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LAXintl
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DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:24 pm

DOT is out with a civil consent order against United Airlines for failure to adhere to tarmac delay contingency plans and accordingly assesses United $1,100,000 in civil penalty.

DOT investigation determined United permitted 13 domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than 3 hours without providing United and United Express passengers an opportunity to deplane at Chicago O'Hare airport in July 2012 effecting 939 customers during period of weather disruptions effecting the airport.

During these delays, United failed to properly implement its extended tarmac delay recovery plan and such plans were inadequate to cover foreseeable situation causing more planes to be on the ground than available gates at a major hub airport.

DOT press release:
http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/uni...%80%99hare-tarmac-delays-july-2012

=
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
slcdeltarumd11
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:56 pm

Good. We should have a right to get off when situations turn extreme. Not be forced like a caged animal sometimes without air flow and in too hot conditions.
 
Mir
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:22 pm

So when the ramp closes for lightning, how exactly are they supposed to get the passengers off the planes? I would think the safety clause would come into play here.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
TW870
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:49 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
So when the ramp closes for lightning, how exactly are they supposed to get the passengers off the planes? I would think the safety clause would come into play here.

The airline has a meteorology department. And the station manager has a computer and can go online and look at the weather channel. When you stampede passengers onto an airplane with a thunderstorm coming across the airport property, you set yourself up for problems. When I was a United flight attendant I had this exact situation multiple times at O'Hare. There would be cells extending out 150 miles to the west of the field and a ground stop already in affect. We knew we could go nowhere. Ops would force us to board anyway. Then ramp would close because of lightning. And then we would sit on a full airplane in 100 degree heat. You could see it coming. The new system with the fines is so, so much better.
 
SonomaFlyer
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:56 pm

If ops was forcing staff to board planes with an active ground stop in effect, active cells in the area and radar showing bad weather for the next couple of hours, the ops staff needs to be fired. Plain stupidity.
 
Indy
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:02 pm

Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 4):
If ops was forcing staff to board planes with an active ground stop in effect, active cells in the area and radar showing bad weather for the next couple of hours, the ops staff needs to be fired. Plain stupidity.

I've never worked in ops so this is just a wild guess... could they have pushed the boarding due to pressure from higher level management? I would think ops would know better than doing this. It just seems like something that gets done under duress.
IND to RDU to OKC in 18 months. This is what my life has become.
 
Mir
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:07 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 5):
I've never worked in ops so this is just a wild guess... could they have pushed the boarding due to pressure from higher level management? I would think ops would know better than doing this. It just seems like something that gets done under duress.

The most likely reason is that they needed to get the plane off the gate so that an arriving flight could get in. It's not great to force those passengers to sit out on the ramp or taxiways either for lack of a gate.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Indy
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:14 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 5):
It's not great to force those passengers to sit out on the ramp or taxiways either for lack of a gate.

And that is what happens when you schedule so tight that you leave absolutely no room for error. It isn't the passengers' problem. That is the problem of the airlines and that is why they have fines in place fortunately. When you allow yourself no room for error you create messes like this.
IND to RDU to OKC in 18 months. This is what my life has become.
 
traindoc
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:31 pm

Flew UA 972, ORD-BRU on 8/31. We boarded on time for a 600 PM departure. And yes, T storms came in and delayed our pushback. After we were in line on the taxi way, the FAA closed the eastbound airspace. Even though we could have departed, going northeast, we were stuck between eastbound planes and had to wait until the airspace re opened. So yes, I was on the plane for over 3 hours, both at the gate and on the taxi way. However, I wanted to get to BRU, and I was glad that we did not return to the gate and either cancel, or be even more late. Most passengers would rather be late than cancelled. So yes, I understand the 3 hour rule, but has it actually improved air travel?
 
Mir
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:09 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 7):
And that is what happens when you schedule so tight that you leave absolutely no room for error. It isn't the passengers' problem. That is the problem of the airlines

The airlines do the scheduling, sure, but passenger demand is a significant component of that. So I wouldn't hold the passengers entirely blameless. People want cheap fares and more frequent departures, but don't really want to pay the extra for the infrastructure that would give sufficient buffer on very bad weather days. That has consequences.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
TW870
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:18 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 8):
So yes, I understand the 3 hour rule, but has it actually improved air travel?

I think it has drastically improved it. Though you might want to get to Brussels, when the airline keeps on pushing into a storm, they run crews out of time and end up with airplanes stuck in places where you don't need them. Before the rule, it would take days for United to recover from snow or thunderstorms. Now there are more preventative cancellations. Yes it sucks if you are on a cancelled flight, but the system ramps up much, much more quickly, getting more people where they need to go.

I used to fly nights on domestic out of ORD in the summer, and as delays mounted we would just keep running out of time night after night after night. Passengers would sit in the gates and in on the airplanes long into the night. Then we would either go and be illegal for the next day, or time out and cancel that night and then strand the airplane at the hub, which would cancel the morning outbound at the spoke. Now the airlines are more likely to delete banks of departures in advance, keep the crews legal, and move the airplanes when the sky clears.
 
Mir
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:23 pm

Quoting TW870 (Reply 10):
Yes it sucks if you are on a cancelled flight, but the system ramps up much, much more quickly, getting more people where they need to go.

Except for the people who get stranded by the cancellations, can't get seats for several days due to fuller flights, and have to pay for all their expenses in the meantime because it's due to weather. They're horribly served by it.

I'd also point out that there was nothing to prevent the airline from doing proactive cancellations before the rule was enacted - they could have achieved the same benefits without government action. They chose not to, which should tell you something about whether they actually benefit from such a strategy.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
jayunited
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:32 pm

Quoting TW870 (Reply 3):
The airline has a meteorology department. And the station manager has a computer and can go online and look at the weather channel. When you stampede passengers onto an airplane with a thunderstorm coming across the airport property, you set yourself up for problems. When I was a United flight attendant I had this exact situation multiple times at O'Hare. There would be cells extending out 150 miles to the west of the field and a ground stop already in affect. We knew we could go nowhere. Ops would force us to board anyway. Then ramp would close because of lightning. And then we would sit on a full airplane in 100 degree heat. You could see it coming. The new system with the fines is so, so much better.

This does happen at times where ops tries to get as many planes out of O'Hare before the storm hits. If the storm is coming in from the southwest ops will try to get as many planes out going north and northeast if the FAA still is allowing traffic going north and east to leave ORD there are 2 reasons for this one is we get the plane out of ORD and second is we need the gates because the FAA is still allowing planes to land at ORD and the gates are needed to get people off arriving planes. Sometimes the system works and we are able to get a lot of planes out before the storm hit the airport however if that plane get stuck behind another flight that is going west or south that east bound airplane may have to wait because he is stuck behind a plane whose flight plan takes it directly towards the storm. I'm not blaming the FAA because they are only doing their job I'm just explaining why ops at times will push to board aircraft when a storm is approaching if the storm is coming in from the west they won't board any westbound flights but they will push to board as many eastbound flights as possible and get them off the gate as quickly as possible with the hope that they will able to get off the ground before the storm hits. Sometimes the plan works but its obvious this day the plan failed and we had a lot of people stuck on aircraft for over 3 hours.
 
ckfred
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:48 pm

One thing that AA has done is the parking system that doesnt require ground crew. The board on the tells the pilot if he is on his lead-in line, as well as to slow down for the stopping point.

Thus, if there is lightning in the area, closing the ramp, aircraft can still park, and the jet bridge can be moved into place.

I know AA has it at ORD and DFW.
 
Jerseyguy
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:20 pm

The title of this thread should read DOT fines United CUSTOMERS - $1.1mil- Tarmac Delay, because thats who ultimately pays for it.
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:27 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 6):
The most likely reason is that they needed to get the plane off the gate so that an arriving flight could get in.

You are exactly right. Being ex-ORD ATC, we would much rather have the departure off the gate waiting somewhere on the airport for the ground stop to be lifted or for an alternate route to be filed. When an arrival lands, it's always better to get them off the taxiways and to a gate (if a gate is available) instead of having the departure block the gate. When the departure can be released, it's better to be away from the gate so they can get airborne much sooner instead of having to wait for a pushback, start engines and then get in line for departure.

If the arrival is in the air, we will accept it until the thunderstorm hits the airport boundary or when it becomes apparent that microburst activity is imminent. We don't divert traffic simply because the airport is congested. We can park traffic all over the airport if necessary so at least they're at ORD and not on the ground in Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis or stuck in a holding pattern burning fuel.

That said, I have no idea how a delay every approached 3 hours. I don't work there anymore but it sounds like things went very 'wrong' in a way I've never witnessed. Most European departures are routed NORTH out of ORD and not east and there are sometimes issues with Canadian airspace saturation during bad weather. If the transcon traffic is being routed north thru Canadian airspace to avoid the weather, they might be at or near their capacity as well. There is only so much available airspace east of the Mississippi River and ORD fills a lions share of it.

If there is only one route open thru a line of weather and MSP departs a load of eastbound departures, ORD traffic might be held on the ground because there is no more room...meanwhile, the MSP traffic is flying....unrestricted. (good for DL and bad for AA/UA)
 
TW870
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:32 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
Except for the people who get stranded by the cancellations, can't get seats for several days due to fuller flights, and have to pay for all their expenses in the meantime because it's due to weather. They're horribly served by it.

As were the people who were stuck at the outstation for the 6am flight during the old system, and the people who sat on the 8pm flight that delayed until midnight - at which point the crew went illegal. The old system was even worse because you had all the illegal crews - plus all the airplanes - stuck at the hub. At the spokes, everyone was legal but you had no airplanes. And some nights in snow we would just keep slugging it out and go illegal at like 5am, at which point you were wiped for the whole next day's operation. We would have no legal reserves for the 5am check-ins the next day. And the passengers totally paid the price. I was in PHL once on night 5 of storms coming through O'Hare. We couldn't rebook people for 5 days afterward. So the rebooking problem is not just a consequence of the new system. The difference I see is that under the new system, passengers don't have to sit at the airport while one rebooked flight after the next cancels. Your new itinerary is usually good under the new system.
 
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ADent
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:48 pm

Quoting Jerseyguy (Reply 14):
The title of this thread should read DOT fines United CUSTOMERS - $1.1mil- Tarmac Delay, because thats who ultimately pays for it.

Does United have the pricing power to raise fares to cover the costs? If not is should be DOT fines United OWNERS (typ shareholders) - $1.1mil.

Maybe UA could add a fine fee so the customers can pay for it. Sprit's is called "Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations Fee" .
 
cmf
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:05 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 9):
The airlines do the scheduling, sure, but passenger demand is a significant component of that. So I wouldn't hold the passengers entirely blameless. People want cheap fares and more frequent departures, but don't really want to pay the extra for the infrastructure that would give sufficient buffer on very bad weather days. That has consequences.

Nothing wrong with customers asking for the moon. The error is the supplier accepting terms they aren't able to deliver.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
ozark1
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:43 pm

You can't have it both ways. Kate Hanni has caused the implementation of this rule, love her or hate her. If I were a pilot and the 3 hour rule expired, I would just tell the tower "Clear me a space, cause i'm comin back!". I guess the thing to do would to be to have a couple of gates that just sat empty all day. They could be used to, other than burn money for the airline, accommodate these airplanes who exceed the limit.
I do think the airlines have learned----a lot---from the unfortunate AA flight that confined Hanni and the rest of the plane for 8 hours down in AUS. Something like this had to happen to force a more strategic plan for those "what if" days. I do think that is why, today, if we have even the slightest buildup in or around DFW, the diversions begin immediately.
I do, however, continue to marvel at the publics' thirst at content that slams the airlines. Like one poster commented, AA has a system here at DFW where, if a plane lands and the ramp closes and lightning is active, the aircraft can still be guided into a gate without any worker being outside. Now that is pro-passenger, anti-delay thinking, yet I've never seen anything written about it.
The industry is indeed fascinating, but it is also greatly misunderstood. The complexity of dealing with problems like this must be mind-boggling. No one seems to fathom anything other than they are negligent---period.
I respect and appreciate the job they all do in getting everyone where they need to be. Are they perfect? Far from it. But I think they do amazingly well considering the circumstances.
 
bennett123
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:48 pm

How much of this problem is down to the airports, or to the FAA?.
 
MSJYOP28Apilot
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:51 pm

People need to realize that station managers, local operations, the meteorology department do not have the authority to cancel flights and have no authority to preemptively delay flights for weather. That is the job for the dispatch department and SOC/OCC/NOC.

Here is the problem with thunderstorms from a dispatch perspective: they are extremely dynamic. They can strengthen and weaken quickly, reform over areas they have just passed, and can occur even when they are not forecast. Often times, meteorologists will forecast a 3-8 hour period where thunderstorms are possible. They will also constantly adjust the timing of weather forward and backwards.

One thing people may not know is that in the summer time with the heating of the day, there is almost always a chance for thunderstorms due to the unstable atmosphere caused by the hot rising and cooling. Meteorologists know thunderstorms may happen but chances are low so they may not include it in their forecasts. Problems come when the data they are looking at showed a small probability for storms but they happen to develop in that location anyways.

Either way, if an airline delays or cancels too many flights and the storms move faster than forecast or dissipate earlier than forecast then there are a lot of planes and crews out of position and a lot of pissed off customers asking why they are delayed or cancelled when the weather is good.

If the weather is slower or worse than forecast, passengers get angry when they have to sit for hours waiting for lightning to clear the field or for arrival and departure routes to open up.

The dynamic nature of thunderstorms impact ATC quite a bit. They will often project massive ground delay EDCTs based on forecast weather. The weather passes the airport and weakens unexpectedly causing the arrival and departure rates to be much higher than planned. If the airline cancelled preemptively, lots of flights would be cancelled needlessly.

For flight plans, thunderstorms can move from fix to fix, VOR to VOR and in the summer the can easily pop up on all sides of an airport. ATC needs to balance arrival and departure volumes and sends planes on CDR routes leaving a hub and playbook routes into a hub with tactical re-routes to supplement these routing to get traffic around weather and keep the proper separation between planes. Routes can easily open and groundstop pretty quickly.

When you have weather deviations and a lot of volume, ATC needs more MIT and MINIT spacing between aircraft to maintain safe separation between traffic. This will slow down departures significantly at times. The problem is that the weather is dynamic. If you sit at the gate waiting for the weather to clear and you have a window the develops, it takes 20-30 minutes to board a flight and another 20-30 in taxi time. By that time, the weather could have worsened and your window lost. If you are pushed from the gate and on a taxiway, you can more easily depart during a window of improvement.

It really is a no-win situation from both an dispatch perspective and an ATC operations perspective. You are trying to make decisions that get people where they want and need to go. Unfortunately, you are dealing with weather which is forecast in terms of probability. Sometimes the odds are in your favor and sometimes they arent.
 
copter808
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:12 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 8):
the FAA closed the eastbound airspace. Even though we could have departed, going northeast, we were stuck between eastbound planes and had to wait until the airspace re opened. So yes, I was on the plane for over 3 hours,

And this is one of the major problems with the rule and the ATC system. The reason your flight was delayed was because of the FAA ATC. Your flight couldn't go anywhere because the controllers, acting on behalf of the FAA, an agency of the US Government, were unable to get the flight off the ground. The 3 hour rule was imposed by the US Government, and the fine was imposed by guess who? The US Government!

Seems the victims here are United Air Lines and the passengers.

The delayed flight the poster cites was stuck in the middle of the line. If they had waited at the gate and boarded only after departure was guaranteed, they would have been at the end of the line and resulted in a further delay.

Nobody wants to sit on the ground for 3 hours, but do we want to move from the end of the departure line to the number two position, then time out and have to return to the gate and start over? How many of the delayed passengers requested to get off the airplane?
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:39 pm

Quoting ckfred (Reply 13):
One thing that AA has done is the parking system that doesnt require ground crew. The board on the tells the pilot if he is on his lead-in line, as well as to slow down for the stopping point. Thus, if there is lightning in the area, closing the ramp, aircraft can still park, and the jet bridge can be moved into place.

Wow - I didn't realize they had implemented this. My one bad experience being stuck on a plane after landing for 3 hours was at DFW for thunderstorms.
 
cmf
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:50 pm

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 21):
It really is a no-win situation from both an dispatch perspective and an ATC operations perspective. You are trying to make decisions that get people where they want and need to go. Unfortunately, you are dealing with weather which is forecast in terms of probability. Sometimes the odds are in your favor and sometimes they arent.

Let's not forget passengers perspective... That is after all why the 3 hour limit came to be. Airlines pushed them too far and there was a predictable reaction. If airlines fail to account for the new situation it is likely there will be an even bigger reaction.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
copter808
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:08 am

Quoting ckfred (Reply 13):
One thing that AA has done is the parking system that doesnt require ground crew. The board on the tells the pilot if he is on his lead-in line, as well as to slow down for the stopping point.

Thus, if there is lightning in the area, closing the ramp, aircraft can still park, and the jet bridge can be moved into place.

This only works if something isn't in the way of the taxiing aircraft or moving jetway. That's why most airlines require ground guides. Ground guides that won't be on the ramp during lightning.
 
ewr767
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:21 am

Your damned if you do. Your damned if you don't. Upset people on a delayed flight and them upset when it cancels. There is no win win when it comes to weather friends!
 
nry
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:23 am

Great. I sense a wave of aggressive flight cancellations by airlines (not just United) over the Thanksgiving holiday.
B727, B737, B747, B757, B767, B777, B787, DC9/MD80, DC10, MD11
A319, A320 (+neo), A321, A330, A340
L1011
ATR77, CRJ200, CRJ700, E145, E170, E175
 
jayunited
Posts: 3105
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:51 am

Quoting ckfred (Reply 13):
One thing that AA has done is the parking system that doesnt require ground crew. The board on the tells the pilot if he is on his lead-in line, as well as to slow down for the stopping point.

Thus, if there is lightning in the area, closing the ramp, aircraft can still park, and the jet bridge can be moved into place.

I know AA has it at ORD and DFW.

UA does have this system at ORD it is a mobile system that can be moved by truck from gate to gate. However when the ramp is closed due to lightening UA now stops all boarding and deplaning operations and the reason is how many people when they board an aircraft place their hand on the aluminum skin around the door prior to boarding the answer is many people do and if your hand is touching the plane and the plane gets struck by lightening it probably not going to end to good for you. And over the years here at ORD I have seen many planes struck by lightening and back in the day before UA started taking proactive steps in ensuring employee safety during lightening storms I was witness to 1 employee having lightening discharge out of his ankles because his was in physical contact with the plane with the tail was struck by lightening and it travel into his body and discharged out his ankles. I also saw a Gate Gourmet employee servicing a plane thrown back into his truck while servicing a 744 luckily he was thrown into the truck and not off the truck to ground below these incidents took place years ago. But now during ramp closures due to lightening UA makes sure all jet bridges are clear no passengers are allowed onto or off of aircraft and all employees must be inside this is all for people's safety because a life can never be replaced so when lightening reaches the ground anywhere within 15 miles of the airport UA begins to close the ramp they no longer wait for lightening to strike the actual field.
 
copter808
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:14 pm

RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:58 am

Quoting ewr767 (Reply 26):
Your damned if you do. Your damned if you don't. Upset people on a delayed flight and them upset when it cancels. There is no win win when it comes to weather friends!

Exactly! Yet we still fine the airlines for excessive delays!
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 18279
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:15 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
So when the ramp closes for lightning, how exactly are they supposed to get the passengers off the planes? I would think the safety clause would come into play here.

They should be able to predict the future *and* weather, duh...just like they should have known when WN would have skidded into LGA causing the vast majority of long delays in July. And if they didn't they should all be drug out into the street and shot. For passenger rights! 
Quoting ADent (Reply 17):
Maybe UA could add a fine fee so the customers can pay for it. Sprit's is called "Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations Fee" .

It already is--airlines have adjusted their cancellation rate to compensate for this. Far more people are inconvenienced through outright cancellations than were (ever) inconvenienced by incredibly rare long tarmac delays. #therewefixedit.
I don't take responsibility at all
 
capejet
Posts: 125
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:32 am

These fines are excessive. PERIOD!
 
cmf
Posts: 3120
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:46 am

Quoting capejet (Reply 31):
These fines are excessive. PERIOD!

Why?
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
Mir
Posts: 19491
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:06 am

Quoting TW870 (Reply 16):
As were the people who were stuck at the outstation for the 6am flight during the old system, and the people who sat on the 8pm flight that delayed until midnight - at which point the crew went illegal.

If the plane doesn't leave the hub because the flight is cancelled, then the people on the 6am flight still get stuck at the outstation. And the people on the 8pm flight that's cancelled don't leave either. They don't wait until midnight to find that they can't leave that day, but that's not a huge improvement.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
TW870
Posts: 1273
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:50 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 33):
If the plane doesn't leave the hub because the flight is cancelled, then the people on the 6am flight still get stuck at the outstation. And the people on the 8pm flight that's cancelled don't leave either. They don't wait until midnight to find that they can't leave that day, but that's not a huge improvement.

No - it is a big improvement. In the new model, preemptive cancellations mean that crews are not on duty during the peak of many weather events. Preemptive cancellations mean that crews are not at the airport at night burning duty time as the weather moves in. Thus, the airline has far more crew members legal for duty the next morning, which allows them to either ferry airplanes to pick up stranded passengers, or ramp up the regularly scheduled operation more quickly. The extra crew hours make each aircraft far more useful in the new model. Yes the 6am flight will cancel at the outstation, but the rest of the days operation is on time. In the old model, you were so short pilot and flight attendant reserves (and line holders) that you lost flights all day after a weather event.
 
OB1504
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:04 am

Quoting nry (Reply 27):
Great. I sense a wave of aggressive flight cancellations by airlines (not just United) over the Thanksgiving holiday.

This is not the first holiday season during which the tarmac delay rules have been in effect. I don't recall seeing waves of preemptive cancellations last year or the year prior.
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:59 am

Quoting copter808 (Reply 22):
Your flight couldn't go anywhere because the controllers, acting on behalf of the FAA, an agency of the US Government, were unable to get the flight off the ground

Not true at all. We run arrivals and departures until the pilots no longer are able to fly their filed or assigned routes and begin to request deviations around weather into airspace that cannot be used due to other traffic. If we allow departures to take off knowing that they will not be able to stay in protected airspace, a ground delay would be the least of your worries.

Departures are normally restricted first because the arrival traffic is already in the air. If the weather shuts off an arrival route, we can hold the departures on the ground and allow the arrivals into the terminal area by using the departure airspace. If the departure airspace becomes unusable due to weather, we simply can't run the departures out the arrival route airspace because there are still arrivals coming in.

After a storm passes through the area, we will pick an aircraft in the departure line-up and allow it to taxi on the runway, set up his/her weather radar and ask the pilot if he/she would like to take off and if so, what heading/direction they would like to go. If the only heading they will accept will conflict with other traffic, we can't let them take-off but if we think we can let the pilot zig--zag thru the departure airspace, around build-ups without ending up in nose-to-nose with someone else, we'll release him. If that departure gets out of the area without any major issues, we will immediately start the departure flow again.

The ATC radar does show weather as well however it's not as accurate as the weather radar display located in the cockpit. Many times the areas that ATC radar shows as "clear of weather" show the exact opposite on a pilot's display so we have to rely almost exclusively on the pilot requests. It's impossible to make a perfect plan when our radar displays don't show the same "picture" as the pilot has and the pilot has the final say.
 
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CALTECH
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:51 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
During these delays, United failed to properly implement its extended tarmac delay recovery plan and such plans were inadequate to cover foreseeable situation causing more planes to be on the ground than available gates at a major hub airport.

In MCO this past summer, we had a couple of afternoons with banks of aircraft sitting at the gates as a thunderstorm complex moved close or over the airport. Lightning in the area shut the ramp down, no pushbacks. These weather systems trained over Orlando and kept lightning within the 5 mile danger circle for hours, not allowing aircraft to depart. Then the next bank of aircraft began arriving as conditions for flying and landing were still good. We took occasional strikes around our gate areas. Now we had aircraft with no gates to deplane at. We do have a truck with lights on it to help park a aircraft during ramp closures due to lightning, but it doesn't work if the gates have aircraft on them already.

I'd rather be on the airplane ready to go, then to have my flight cancelled. Happened numerous times in EWR, sat on the aircraft for 7+ hours waiting for the flight to go.

Back in 1989, a USAir ramper was killed by lightning in MCO, in what was called a bolt out of the blue. Nearest thunderstorm was supposedly 15 miles away. It is not worth it.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...&sjid=z-EDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3454,2165808

These COPA workers were lucky as something blew off the nose gear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrRzQbNMfW4

The passenger is the only one who will be screwed, either way.

[Edited 2013-10-26 06:22:03]

[Edited 2013-10-26 06:23:02]
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LittleFokker
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:25 pm

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 21):
People need to realize that station managers, local operations, the meteorology department do not have the authority to cancel flights and have no authority to preemptively delay flights for weather. That is the job for the dispatch department and SOC/OCC/NOC.

Here is the problem with thunderstorms from a dispatch perspective: they are extremely dynamic. They can strengthen and weaken quickly, reform over areas they have just passed, and can occur even when they are not forecast. Often times, meteorologists will forecast a 3-8 hour period where thunderstorms are possible. They will also constantly adjust the timing of weather forward and backwards.

One thing people may not know is that in the summer time with the heating of the day, there is almost always a chance for thunderstorms due to the unstable atmosphere caused by the hot rising and cooling. Meteorologists know thunderstorms may happen but chances are low so they may not include it in their forecasts. Problems come when the data they are looking at showed a small probability for storms but they happen to develop in that location anyways.

Either way, if an airline delays or cancels too many flights and the storms move faster than forecast or dissipate earlier than forecast then there are a lot of planes and crews out of position and a lot of pissed off customers asking why they are delayed or cancelled when the weather is good.

If the weather is slower or worse than forecast, passengers get angry when they have to sit for hours waiting for lightning to clear the field or for arrival and departure routes to open up.

The dynamic nature of thunderstorms impact ATC quite a bit. They will often project massive ground delay EDCTs based on forecast weather. The weather passes the airport and weakens unexpectedly causing the arrival and departure rates to be much higher than planned. If the airline cancelled preemptively, lots of flights would be cancelled needlessly.

For flight plans, thunderstorms can move from fix to fix, VOR to VOR and in the summer the can easily pop up on all sides of an airport. ATC needs to balance arrival and departure volumes and sends planes on CDR routes leaving a hub and playbook routes into a hub with tactical re-routes to supplement these routing to get traffic around weather and keep the proper separation between planes. Routes can easily open and groundstop pretty quickly.

When you have weather deviations and a lot of volume, ATC needs more MIT and MINIT spacing between aircraft to maintain safe separation between traffic. This will slow down departures significantly at times. The problem is that the weather is dynamic. If you sit at the gate waiting for the weather to clear and you have a window the develops, it takes 20-30 minutes to board a flight and another 20-30 in taxi time. By that time, the weather could have worsened and your window lost. If you are pushed from the gate and on a taxiway, you can more easily depart during a window of improvement.

It really is a no-win situation from both an dispatch perspective and an ATC operations perspective. You are trying to make decisions that get people where they want and need to go. Unfortunately, you are dealing with weather which is forecast in terms of probability. Sometimes the odds are in your favor and sometimes they arent.

Very well said. It's similar to the nonsensical "Stand Your Ground" laws - you can't legislate self-defense because it's too dynamic of a concept to quantify and qualify with legal wording.

Can't the DOT just have the authority to levy a fine if the situation warrants it, rather than hold firm to an arbitrary time limit?
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:34 pm

Quoting CALTECH (Reply 37):
In MCO this past summer, we had a couple of afternoons with banks of aircraft sitting at the gates as a thunderstorm complex moved close or over the airport. Lightning in the area shut the ramp down, no pushbacks. These weather systems trained over Orlando and kept lightning within the 5 mile danger circle for hours, not allowing aircraft to depart. Then the next bank of aircraft began arriving as conditions for flying and landing were still good. We took occasional strikes around our gate areas. Now we had aircraft with no gates to deplane at. We do have a truck with lights on it to help park a aircraft during ramp closures due to lightning, but it doesn't work if the gates have aircraft on them already.

Different story. You can not compare a huge, roomy, uncongested airport like MCO vs ORD or LGA or JFK.

Sometimes it takes a half hour to get into an alley way at LGA or ORD. There are planes everywhere on limited space.

If you wait til 2.5 hours at MCO, you are fairly certain you will easily get back to an empty gate in 5 minutes. If you have sat through it in ORD, you see things spiraling:

Gate is occupied

Northport is blocked with planes

Perimeter taxiways at a stand still


In fairness to UA...these are tough airports to have contingency plans for.

The only safe thing to do (and they will start doing it with fines like this) is to return to a gate, hardstand, whatever at 1 hour.
 
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CALTECH
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:56 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 39):
Different story. You can not compare a huge, roomy, uncongested airport like MCO vs ORD or LGA or JFK.

If you have 16 airplanes and only 8 gates versus 100 airplanes and 50 gates, the same issues apply as posted during ramp closures. Have worked in LAX, DEN(Stapleton), IAH and EWR, which is very congested. The same issues apply. Lightning in the area, not much is going to happen. If the gate is occupied by another aircraft and the ramp closed, passengers will sit on their arriving airplanes till the all clear is given. Not worth one's life.

Have been at EWR and pushbacked from the gate, only to have a ground stop implemented or weather roll through, and sit for 7+ hours. Happened to me 3 times at EWR and once at IAD going to EWR in the same month. Part of flying with irregualr ops. Actually wasn't too bad, read a good chunk of a book. Then arrived where I wanted to get to, late but safe.
You are here.
 
jayunited
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:41 pm

Quoting CALTECH (Reply 40):
If you have 16 airplanes and only 8 gates versus 100 airplanes and 50 gates, the same issues apply as posted during ramp closures. Have worked in LAX, DEN(Stapleton), IAH and EWR, which is very congested. The same issues apply. Lightning in the area, not much is going to happen. If the gate is occupied by another aircraft and the ramp closed, passengers will sit on their arriving airplanes till the all clear is given. Not worth one's life.

Have been at EWR and pushbacked from the gate, only to have a ground stop implemented or weather roll through, and sit for 7+ hours. Happened to me 3 times at EWR and once at IAD going to EWR in the same month. Part of flying with irregualr ops. Actually wasn't too bad, read a good chunk of a book. Then arrived where I wanted to get to, late but safe.

You are correct it is not worth one's life but what has always amazed me over the years working at ORD is how many passengers are willing to risk their life get to their destination they don't understand that if any part of their body comes into contact with the skin of the aircraft at the exact moment that aircraft is stuck by lightening then it could be lights out for them permanently because the only thing they are focused on is getting to their destination. I tell people all the time I understand that it sucks being stuck in the terminal or on a plane during sever lightening storms but when mother nature decides to act up some times you have to step back and let her do her thing. I tell passengers this all the time we are all in this together but you will always have a few people who think airlines control the weather.
 
frmrCapCadet
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:58 pm

Just curious. How many people inside an airplane have died or been seriously injured by lightning? And how many when the doors were closed?
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BC77008
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:01 pm

It's only 1.1million so not really that much. Instead of the government collecting these fines and keeping it, they should redistribute these fines to the people that sat on these airplanes and were inconvenienced. As a flight attendant I'd love to make an announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be stuck on the tarmac for the next 4 hours, however, each one of you will walk off of this airplane $27,500 richer!"
MY favorite airline and hub is bigger and/or better than YOUR favorite airline and hub!
 
copter808
Posts: 1384
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:09 pm

Quoting jetblastdubai (Reply 36):
Not true at all. We run arrivals and departures until the pilots no longer are able to fly their filed or assigned routes and begin to request deviations around weather into airspace that cannot be used due to other traffic. If we allow departures to take off knowing that they will not be able to stay in protected airspace, a ground delay would be the least of your worries.

I understand the basics of the ATC process and I'm certainly not faulting the controllers. Most of them are doing a super job, but unfortunately, they are limited by the system they have to work with. And my point was that the operator of the system is the same as the one who assesses the fines.

Oh, and thank you for doing the job for us where you're working now.

Quoting CALTECH (Reply 37):
Back in 1989, a USAir ramper was killed by lightning in MCO, in what was called a bolt out of the blue. Nearest thunderstorm was supposedly 15 miles away. It is not worth it.

I have personally seen this happen. I was walking through the parking lot at OSH one day several years ago when a bolt of lightning struck a nearby pole. Sky at OSH was mainly clear and the closest thunderstorm was probably 15 miles to the south!
 
michman
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 32):
Why?

A number of us believe the fines should be progressive and that you shouldn't treat a 3 hour tarmac delay the same as an 8 hour delay. I guess I feel the current policy causes the airlines to err a bit too much on the side of pre-emptive cancellations. Others obviously disagree.
 
Mir
Posts: 19491
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:18 pm

Quoting michman (Reply 45):
A number of us believe the fines should be progressive and that you shouldn't treat a 3 hour tarmac delay the same as an 8 hour delay.

Nor should you treat a delay where the airline keeps the cabin at a comfortable temperature and gives the passengers plenty of snacks and water the same as a delay where the airline doesn't do those things. The former case is arguably better than being stuck in a gate area waiting to see when you're going to board again, and is really no different from the plane being in the air (and we don't let passengers decide they want to get off because they've had enough of sitting in their seat three hours into a six hour flight). In the latter case, three hours is probably too long.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
cmf
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:28 pm

Quoting michman (Reply 45):
A number of us believe the fines should be progressive and that you shouldn't treat a 3 hour tarmac delay the same as an 8 hour delay. I guess I feel the current policy causes the airlines to err a bit too much on the side of pre-emptive cancellations. Others obviously disagree.

So you think the fines should be such that the airline consider them a cost of doing business instead of being so severe they change their way of doing business? Isn't it the refusal to change their way of doing business that caused the fines to be implemented?
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
VC10er
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:09 pm

I vividly recall the Northwest flight that was delayed MANY hours on the taxi way (or runway - can't remember exactly) to the point where toilets overflowed with human waste, no drinking water etc and passengers called 911 from their cell phones saying "I am being held hostage by Northwest Airlines!"

So I am all for a 3 hour limit or get fined. But if an airline operates on the edge of this risk and manages to get the vast majority of their flight out under 2 hours and 59 minutes, then just deals with the one fine out of thousands that did squeek into the air, then even at $1.1 million, it may be worth it to live on the edge. I think the bad PR United is getting is FAR more damaging that a (budgeted for) $1.1 million fine.

Also, I often feel that these delays are not just the airline's fault (just guessing) so does the DOT fine others? Does the DOT take into consideration that United (or any other) did all it could to get the plane back to the gate? Then factor that into issuing a fine? Or is it just "over 3 hours: FINED"?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
dispatchguy
Posts: 631
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RE: DOT Fines United - $1.1mil - Tarmac Delay

Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:25 pm

I remember this particular night - I tried to get from MEM or ORD on an AA Eagle flight and we pushed back and took a MX issue, and ended up canceling. I walked over to UA to get on theirs, and their inbound wasnt even off ORD yet.

So I said screw it and went back to my crashpad here in MEM, and listened to ORD Ground online, and ORD ground was a nightmare. The weather system was at best a typical summer thunderstorm, but it sounded like no one was in charge. Every taxiway/runway that wasnt in use for landing aircraft was in use for parking aircraft (think of the pictures at Halifax on 9/11/2001). At one time I remember the ORD Ground Controller saying that there were over 80 aircraft parked on a taxiway or a runway trying to get to a gate.

A friend of mine at the time was a dispatcher for a UA Express carrier, and his after action report made it sound like someone from UA needed to be fired - as the worst his airline had was 8 hours on the taxiway.

If I remember correctly, when the weather moved east, and the FAA lifted the ground stop, UA never reopened their ramps, so you have all the diverted and delayed inbounds now airborne, and the UA ramps were still full with flights that never made it out - hence, the nightmare.

[Edited 2013-10-26 09:29:57]
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