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atsiang
Topic Author
Posts: 156
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:40 pm

Diverting back to origin airport

Tue Dec 14, 2021 4:08 pm

Hi Folks,

This particular SW flight from SJC to SNA traveled nearly to the Los Angeles before diverting back to SJC. https://www.flightradar24.com/SWA427/2a2f9e1d I don't understand why that would be the case? Why divert back to your origin airport and not say to LAX or LGB where SW has a presence? I've seen other flights originating from SJC diverting back to SJC. Can anyone explain?

Many thanks for your expertise.
Al
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 9180
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Tue Dec 14, 2021 4:38 pm

Maintenance availability, crew base if the the crew will time out at a non-crew station.
 
737tanker
Posts: 403
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:47 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Tue Dec 14, 2021 9:44 pm

While LAX is a maintenance and crew base for WN they may not have any gate space for the aircraft. That being said I’m not sure why they didn’t divert to ONT, unless weather was an issue at LAX and ONT.
 
User avatar
fr8mech
Posts: 8483
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Wed Dec 15, 2021 1:37 am

It's not uncommon for operators to divert back to origin, if the origin is a main base. Maintenance, crews, aircraft, facilities, etc. are available at a base that provide more options for recovery.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15632
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sat Dec 18, 2021 9:53 pm

Isn’t it (in the aggregate) better for passengers to divert to a city where half or so of them live than some hypothetical airport in between? I’ve definitely gone home to wait out nasty delays before.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 9180
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sat Dec 18, 2021 10:07 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
Isn’t it (in the aggregate) better for passengers to divert to a city where half or so of them live than some hypothetical airport in between? I’ve definitely gone home to wait out nasty delays before.


I don’t think airlines poll the passengers or even give weight to the passengers when diverting. Safety first, esp for medical/systems emergency, then maintenance of the schedule or repair facility.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15632
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sat Dec 18, 2021 10:31 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Isn’t it (in the aggregate) better for passengers to divert to a city where half or so of them live than some hypothetical airport in between? I’ve definitely gone home to wait out nasty delays before.


I don’t think airlines poll the passengers or even give weight to the passengers when diverting. Safety first, esp for medical/systems emergency, then maintenance of the schedule or repair facility.


Certainly there are situations where it would be inappropriate - perhaps grossly inappropriate - to consider passenger convenience. But if Southern California weather was the issue and the choice was between SJC, OAK, and SMF, I’d say it was appropriate to consider passenger convenience. That in no way affects safety.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 9180
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sat Dec 18, 2021 11:58 pm

It might well be appropriate, but in my years flying never happened-airline, military or corporate. Sen Ted Kennedy one night on the shuttle sent forward a note to the captain. “If we divert (LGA was at mins) I want to go to PHL”. Captain immediately put it in the cockpit trash bag. I’ve been in the front and the back, where to divert is rarely, really never, a passenger consideration. Safety, then how best to maintain the system service. Where the passengers originated, where their connections were wasn’t a thought until on the ground. Then, they worked how to solve the problems.

When I’ve had to divert with the owner in back of the jet, I’d tell what the problem was, where we were going and if there were options. My job was his safety first, convenience was next and we’d move everything to make that happen. Delayed due to handling at Marrakech, boss wants to go to Paris first , drop off his wife, THEN take him to London, instead of London, then Paris. Lots of ground and in-flight coordination, it worked. Another time, we can’t land at KASE due to winds, it’s a walk back to tell some well-known people, we’re going KRIL, end of story. That’s why he pays the big bucks to own the plane.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2557
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sun Dec 19, 2021 12:05 am

The Senator was also the guy who frequently rode for free on numerous Corp. jets but still tried to ramrod a bill that disallowed any corp. to write off the cost of their corp. jets above the cost of a coach class seat to the same city. I'll say no more.
 
jjairbus
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat May 16, 2020 1:42 pm

Re: Diverting back to origin airport

Sun Dec 19, 2021 10:39 am

We obviously don't poll the passengers on their wishes but in a non time-critical situations we certainly ask the company where they want the passengers and the plane. Of course, in a time-critical situation (emergency, low fuel...) passenger and company convenience is not a factor in our decision and we put the plane down where it's safe.

Many times the diversion is not very hectic maneuver. Usually we've anticipated the situation and had the time to consider different options and also consult the company on their wishes. Already when deciding alternates during the flight planning we usually think about which airports are better for the passengers in case of diversion if there are no other factors affecting decision. For example, in our home base the closest alternate is on the other side of a body of water while there are two other good options also on the land side just a bit farther away (usually within 100kg of fuel) and we usually prefer the ones where the passengers can be bussed to the base or their final destination.

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