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dfwjim1
Topic Author
Posts: 2645
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:46 pm

Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 1:28 am

Is at all common for aircraft to arrive at an incorrect gate due to air and/or ground crew error? I am thinking it might be a thing at larger/busier airports.
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 21056
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 3:16 am

I'm sure it happens but I've never seen it. Rather unlikely.

- Ground tells us the gate.
- There tends to be a gaggle of rampers around the correct gate.
- If there's a docking system, read the aircraft type before committing.
 
alasizon
Posts: 3176
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 3:30 am

Happens all the time in North America, far less common elsewhere.

Majority of the time in the US is either due to ramp error (bringing in the wrong aircraft) or gate changes after the initial gate assignment was communicated in-range.
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:34 am

alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America, far less common elsewhere.

Majority of the time in the US is either due to ramp error (bringing in the wrong aircraft) or gate changes after the initial gate assignment was communicated in-range.

Who decides which flights get assigned to a gate? Is it the airline or the airport owner?

Do airlines allow competitors to borrow their gates in an emergency?
 
alasizon
Posts: 3176
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:37 am

blacksoviet wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America, far less common elsewhere.

Majority of the time in the US is either due to ramp error (bringing in the wrong aircraft) or gate changes after the initial gate assignment was communicated in-range.

Who decides which flights get assigned to a gate? Is it the airline or the airport owner?

Do airlines allow competitors to borrow their gates in an emergency?


All varies by airport. At most airports now, certain carriers have their own leased gates that they control and have exclusive access over and then there is a small contingent of common use gates that the airport controls.

As far as borrowing gates, it all depends on the setup in the given airport and who the two carriers are. Most airlines are hesitant from a safety perspective from borrowing gates they've never used, never fit tested and never verified work properly with their procedures.
 
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hongkongflyer
Posts: 928
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:23 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:44 am

alasizon wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America, far less common elsewhere.

Majority of the time in the US is either due to ramp error (bringing in the wrong aircraft) or gate changes after the initial gate assignment was communicated in-range.

Who decides which flights get assigned to a gate? Is it the airline or the airport owner?

Do airlines allow competitors to borrow their gates in an emergency?


All varies by airport. At most airports now, certain carriers have their own leased gates that they control and have exclusive access over and then there is a small contingent of common use gates that the airport controls.

As far as borrowing gates, it all depends on the setup in the given airport and who the two carriers are. Most airlines are hesitant from a safety perspective from borrowing gates they've never used, never fit tested and never verified work properly with their procedures.


It only happened in US.In most of the world, the airport own the gates so technically everyone can use any gate.
 
aaway
Posts: 1540
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 2:07 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 5:34 pm

dfwjim1 wrote:
Is at all common for aircraft to arrive at an incorrect gate due to air and/or ground crew error? I am thinking it might be a thing at larger/busier airports.


I've seen this twice at LAX. First time was due to flying crew error. Aero California (JR) typically parked at the old Gate 106 at TBIT when arriving during the evening. Alleyway C-10 is the correct taxilane to access Gate 106. This particular evening, JR used alleyway C-9 (between T-4 & T-5) and proceeded deep into the alley - to abeam gate 40. Caused all sorts of chaos since it was during the 21:00h arrivals rush.

On the second occasion, my former carrier was affected by an error at LAWA TBIT ops. Our late arriving aircraft was assigned old Gate 101. Due to aircraft type, parking would necessitate using the "A" lead-in line. This, in turn, would restrict adjacent Gate 102 to a Group IV aircraft, or smaller. Our late arriving aircraft was further delayed another 45 minutes, or so. In the interim, Gate 102 was subsequently assigned to a Group V aircraft, that ultimately arrived before our delayed flight.

Upon seeing the arrival into 102 and realizing there would be a conflict, we attempted to contact LAWA to rectify. Unfortunately, LAWA responded in their default fashion - to boot you to the remotes if, for some reason, you couldn't accept your original gate assignment.

By this time, our flight was on the ground and would soon receive clearance to taxi to the gate. We did not have any ground staff - above and below wing - in position to quickly transition from contact gate to remote gate. Attempting such a transition would result in further delay of our arrival. So, I instructed our contract ramp crew to tow the flight in using the "B" lead-in line. With this decision, we avoided a wingtip strike incident between adjacent aircraft. But, we ended up blocking Taxiway C between C-10 and the former Twy Sierra.

I contacted LAWA Airfield Ops and requested the presence of an Airfield Ops Specialist to observe the proceedings. Surprisingly, he was understanding of the situation. Eventually, the ATCT was contacted and LAWA closed that portion of Twy C we blocked. Kinda felt good to be the cause of a NOTAM.

Never had similar conflict again after that incident.
 
e38
Posts: 933
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:34 pm

alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America


No it doesn't.

dfwjim1 (topic author), certainly it happens once in a while, but it is very rare.

Both air and ground crews understand that getting the right aircraft to the right gate is important to the integrity of the company's schedule and the operation of the airport and work hard to make it so.

In the United States, most airlines have their own gates at most of the airports they serve--either owned or leased. At my company, on the preflight paperwork I receive before the flight (e-flight plan), the expected arrival gate is annotated so I know the projected arrival gate at my destination even before departure from the origin airport. Furthermore, when we send the "in-range" message at least 30 minutes prior to arrival, the arrival gate is also listed. The expected taxi plan from exiting the runway to the parking gate/stand is part of the arrival briefing between the pilots. Should the gate change after that time, we get an ACARS alert after landing so there is time to review the change once clear of the runway and stopped on a taxiway before proceeding to the assigned gate.

At airports where we use "common-use" gates, we contact either ground control, ramp control, apron control (Canada), "gate management," or other airport operations frequency for gate assignment. The frequency and agency is listed in our airport operation pages of our manuals.

Even at airports where we use common use gates, in general the gates are in the same location of the terminal so even if not specifically assigned prior to arrival, we have a pretty good idea where we will be parking.

With regard to your last sentence, "I am thinking it might be a thing at large/busier airports."

Jim, based upon the amount of ground activity that goes on at busy airport--aircraft movements, vehicular traffic, radio chatter, personnel on the ramp, perhaps crossing active runways to get to the gate, etc--most crews seem to have a "heightened" sense of awareness and are very attentive to their gate assignment and parking procedures.

e38
 
alasizon
Posts: 3176
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:04 am

e38 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America


No it doesn't.


I can assure you it does. Just going off internal reports this week, we had 18 aircraft into the wrong gate, seven of which were crew caused (turned into the wrong gate and we chose to keep them there since they couldn't turn out again safely) and the rest ramp caused (all identified the wrong tail but right A/C type and crew chose the gate with the ramp crew). Part of the issue locally is inbound aircraft don't check in with ramp control or company radio, ground handles them from the runway to the gate (ramp control and ground communicate via Aerobahn).

Across the hall, Southwest had 8 this week that I know of (all turned into the wrong alleyway). That's just one airport and I was on a team a few years back designed to help another station that was having 15-20 per day due to on the ground/almost on the ground gate changes
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:42 am

alasizon wrote:
e38 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America


No it doesn't.


I can assure you it does. Just going off internal reports this week, we had 18 aircraft into the wrong gate, seven of which were crew caused (turned into the wrong gate and we chose to keep them there since they couldn't turn out again safely) and the rest ramp caused (all identified the wrong tail but right A/C type and crew chose the gate with the ramp crew). Part of the issue locally is inbound aircraft don't check in with ramp control or company radio, ground handles them from the runway to the gate (ramp control and ground communicate via Aerobahn).

Across the hall, Southwest had 8 this week that I know of (all turned into the wrong alleyway). That's just one airport and I was on a team a few years back designed to help another station that was having 15-20 per day due to on the ground/almost on the ground gate changes

Does it really matter if the wrong tail number goes to the gate if the aircraft type is the same?
 
kabq737
Posts: 768
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Wed Dec 29, 2021 4:58 am

blacksoviet wrote:
alasizon wrote:
e38 wrote:

No it doesn't.


I can assure you it does. Just going off internal reports this week, we had 18 aircraft into the wrong gate, seven of which were crew caused (turned into the wrong gate and we chose to keep them there since they couldn't turn out again safely) and the rest ramp caused (all identified the wrong tail but right A/C type and crew chose the gate with the ramp crew). Part of the issue locally is inbound aircraft don't check in with ramp control or company radio, ground handles them from the runway to the gate (ramp control and ground communicate via Aerobahn).

Across the hall, Southwest had 8 this week that I know of (all turned into the wrong alleyway). That's just one airport and I was on a team a few years back designed to help another station that was having 15-20 per day due to on the ground/almost on the ground gate changes

Does it really matter if the wrong tail number goes to the gate if the aircraft type is the same?

I would think so. You’d either have to make a short term gate change causing hundreds of passengers to move to a new gate and much potential inconvenience or you operate with a different tail number. If you operate with a different tail number that can interfere with MX schedules and such it an aircraft was supposed to be at a certain station at a certain point in its schedule.
 
Avgeek21
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:44 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 5:08 am

I made that mistake once on a 737. No idea why but I turned into the wrong gate at home base. Mistook 07L for 07R. By the time I realized I couldn’t get out anymore as there was a company on either side. Embarrassing; yes. Big deal; no. Informed ATC and our ground handling and made an air safety report stating it was my error. Airfield ops came to take my statement and that was it. Never heard anything ever again. Trust me, I’m paranoid now of turning into the wrong gate. Lol.
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 5:59 am

Avgeek21 wrote:
I made that mistake once on a 737. No idea why but I turned into the wrong gate at home base. Mistook 07L for 07R. By the time I realized I couldn’t get out anymore as there was a company on either side. Embarrassing; yes. Big deal; no. Informed ATC and our ground handling and made an air safety report stating it was my error. Airfield ops came to take my statement and that was it. Never heard anything ever again. Trust me, I’m paranoid now of turning into the wrong gate. Lol.

Why did you inform ATC? Do they really care what gate you are at?
 
N1120A
Posts: 27236
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 6:50 am

blacksoviet wrote:
Avgeek21 wrote:
I made that mistake once on a 737. No idea why but I turned into the wrong gate at home base. Mistook 07L for 07R. By the time I realized I couldn’t get out anymore as there was a company on either side. Embarrassing; yes. Big deal; no. Informed ATC and our ground handling and made an air safety report stating it was my error. Airfield ops came to take my statement and that was it. Never heard anything ever again. Trust me, I’m paranoid now of turning into the wrong gate. Lol.

Why did you inform ATC? Do they really care what gate you are at?


If they need to taxi somewhere else, they'll need an ATC clearance if it requires transiting a movement area.
 
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CrimsonNL
Posts: 2222
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:34 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 1:51 pm

Happens occasionally at AMS, most often at the "regional" stands that are not connected to the terminal, or on the cargo ramp. Some positions are a bit difficult to observe from the tower so ATC don't always notice it. Sometimes it's a crew error. Sometimes the ground handlers are a bunch of morons and they show up and switch on the guidance system at the wrong stand. You can imagine a flight crew docking at the wrong stand when it's the only one "lit up" in the middle of the night.

Just the other day we had an A319 park at the wrong gate. A second flight of the airline was coming in just a few minutes later at the adjacent position, but the first aircraft parked at the wrong stand where the ramp guys were waiting for the second aircraft. Their handling agent is awful so they probably didn't even notice they were offloading the wrong aircraft. It was only discovered when the second aircraft arrived and mentioned that their assigned position was taken.
 
Drucocu
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 4:27 pm

CrimsonNL wrote:
Happens occasionally at AMS, most often at the "regional" stands that are not connected to the terminal, or on the cargo ramp. Some positions are a bit difficult to observe from the tower so ATC don't always notice it. Sometimes it's a crew error. Sometimes the ground handlers are a bunch of morons and they show up and switch on the guidance system at the wrong stand. You can imagine a flight crew docking at the wrong stand when it's the only one "lit up" in the middle of the night.

Just the other day we had an A319 park at the wrong gate. A second flight of the airline was coming in just a few minutes later at the adjacent position, but the first aircraft parked at the wrong stand where the ramp guys were waiting for the second aircraft. Their handling agent is awful so they probably didn't even notice they were offloading the wrong aircraft. It was only discovered when the second aircraft arrived and mentioned that their assigned position was taken.


Just a quick slightly off topic guess. Menzies?
 
nws2002
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Thu Dec 30, 2021 5:35 pm

I worked at an airport with only two gates and a single airline. We often had two flights arriving within 10-15 minutes of each other. It happened sometimes, maybe once every 6 months or so that ramp would park the aircraft at the wrong gate. Same livery, single aircraft type, and not always easy to see the tail number depending on which direction they were taxiing into the ramp from. We would give the pilots the gate number when they called in range, but they are going to go to the gate with wingwalkers and a marshaller.

Wasn't ever the end of the world. Usually, we would just do a gate change and send the passengers across the gate area.
 
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CrimsonNL
Posts: 2222
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:34 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Fri Dec 31, 2021 3:27 pm

Drucocu wrote:

Just a quick slightly off topic guess. Menzies?


Hah! No more guessing for you :lol:. In their defense though, all the local competition is just as bad.
 
bigb
Posts: 1733
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:30 pm

e38 wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Happens all the time in North America


No it doesn't.

dfwjim1 (topic author), certainly it happens once in a while, but it is very rare.

Both air and ground crews understand that getting the right aircraft to the right gate is important to the integrity of the company's schedule and the operation of the airport and work hard to make it so.

In the United States, most airlines have their own gates at most of the airports they serve--either owned or leased. At my company, on the preflight paperwork I receive before the flight (e-flight plan), the expected arrival gate is annotated so I know the projected arrival gate at my destination even before departure from the origin airport. Furthermore, when we send the "in-range" message at least 30 minutes prior to arrival, the arrival gate is also listed. The expected taxi plan from exiting the runway to the parking gate/stand is part of the arrival briefing between the pilots. Should the gate change after that time, we get an ACARS alert after landing so there is time to review the change once clear of the runway and stopped on a taxiway before proceeding to the assigned gate.

At airports where we use "common-use" gates, we contact either ground control, ramp control, apron control (Canada), "gate management," or other airport operations frequency for gate assignment. The frequency and agency is listed in our airport operation pages of our manuals.

Even at airports where we use common use gates, in general the gates are in the same location of the terminal so even if not specifically assigned prior to arrival, we have a pretty good idea where we will be parking.

With regard to your last sentence, "I am thinking it might be a thing at large/busier airports."

Jim, based upon the amount of ground activity that goes on at busy airport--aircraft movements, vehicular traffic, radio chatter, personnel on the ramp, perhaps crossing active runways to get to the gate, etc--most crews seem to have a "heightened" sense of awareness and are very attentive to their gate assignment and parking procedures.

e38


Sure it does. Especially at major hubs where a gate occurs often. I can tell you that I’ve done it twice in CLT because we missed ACARS coms due to dealing with ground traffic and we pulled into the wrong gate.
 
Avgeek21
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:44 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:45 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
Avgeek21 wrote:
I made that mistake once on a 737. No idea why but I turned into the wrong gate at home base. Mistook 07L for 07R. By the time I realized I couldn’t get out anymore as there was a company on either side. Embarrassing; yes. Big deal; no. Informed ATC and our ground handling and made an air safety report stating it was my error. Airfield ops came to take my statement and that was it. Never heard anything ever again. Trust me, I’m paranoid now of turning into the wrong gate. Lol.

Why did you inform ATC? Do they really care what gate you are at?


Eh yes. They control everything. Can’t think of any reason not to inform them.
 
Drucocu
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Aircraft arriving at the incorrect gate

Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:27 pm

CrimsonNL wrote:
Drucocu wrote:

Just a quick slightly off topic guess. Menzies?


Hah! No more guessing for you :lol:. In their defense though, all the local competition is just as bad.


Haha! Well I wouldn't know about the rest, but I have plenty of experience with the ways this particular handler works. Sounds just like a regular day at the far end of the airport :roll: :lol:

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