In the rest of the world, it common. I hate getting off the plane via stairs, dash into the bus, ride to the terminal, then find your gate, only to get another bus ride.

I mostly check my bags and never had one damaged; probably half dozen times they didn’t make a connection. I travel with a small carry-on with two days, always worked after I learned my lesson the hard way.


Seems you have never flown into LAX with it's very remote (On west end of airport) remote pads.
 
bourbon
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:35 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 6:50 pm

rbavfan wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
schernov wrote:
Is bag check at the gate and getting them back inside a jetway a thing outside of US? Aka valet check on small regional planes? I have not seen it


It’s a “thing” on US regionals, but no where else that I’ve seen. You can gate check your bag in the US for free, but it’ll be at your destination baggage claim. The first because there’s no overhead storage; the second to encourage checking large bags to free up the overheads.


You can gate check a bog free on WN, but others not always. If they charge fees for baggage they are likely to do the same for gate check.

If the airline runs out of bin space, the gate check is most certainly free as long as the airline doesn’t charge for on board baggage.
 
stratosphere
Posts: 2150
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:45 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 6:55 pm

SteelChair wrote:
To me, operating practices means something very literal: the operation of the airplanes in revenue service.

No system of joint operational control exists in most of Europe. By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. (As an aside, authority cannot be shared, you either have it or you don't. The Captain/PIC always retains final authority. One often sees the words responsibility and authority used interchangeably in this context and that is incorrect.) There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. It is true that many European airlines have someone on the ground performing dispatch-like functions, but they lack regulatory responsibility for their actions. The US FAA Aircraft (not Flight) Dispatcher Certificate and the enumerated responsibilities lend credence to the role. A very brief summation: 1) in the absence of an emergency, the PIC and Dispatcher must agree on the course of action, and 2) no one in the airline operations center can make a dispatcher do something he/she doesn't want to do. The dispatcher is a voice for the crew in the operations center. Many, many questionable ideas and suggestions are headed off by dispatchers. Dispatchers provide another layer of safety in the "swiss cheese" model of safety management.

Some airlines have found that voluntarily introducing a system of positive operational control enhances safety. In the wake of an accident at one European airline, a blue ribbon safety panel found that a lack of a system of operational control was a risk, a gap. As a result, that airline voluntarily chose to introduce a system of operational control, giving folks on the ground true responsibility, and authority for certain actions, for the first time. I believe that another European airline has also introduced such a system. I don't know that any other carriers have done so. The gap manifests itself in many ways, but one has to be educated in the nuances of the business to see them. Negative fuel at ETP on ETOPS flights due to corporate fuel mandates is one example. Another is when you see flights on the North Atlantic tracks (without dispatchers) operating at FL 370 and 390 reporting moderate to severe turbulence while the flight with dispatchers were planned at 310 or 330 (more expensive) and reporting smooth and light. And this example is when meteorological models exist showing the forecast turbulence. The turbulence forecasts were just never looked at by anyone on the ground in the planning phase who was empowered to make decisions based upon them. Decisions in this context meaning more fuel burn/more cost. And pilots can sometimes be "led" in such a way to accept the plan as it exists, even if they did see the turbulence forecast prior to departure. Uploading fuel that late in the game might mean bumping payload or incurring a fueling delay, and keep in mind, "its just a forecast......lets go with the plan." Airline bean counters programming computers to compute fuel requirements either without human intervention or with humans who aren't really well trained and have no true authority is a bad combination in my opinion.

Pilots operating flights without dispatchers are on their own. I had a pilot tell me one time that he flew all night to Africa, sometimes in areas of no radar separation and very limited ATC, and no one was watching his destination weather or alternate weather. No one not on the flight deck was monitoring fuel consumption. He wished for a "second set of eyes," to back up the flight crew. When initially exposed to the idea, some pilots don't like it. It is a big change for some military pilots, some of the tactical/fighter guys in particular seem to see it as a challenge to their authority. But after operating for awhile, they come to see the value. I've never met one who, after operating that way for awhile, didn't ultimately believe that having dispatchers was a better way to operate. Its just one more layer of safety, and in many cases also adds efficiency.

I've often wondered if you asked an airline passenger flying along in the middle of the night at 7 miles a minute and FL350, and getting bumped around by turbulence, if it made them feel safer knowing that a second set of eyes on the ground were watching their flight what they would say. And conversely, what they would say if they knew that no one on the ground with any real regulatory responsibilities was watching their flight. And no, ATC does not and cannot fulfill these requirements, and they don't want to. They don't want to watch alternate weather and compute minima taking into account MELs and NOTAMs. The government doesn't want that responsibility, it rests with the operators. ATC have enough on their plate already in fulfilling their own duties.

Finally, I believe that the Chinese and some of the Middle Eastern carriers (Emirates) have adopted the model of the three legged stool of safety: Pilots, Dispatcher, Controllers.


Where is that 4 leg to hold the chair up? How bout mechanics? Right after pilot error, improper maintenance is the second leading cause of aircraft accidents. The only aircraft accident I can remember that dispatchers were implicated was the 1977 Southern Airways accident.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:43 pm

Heinkel wrote:
Breathe wrote:
"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.


You are absolutely right but from what I've learned here, there are also huge differences between the laws and regulations in different US states.


The airlines follow federal laws in all states. The states have no say in how or what safety regulations are on an aircraft. Not a state jurisdiction.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:49 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Heinkel wrote:
Breathe wrote:
"European" is a bit generic to compare with the USA (a nation state). I imagine that there are differences with operating practices in Belarus compared to Switzerland say.


You are absolutely right but from what I've learned here, there are also huge differences between the laws and regulations in different US states.


Passenger air service is Federally regulated in the U.S. Other than some crew labor laws there is no state regulation - and hasn't been since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.


And technically crew regulations in air are federal law overrules state laws on aircraft. However off the plane the state can make rules based on if the crew is based in the state. Some airlines are avoiding that issue in California by closing crew stations in some California cities. Changing them to fly in and out from non California bases.
 
StarAC17
Posts: 4677
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 11:54 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:53 pm

schernov wrote:

Most US based airlines allow seat changes even after check in up to the point where gate agent takes control. Most nonUS airlines do not allow seat changes after checking in. It is most likely system related...


I have got my seat changed at the gate multiple times with various airlines regardless where I am. At EWR I got my seat changed on TAP. At AMS I have had a seat changed on a DL flight as well. Its actually better to change seats at the gate than at check in because once the gate agent takes over most if not all of the pax have checked in and they know what is available.

767Forever wrote:
In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening


Correct me if I am wrong but usually if the plane stops on the threshold then its being ordered to "get into position and hold" because of a landing aircraft or a crossing aircraft or vehicle. Its common at YYZ that aircraft hold on the threshold because of landing aircraft waiting to exit the runway. Many airports such as LHR, CDG, FRA, LAX and I would assume ORD and ATL don't often have landing aircraft on runways they use for takeoff.

What I see in Europe and have seen in Australia is that planes will take off down the runway especially if the load is light or the plane is smaller. I have seen this at LIS, MUC, ADL and MEL. At MEL it was a UA 744 taking off about a 3rd of the way down runway 34. It was only going to SYD and was empty of pax and obviously fuel. I have never seen this in North America no matter how small the plane is.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
In the US, remote parking is unheard of for passenger flights. In the rest of the world, it common. I hate getting off the plane via stairs, dash into the bus, ride to the terminal, then find your gate, only to get another bus ride.

I mostly check my bags and never had one damaged; probably half dozen times they didn’t make a connection. I travel with a small carry-on with two days, always worked after I learned my lesson the hard way.


schernov wrote:
Yes. Busses suck. Although sometimes there is an advantage as bus drops you off at the right connection point and avoids a long walk. But still. Busses suck.


While at YYZ you won't stop at a stand. If you are flying on WG (I am on Dec 7th) you might be bussed to the infield terminal which has its own gates. The benefit to this is that often you get dropped off right outside the baggage claim or the customs hall so much less walking.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 11765
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:38 pm

inaforeignsky wrote:
I would say that aviation in Europe is much more measured and considered. In the US it was always a case of rushing between flights, rushing to get airborne, ATC speaking at 1000 miles an hour and giving questionable clearances. In Europe I find that pace and clarity of the operation are much more important. The word I would use for European operations (my experience is with Western European Airlines) is 'rigor'. In the US the operation was always just about good enough, in Europe it is much more about a continued high standard. This does mean that sometimes the European operation can be a little more myopic and redundant.

Having worked in the US for 10 years I didn't even realise just how exhausted, stressed and unhealthy I was. Crew food was non-existent and if provided, extremely unhealthy. Uniform standards were poor, as was general presentation, but that is endemic of what is essentially a mass transit system in the US versus a more refined operation in Europe.


Do you have any data to suggest the U.S. is less safe? Rate of hull losses, fatalities per billion RPMs, or such? I don't find any. I do find a statistically significant LOWER rates of hull losses as a five-year avg 2017-2021, per this IATA summary.

https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/2022- ... -03-02-01/

Americans (on average) work more hours per year than people in Europe. Labor economists identified that trend decades ago. (And airlines are among the few private industries in the U.S. that have a relatively high rate of unionization.)

https://clockify.me/working-hours
 
flight152
Posts: 3589
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2000 8:04 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:43 pm

I don’t have time to read all these posts so forgive me if it’s been mentioned-

What about the rate of augmentation of medium haul European flights? It’s my understanding most [European] Transatlantic flights use two pilots versus the vast majority of American operated fights which use 3 pilots which is a huge safety advantage.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15907
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:59 pm

StarAC17 wrote:
What I see in Europe and have seen in Australia is that planes will take off down the runway especially if the load is light or the plane is smaller. I have seen this at LIS, MUC, ADL and MEL. At MEL it was a UA 744 taking off about a 3rd of the way down runway 34. It was only going to SYD and was empty of pax and obviously fuel. I have never seen this in North America no matter how small the plane is.


Intersection departures are pretty common in the United States. Among the busiest airports, both ATL (9L/27R) and ORD (10L/28R) use them extensively.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10313
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:28 pm

rbavfan wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
In the US, remote parking is unheard of for passenger flights. In the rest of the world, it common. I hate getting off the plane via stairs, dash into the bus, ride to the terminal, then find your gate, only to get another bus ride.

I mostly check my bags and never had one damaged; probably half dozen times they didn’t make a connection. I travel with a small carry-on with two days, always worked after I learned my lesson the hard way.


Seems you have never flown into LAX with it's very remote (On west end of airport) remote pads.


well, I’ve flown in/out on AA, DL, QF, never parked there as a passenger, always at a terminal with jet bridges.
 
SteelChair
Posts: 1947
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:10 pm

stratosphere wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
To me, operating practices means something very literal: the operation of the airplanes in revenue service.

No system of joint operational control exists in most of Europe. By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. (As an aside, authority cannot be shared, you either have it or you don't. The Captain/PIC always retains final authority. One often sees the words responsibility and authority used interchangeably in this context and that is incorrect.) There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. It is true that many European airlines have someone on the ground performing dispatch-like functions, but they lack regulatory responsibility for their actions. The US FAA Aircraft (not Flight) Dispatcher Certificate and the enumerated responsibilities lend credence to the role. A very brief summation: 1) in the absence of an emergency, the PIC and Dispatcher must agree on the course of action, and 2) no one in the airline operations center can make a dispatcher do something he/she doesn't want to do. The dispatcher is a voice for the crew in the operations center. Many, many questionable ideas and suggestions are headed off by dispatchers. Dispatchers provide another layer of safety in the "swiss cheese" model of safety management.

Some airlines have found that voluntarily introducing a system of positive operational control enhances safety. In the wake of an accident at one European airline, a blue ribbon safety panel found that a lack of a system of operational control was a risk, a gap. As a result, that airline voluntarily chose to introduce a system of operational control, giving folks on the ground true responsibility, and authority for certain actions, for the first time. I believe that another European airline has also introduced such a system. I don't know that any other carriers have done so. The gap manifests itself in many ways, but one has to be educated in the nuances of the business to see them. Negative fuel at ETP on ETOPS flights due to corporate fuel mandates is one example. Another is when you see flights on the North Atlantic tracks (without dispatchers) operating at FL 370 and 390 reporting moderate to severe turbulence while the flight with dispatchers were planned at 310 or 330 (more expensive) and reporting smooth and light. And this example is when meteorological models exist showing the forecast turbulence. The turbulence forecasts were just never looked at by anyone on the ground in the planning phase who was empowered to make decisions based upon them. Decisions in this context meaning more fuel burn/more cost. And pilots can sometimes be "led" in such a way to accept the plan as it exists, even if they did see the turbulence forecast prior to departure. Uploading fuel that late in the game might mean bumping payload or incurring a fueling delay, and keep in mind, "its just a forecast......lets go with the plan." Airline bean counters programming computers to compute fuel requirements either without human intervention or with humans who aren't really well trained and have no true authority is a bad combination in my opinion.

Pilots operating flights without dispatchers are on their own. I had a pilot tell me one time that he flew all night to Africa, sometimes in areas of no radar separation and very limited ATC, and no one was watching his destination weather or alternate weather. No one not on the flight deck was monitoring fuel consumption. He wished for a "second set of eyes," to back up the flight crew. When initially exposed to the idea, some pilots don't like it. It is a big change for some military pilots, some of the tactical/fighter guys in particular seem to see it as a challenge to their authority. But after operating for awhile, they come to see the value. I've never met one who, after operating that way for awhile, didn't ultimately believe that having dispatchers was a better way to operate. Its just one more layer of safety, and in many cases also adds efficiency.

I've often wondered if you asked an airline passenger flying along in the middle of the night at 7 miles a minute and FL350, and getting bumped around by turbulence, if it made them feel safer knowing that a second set of eyes on the ground were watching their flight what they would say. And conversely, what they would say if they knew that no one on the ground with any real regulatory responsibilities was watching their flight. And no, ATC does not and cannot fulfill these requirements, and they don't want to. They don't want to watch alternate weather and compute minima taking into account MELs and NOTAMs. The government doesn't want that responsibility, it rests with the operators. ATC have enough on their plate already in fulfilling their own duties.

Finally, I believe that the Chinese and some of the Middle Eastern carriers (Emirates) have adopted the model of the three legged stool of safety: Pilots, Dispatcher, Controllers.


Where is that 4 leg to hold the chair up? How bout mechanics? Right after pilot error, improper maintenance is the second leading cause of aircraft accidents. The only aircraft accident I can remember that dispatchers were implicated was the 1977 Southern Airways accident.[/quote

Mechanics are critically important there's no doubt about that

Generally speaking maintenance is not an operational area. By that I mean that when the airplane is in flight mechanics are typically not making decisions about what to do with that flight. Maintenance control may be consulted when a technical problem occurs via cars or radio or satcom or whatever but generally speaking they are very very careful about how they reply because they cannot deviate from the QRH. Maintenance control can request in the scenario of a diversion that an airplane go to a particular city but that is a request that the pilots and the dispatcher have to factor in to many other considerations. Maintenance is typically not trained in many of those considerations i.e. computing weather minima after factoring in deferred items and notams, And also of course perhaps most importantly fuel consumption. So to my mind and, I believe the regulatory structure supports this, maintenance is critically important but is a support function that ends once to log book is handed over


Sorry I did the "quote" wrong

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