Kate Hanni and I Talk About Delays, We Disagree (Part Two)

Yesterday on “Delays of Our Lives” . . . after a few rounds of going back and forth, it became clear that Kate Hanni has boiled down long onboard delays on simple overscheduling. I definitely disagree. Today we pick up where we left off. The next question in my mind was obvious . . .

planeline

Cranky: So it’s back to the overscheduling issue. If that’s the case, then why do a 3 hour rule instead of slot controls?
Kate: First, some people think 3 hours is too much. Let me give you an example. Imagine if we had sat 179 minutes in San Francisco before takeoff for New York. Imagine that we sat 179 minutes in the plane and then we took off and flew for 4 hours and then Kate Hanni vs Cranky Round 2we diverted to Austin. Then we took off and spent 179 minutes on taxi-in in New York and we’re still under the rule guidelines. And the airlines will have broken no law.

Cranky: Come on, that’s an incredibly rare situation where something like that would happen.
Kate: No it’s not that rare. And here’s my argument about that. I said have it your way, it’s rare. If it’s rare it will have no impact. The airlines wouldn’t be fighting this if it were so rare. The data you see doesn’t show everything.

Cranky: What is it missing?
Kate: International flights are not included at all. Also, it only includes domestic airlines that have at least 1% of the air travel revenue in the country. I would say that 300% of flights that are sitting on the tarmac are not included in the data.

Cranky: How do you know that?
Kate: There are approximately 150 air carriers in the US and only 19 report.

Cranky: Yeah, but most of the airlines that fly into slot constrained airports report. Who cares if some small airline reports in some tiny town?
Kate: I’ll give you an example. Spirit Air doesn’t report because they’re just under the threshold but they’ve had long delays recently.

planeline

Cranky: Back to the 3 hour rule. Why is this better way to handle it than just putting slots at the airports?
Kate: It would have been better if the government stepped in and regulated congestion effectively but they didn’t. The Bush Administration didn’t want to do that, so this is the only thing that can be done since the airlines have refused voluntarily to reduce capacity.

Cranky: But airlines have agreed to voluntarily reduce capacity. United and American did it in O’Hare. There are caps in place at Newark . . .
Kate: It was a failure. When the DOT asked if some airlines would reduce their schedules, they did and then other airlines grew.

planeline

Cranky: Ok, so let’s say that we have scheduled everything perfectly to match capacity. But what about when bad weather comes in and reduces capacity? You can’t schedule for that and delays can happen. What do you do?
Kate: Those types of problems are caused by extreme weather, and the GAO says that 7% of airline delays are caused by extreme weather. . .

Cranky: That’s not true. Look at San Francisco, for example. You get some fog in there and they lose half their capacity. That’s not extreme weather.
Kate: We have very few complaints from San Francisco. I’m talking about extreme weather that causes delays over 3 hours. The airlines and their station manager and operations manager have a meeting several times a day as to what’s going to be coded as weather. Occasionally you’re going to have mechanical delays and weather delays, but they can code it however they want.

planeline

Cranky: But do we really need this? I mean, haven’t things changed since you were stuck in Austin? Haven’t the airlines made changes?
Kate: They haven’t changed anything. Nothing has changed except they’re fighting us tooth and nail. Just on the last trip I was going to do a report card in Washington DC. I called Delta to make sure my flight was going to be on time and they said that there was going to be a four hour delay but they hadn’t notified me. They said they didn’t have a crew. I asked how they knew they’d have a crew in four hours? The agent said, “We should probably tell you it’ll be indefiinitely.” I think they just told me because I’m a consumer advocate.

planeline

Cranky: I know that if I was on a flight that hit the 3 hour mark, I’d rather wait 20 minutes to take off then go back to the gate and not be able to fly for days because the flight canceled.
Kate: But would you want to be there for nine hours?

Cranky: No, but come on. That’s incredibly uncommon if it happens at all.
Kate: Nine hour delays happen a lot.

Cranky: I’d like to see those numbers.
Kate: I don’t have them with me, but I’ll be back at my computer in a couple hours and I’ll send them to you.

Cranky: Great, I look forward to seeing that. Thanks for talking with me.

planeline

She did send me her data in the form of her 2009 Airline Report Card (PDF), but it didn’t look as bad as she said. Though she mentioned that nine hour delays “happen a lot,” there were only 13 delays of over 5 hours at the top 35 airports for all of 2009. In addition, for all the reporting airlines, there were 904 delays of over 3 hours. That may sound like a lot, but that was out of 6,450,285 flights. Yes, it’s a very small number.

Some of the things she mentions show a lack of understanding of how the system works. For example, when I mentioned that San Francisco fog problems can cause delays, she said that she doesn’t get many complaints from there so that’s not the problem. Of course that’s the case. The delay is usually on inbound flights because of the visibility issues, and airplanes have to be held at their departure point if it’s bad enough. That can cause congestion at some of the other airports, and if there’s weather elsewhere, it can snowball.

She acts like the airlines haven’t done anything since she was stuck on a plane, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most airlines had some sort of policy before, but those have been strengthened with public policies and stronger chain-of-command to ensure it doesn’t happen. Is it perfect? Of course not. Airlines are incredibly complex and operate all over the world. It’s not possible to ensure that things never go wrong, but it is possible to keep working as hard as possible to reduce long delays from occurring.

Though Kate blames everything on airline scheduling practices, it’s the variability of operational capacity that makes things tougher. If the winds shift, your capacity can go down. If rain turns to ice, you have a mess on your hands. What this rule is going to do is encourage airlines to operate more conservatively to make sure they don’t face fines, and that will mean more cancellations.

It’s not like you can just magically open the door at 3 hours on the ground. Planes will now need to be called back starting around 2 hours to make sure that they can get out of line, taxi back and get doors open in time to avoid the fine. Once that door opens, the pilots are likely to time out. Without a crew, that flight is more likely to cancel and then people are stuck.

I continue to predict that we will see more cancellations and more unhappy passengers than we see today. If overscheduling really were the issue, this isn’t the way to handle it. That’s what slot controls are for, but they still will never be able to match demand with the ever-changing airport capacity during changing weather situations. It’s just the nature of the industry, and all airlines, airports, and air traffic control can do is keep working to try to make it run more smoothly. Blanket rules like this don’t help.

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86 Comments on "Kate Hanni and I Talk About Delays, We Disagree (Part Two)"

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Michael
Guest

Yesterday, i was pretty sure Kate Hanni is an idiot. Today I am convinced. As a gate agent in the mid-atlantic states, I will advise my pax to go to her website when the flight cancels or comes to the gate prior to the three hour rule and my connex are shot for 3 days. This is just living proof that any idiot could go to DC and try(and be succesful) at policy change.

Brad
Guest
Seriously, this woman needs to get a life. I have never seen a gross misunderstanding about the complexities of the air traffic system here in the United States. She was ONE person who is trying to drag in more people based off false information. Somebody said it yesterday: Kate Hanni is to the aviation industry as Jenny McCarthy is to childhood immunizations: WRONG. I have been a flight attendant for 10 years with a major US airline and I can tell you, in MY 10 years, I have NEVER EVER been delayed on the ground 3 1/2 hours. The longest… Read more »
Zach
Guest

Those 904 flights work out to .014%. One one hundredth of one percent. This woman is a complete moron and her constant dancing around your questions just proved this.

dan
Member

Surprisingly, I do actually think of of Ms. Hanni’s points is valid when it comes to the number of airlines that are required to report their statistics. Take LGA and DCA – both have sizable US Express operations, but the airlines that operate them aren’t required to share their numbers. The biggest regionals do have to report but there are still a few big ones missing.

JamesK
Guest
Yet, Kate didn’t fight for this. Check out the discussion of the final rule (Federal Register Vol 74, #249, p68994), and the DOT notes “no one commented as to whether the proposal requiring reporting carriers to disclose the on-time performance code for a flight…should or should not be expanded to cover more carriers (e.g., domestic scheduled service using aircraft with 30 or more seats) or more types of flights (e.g., code-share flights). … Flyersrights.org recommends that the regulation require covered carriers to post flight delay information only for code-share flights operated by carriers that report…as this will narrow the amount… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

I think all passenger airlines period should have to report. Even if an airline had two planes and six flights a day, wouldn’t you want to know if one of those flights was late 70% (as an example) of the time. It could effect your travel plans so might have to rethink using that airline/flight.

Gary
Guest
It’s not overscheduling, though I suppose if Congress cut air traffic in half it would be easier to park planes at gates. (But then there wouldn’t be the capital investment to improve airports etc). It’s almost always really bad weather when the 3+ hour tarmac delays happen. And we need a better system for queuing aircraft to provide greater flexibility. But the airlines don’t want to trap people in planes. The pilot doesn’t want to be rtapped in a plane. They do these things all day, every day, and most carriers are pretty good at it. The creeping delays happen,… Read more »
Jonathan Jesse
Guest

While I’ve never been stuck in airplane for longer then 2 hours (a thunderstorm broke out in ATL that closed the airport and we diverted to Knoxville and waited for the T-Storm to break and then waited for the congestion at ATL to open up for our Regional Jet, a non priority), I can’t tell you how man 3+ hour delays due to weather I’ve exepereinced in ORD in the winter, either in ORD or in connecting airports to ORD. In fact that is the reason I switched from United to Continental to avoid ORD

Jonathan Jesse
Guest

And the lady is ignorant based on the comments. Once again the minority has changed government to negatively affect the majority

Jeremy
Guest

Cranky…I’ve been away from the site for a while but I’m glad I came back when I did. Great interview. As a relatively infrequent traveler as compared to many of your readers, I’d much rather a delay than a cancelation. It always frustrates me when people try to solve a situation in the past in a way that will ensure that future problems are worse and/or more frequent.

Jon
Guest

In Ms. Hanni’s case, clearly Emotion > [(Logic + Common Sense)^2]

David SF eastbay
Member
Someone sounds like a broken record and it’s not cranky! Many years ago during PanAm days going from MIA to SXM there was a thunder storm that rolled in with almost golf ball size hail. Flights were grounded but PanAm had us board anyway to be ready to leave when the storm passed. We sat on the plane for an hour listening to large hail hitting the metal airplane which by the way is very LOUD. So once things started moving we were out of there and in the air. But under this new rule would that hour be included… Read more »
Frank Vaughan
Guest

Kate: It would have been better if the government stepped in and regulated congestion effectively but they didn’t. The Bush Administration didn’t want to do that, so this is the only thing that can be done since the airlines have refused voluntarily to reduce capacity.

Aha…it is all George Bush’s fault. That explains everything.

Buggs Bunny: What a maroon, what a maroon!

oldiesfan6479
Guest

Kate is the Jane Garvey of the private sector.

Maybe she can get appointed to the UAL BOD too, and then suggest they hold their meetings on the “tarmac.”

jcapello
Member
Hey, Cranky. I love your column. And I’m quite the cranky flier myself, but on this one, we’re cranky in opposite directions. The airlines need this b!tch-slapping and I’m glad there’s a Kate Hanni to give it to them. They have, for years, stranded passengers for hours on end and every time they’ve been called on it, they trot-out a voluntary new policy, yet another one they simply ignore…..900+ times last year alone. No single airline can change their ways because it would put them at a competitive disadvantage. So, reluctantly, I guess we need the government to require the… Read more »
Raj
Guest
Cranky, come on now. You make it sound like she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Being opinionated is one thing, but her arguments are not specious. My two cents: I take huge exception to the fact that your camp thinks it’s okay to have a plane sitting on a tarmac for even 3 hours. Your argument consistently has been “but what if it takes off after 20 minutes?”. Well, what if it doesn’t take off for another 2 hours? Or an hour? Or 30 minutes? It’s the indeterminate element that’s being thwarted here by this rule, and none of… Read more »
dan powers
Guest

me and a lot of people i know would be much happier, if the derregulation act had never been passed…planes would be flying around at 60% load factors…slot controlled airports wouldn’t exist…delays would be minimal….fares would be higher, but fares would be regulated=they would cover the price of selling the product plus a small profit, employees would be compensated fairly….in general flying would be a pleasant experience

David SF eastbay
Member

I know what you mean, things seemed so much easier back them when things were more regulated

Stephen
Guest

So, if 904 flights have delays of over 3 hours in 6,450,285 flights – that’s 2.5 flights a day and 0.00009%. Why Cranky are you fighting so hard about these – they’re the extreme situations. Will airlines fail if they have to do something about this miniscule number of flights – it’s all very well being opinionated but your sheer apologism for the airlines is breath taking.

Ken
Guest

Because the 904 is the number that would actually be fined. Airlines will cancel any flight that approaches the 3 hr mark at (probably) 2 hrs instead of risking this extremely severe/stupid fine. As cranky points out, it will take time to get that aircraft back to the gate, if there is even a gate available.

gtrjay
Guest
Hi Cranky, I really enjoy your blog and you have much needed perspective and I have been a fan for years. However, I disagree 100% against your view of the DOT. Could things be done a little better? Sure However, keep in mind, that the airlines have years, well over 10 to be exact since the infamous NWA/DTW snowstorm in Jan 99′ to correct the problem. They kept dragging their feet and said they would self-police. What solid business self-polices? Years, and years go by and it only got worse. Too many examples to list here. The airlines brought this… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
Cranky I’ll say this about your new format, it’s now hard to follow along on the comments from my email inbox. Since now the reply comment just goes under the original comment, I don’t know who anyone is replying to or see the original comment they are referring to so I’m lost…..lol At least before when you hit reply the original comment was in the reply comment so you could keep up with things. I’ll have to remember this so if I reply to someones comment to include something from their comment so anyone can follow along if they just… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

And has anyone noticed that after two days of this that I don’t recall seeing any comments/replys being left by Kate. I would think she would have something to say/add to some of the comments.

By the way Cranky I liked your ……

Yesterday on “Delays of Our Lives” . . .

jaybru
Member
I think the airlines brought this regulation on themselves because of their lousy ability to communicate, when necessary, honestly and factually, with their customers. Now they have to live with it and, of course, we know every cancellation henceforce will be “we had to, you know, government regulations!” And the regs as I understand it, will require the airlines to display on their websites flight delay information for each domestic flight they operate. I’m sure that will be something, given what they already do. I invite someone from UA to justify the current information they provide under their website “Flight… Read more »
Flifo guy
Guest
If you were looking in the UA website you would have just seen what shows in their computer system. These reasons for flight arrivals and departures have been in place for decades and are not something new. Your info was slightly off, so here is the flight info from UA for the flight numbers you gave. *** UNITED AIRLINES *** F:0977/12MAR DXB/2342CT/OFF 1255A .06E IAD/0722CT/IN 607A .33E +OFF 822A .01L RAMP ORD/0900CT/IN 859A .03E ARRIVAL BAGGAGE DEPARTURE TERMINAL GATE CLAIM AREA TERMINAL GATE DXB CHK 109 IAD CHK C2 CHK CHK C23 ORD CHK C11 12 > *** UNITED AIRLINES… Read more »
Craig
Guest
“Cranky: Back to the 3 hour rule. Why is this better way to handle it than just putting slots at the airports? “Kate: It would have been better if the government stepped in and regulated congestion effectively but they didn’t. The Bush Administration didn’t want to do that, so this is the only thing that can be done since the airlines have refused voluntarily to reduce capacity.” And yet, the Bush Administration tried exactly that in 2008. In that year, the FAA proposed capping operations at LaGuardia, seizing unused slots, and auctioning them off for use by the highest bidder.… Read more »
ASFalcon13
Guest
This seemed like a misdirection play to me. Although I’m definitely not going to be sitting around praising the leadership abilities of our previous POTUS any time soon, I will admit that I’ve become increasingly aware of a general trend of using Bush to get attention and redirect an argument, similar to Reductio ad Hitlerium. Basically, the argument goes “I suggest that Bush did X while in office, thus we have to correct the problem and push Ythrough.” This argument implies three big assumptions: 1) that Bush actually did oppose X (see Craig’s counterexample above), 2) that Y is actually… Read more »
David Z
Guest
I think here’s one possible take. Ms. Hanni and whoever agrees with her can legislate this. Then if the airlines encounter weather issues, they can still outright cancel their flights yet stay within the boundaries of any applicable law. Sure people will complain about that, while the airlines can show figures and what-not how such cancellations have “practically solved” the problem without further hassle to everyone concerned. If cancelling the flights and refunding their money as conveniently and quickly as possible mainly fixes the problem of flight delays due to weather, then…what’s there to further complain about other than getting… Read more »
David M
Guest
“what’s there to further complain about other than getting maybe emotional about it?” People don’t want their money back. They want to get wherever they were trying to go. If they just wanted the money, they wouldn’t have bought the ticket in the first place. Canceling their flights doesn’t get people where they wanted to go. And it’s not always easy to clean up the mess, though it sometimes can be done. There are stories of United putting a 747 on LAX-SFO runs during the Shuttle days after weather problems practically grounded the SFO-based Shuttle operation, and I have twice… Read more »
David Z
Guest

But that’s not always possible.

That’s the thing. While people don’t want their money back, obviously they can’t (and shouldn’t?) necessarily force the airlines to just pull a plane out of thin air and bring them to where they want to.

That being the case, what then?

David SF eastbay
Member

Those are not stories. During the UA Shuttle days UA did that a number of times. They would combine a bunch of 737 flights and put in two or three 747’s to keep things on schedule as best they could. This was done in the afternoon to early evening hours since that’s the time things started to back up.

David M
Guest
This solution solves the wrong problem. The situation that triggers a penalty ought to be broken toilets, no food or water, things like that. Not some arbitrary time limit. I suspect that, while people don’t like being stuck in a plane, it’s the part about being stuck in a plane with broken toilets and no food and water that really pushes people past the breaking point. I suspect that thew long delays that Ms. Hanni is complaining about mostly occur waiting for departure, when stuff hadn’t broken or run out yet. The real problems arise when a flight lands or… Read more »
Mat
Guest
You can’t have it both ways. Either delays over 3 hours are a big problem, and we need to find some way to address them (which arguably the current rule does not do) or delays over 3 hours are a tiny problem, so no big deal. But you can’t argue (although you apparently want to) that 3 hour delays are a tiny problem that the airlines have already moved heaven and earth to resolve, so therefore we don’t need the regulation. That doesn’t make any sense – if it’s not a problem then no flights will run into the issue… Read more »
David Z
Guest

Oh and folks, we can do away with the arguably ad-hominem or comparing Ms. Hanni to this or that person attacks. While it feels good doing so, that doesn’t maybe resolve the issue being discussed here.

Of course, that depends if people agree if there’s an issue to discuss to begin with.

f9 ohio
Guest

This reminds me of the mother in law. she can talk all day and really never say anything. What’s next, we put Lindsay Lohan in charge of health care reform, cause she has an understanding of hospitals? We’ll Cranky, fog just became her issue, along with any other violently upset passanger that steps in front of me that still doesn’t under stand that although there are set backs now and then, they are still blessed with air travel as apposed to car,boat,or foot. I’m sure she’ll have her hands full very shortly, I work six days next week ha

Dan
Guest
Cranky, At first I was going to agree with your opposition, but I think I’ve come around to your side… Say last year’s flights were subject to the fines. Take the total fines and divide by the total number of operations (all 6.5 million of them) and you’d come out to about $426/flight if you assume a fine of $3M per flight. Conceptualized a bit differently, but still the same math, you could say that the probability of the event occurring (which is 917/6450285) multiplied by the value (a $3M cost) and that’s the “expected value” of the regulation. So… Read more »
writerross
Member
About 15 months ago I watched as Ms. Hanni was all over the news following a TACA international flight that diverted to Ontario Int’l Airport and the subsequent passenger inconveniences. I sent her some feedback (below). Although it’s now slightly outdated I have to tell you that I never received an acknowledgment, request for information or anything else. I have been a distressed passenger on more than one occasion. But I lost a lot of respect for her because her silence made clear to me that she sees only one side of the equation — airlines as an evil empire… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
Some people just don’t understand or want to believe the truth. Years ago I was on a TWA LAX-LHR flight and there was a problem with something after we were all on board with doors closed. They needed a part for something in the cockpit and didn’t have it and we had to wait until the 747 from JFK arrived so they could take the part from that plane and put in on our plane. Since it was an already cleared international flight they could not let people off to wait back in the terminal, everyone had to stay onboard.… Read more »
Mat
Guest

Except the airline was not telling you the truth. They could have let you back into the terminal. Now, when they boarded you they’d have had to re-do all the international paperwork, THAT”s what the gate agents were trying to avoid.
What does “cleared for an international flight” even mean? It’s just something they made up because it was more convenient to have people sit on the plane.

writerross
Member
Mat, There’s a little more invlved than just gate agents not wanting to redo the paperwork. At the large airport where I worked a returning international flight had to get the permission of airport operations, Customs/Immigration (ICE) and USDA for passengers to be allowed to disembark and anything new (such as fresh catering). If the FIS facility was closed and and not all of the parties could be reached that was it … passengers had to sit and wait while we struggled to make phone calls or get hold of someone. Before you say the airline was not telling the… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

Very true OldAirlineGuy, I’m sure most people don’t know that even the food and beverage carts are inspected and cleared and then security sealed prior to being boarded on the airplane. When it comes to an international flight, the airline is the last to have a say in anything. If the fed’s don’t like something, then that flight stays where it is.

Mat
Guest

Are you sure about that, or is this the same myth that prevented the Rochester people from deplaning because “TSA wasn’t present”?
In the example given the people boarded from the sterile area and would deplane into the sterile area. There’s no need for customs, or immigration, or USDA.
Never under-estimate people’s ability to invent excuses using other faceless organisation to avoid doing something they don’t want to do.

malbarda
Member
Cranky, yesterday I voted 1 – 0 in favor of Kati, and I was getting ready to call it 1 – 1, assuming today you would post a strong rebuttal :-). However, after reading your Twitter post, where you linked to a story on CNN.com, with a pilot giving his perspective on the JFK runway issue, I think it is Kati 2 – Cranky 0. In the last paragraph the pilot states something that I think, indirectly, is very telling about the whole debate here. The comment is: QUOTE “The airlines have planned for the traffic backup this spring at… Read more »
Rich
Guest
Malbarda, The example you mention about reducing delays at JFK will not work in all situations. My biggest problem with Ms. Hanni’s argument is that she attributes the problem completely to “over scheduling.” This, in my opinion, is way off the mark. Yes, reducing capacity at the busier airports will reduce delays, but only when the weather is good. Once bad weather arrives (and it will) then capacity reductions still will not totally eliminate the possibility of long ground delays. If you look at some of the big media events in the last couple of years (Austin & Rochester), you… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

Ok your faithful readers of Cranky will understand this. Will understand this so I’ll be the one to say it…….

Kate will be a good customer for Family Airlines as they will fly those big 747-400 aircraft instead of 5 small planes so that will make things less crowded on the ground and in the air…..lol

If any of you missed the Family Airline blog check it out as there are over 200+ comments to keep you busy on a rainy day. :-)

thomas.jaeger
Member
Here is a European perspective on this and something that I never understood about the US system in the first place but I think it is part of the problem and there would be some simple things that could improve this a lot with some investments. The main problem from my perspective is that each airline has to work with a certain number of gates, so there is an incentive to leave the gate even if there is no chance of taking off soon and a problem to get passengers deplaned unless others are inconvenienced by pushing back too early.… Read more »
Sean O'Neill
Guest
Thomas, I’m glad you brought up a Swiss/European perspective here. It’s ironic that so many of commentators on this blog are in the “travel” business but they sound as if they’ve never left the country. Other countries do things differently and, perhaps, in some cases, more efficiently. The current U.S. air model is not some perfect creation of the free market Invisible Hand, best left to its own devices to solve its own problems. It’s a Franken-system, grotesquely distorted by the power pressures of competing fiefdoms: municipalities, lobbying groups, lobbyists for corporations, and politicians of all kinds, trying to handle… Read more »
Rich
Guest
Sean, Great post. However, the incident in Rochester, MN did not have to do with a competitor not opening its gate to the stranded aircraft. Using the gate was not the issue. Continental Express has an agreement with Mesaba to use their ground services if they divert there. The issue was that the Mesaba employees wouldn’t let the passengers off of the plane because they erroneously believed that since the TSA security checkpoint was closed down for the evening, then passengers could not go into the gate area in the terminal. This not only was wrong but also lacked common… Read more »
George Smart
Guest

Excellent interview – separates the emotions from the cold hard facts. Well done!

Sean O'Neill
Guest
Cranky, I worry you’ll think I didn’t address the points you brought up on their merits. So if you’ll pardon me for cluttering your comments section, let me post a follow-up comment. Point: Tarmac delays are statistically insignificant. Counterpoint: From the perspective of a passenger stuck on the tarmac, the fact that the event is statistically significant doesn’t make it acceptable. Point: But if 3-hour plus tarmac delays are statistically insignificant, then the response is an overreaction. Counterpoint: You know why we have data now about how many 3-hour tarmac delays there have been in the past year, and why… Read more »
malbarda
Member

Sean O – that is an excellent, articulate and well argued post. Much better then “this woman needs to get a life”… Thanks for sharing!

Trent880
Guest
“Tarmac delays must be more common than we’re admitting if we have to cancel so many flights to avoid them. Please be consistent in your logial position.” If there is a 10% change a flight you push now will be stuck on the runway for 3+ hours, incurring an exorbitant fine, then you can cancel 10 flights even though only one of those 10 would have potentially been problematic. As the fine grows, the incentive to cancel all ten rather than risk one tarmac sit becomes even stronger. Sure enough that’s exactly what is happening. Hanni 0 Basic Economics 1.… Read more »
Justacustomer
Member

Great points Sean O!

I also agree with MileHighJoe: the airlines need a little “b!tch-slapping” and I’m glad there’s a Kate Hanni to give it to them.

None of this discussion would be happening if the airlines simply did the right thing (whatever that might be based on the situation) in a severe delay or divert situation. I know people who go ape$hit over an hour delay, yet when given a free snack box, drink or $50 voucher that outrage quickly goes away. I guess i’m saying the answer is free booze!

Greg
Guest

For those that are wondering what airline pilots think about this wonderful rule http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/major/48901-airlines-cancel-flights.html. These are the people that actually have knowledge of the operations.

AS
Guest
I’m with Kate too. I don’t think this rule is perfect, but if forces airlines to take action. They had years and chose not to do enough. 1. Why the airlines? You can argue many of the factors are out of their hands, but it has to be the airlines, they are the ones with who we exchange money for services. No-one else is a counterparty to individual travelers. 2. Why not airports and the DOT? Airports have slots, but airlines overschedule the slots. Current slot controls don’t have enough teeth. On a perfect day, at a slot-controlled airport, it… Read more »
malbarda
Member
Oh dear… http://www.virginamerica.com/va/news.do An apology to our travelers…. On behalf of everyone at Virgin America, we wish to apologize for the experience of guests on Flight 404 from Los Angeles International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (LAX-JFK), which was diverted on Saturday, March 13. The severe weather conditions, the effective closure of JFK, and the fact that we are not equipped to handle flights at Stewart International Airport created a difficult situation, but ultimately, it is our responsibility to ensure that our guests are handled with the care and respect that they deserve when they… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member

Good for Mr. Cush for taking responsibility for what happens at his airline and getting in touch with the passengers. Bob Crandall and Carl Icahn would never have done this.

gtjay
Guest

Cranky, they did nothing? Come on man. I thought for sure this incident would make you see the light LOL!

They sat in a tube for how many hours after landing in NY? I would much rather be in the terminal calling friends/family to come get me then hearing FA’s screaming at the pax (or the guests as VA refers to them).

gtjay
Guest

I have read what happened on the NY Post and USAToday.com/travel
If there is something about stairs being 30 min, that is news to me.

I know the FA’s & pilots that yelled at Pax (guests in VA speak) wasn’t cool. But you can’t regulate customer service, or common sense. :)