3 Links I Love: Tarmac Delay Lives, Bumpy LAX-it, Lion Air Report

This week’s featured link:

DOT proposes changes to extended tarmac delay regulationATW
Just when you thought the tarmac delay rule was set in stone… the FAA looks to make some changes. These are actually fairly positive overall, and the rule gives some more flexibility where it helps most.

Image of the Week: At media day last week, United showed this slide of a test gate area in Cleveland. At least parts of this will be coming to a test in Chicago next year.

Two for the road:

LAX Faces Challenges On First Day Of New Ride-Hailing PolicyKPCC AirTalk
To the surprise of nobody, the roll-out of the new LAX plan to push all ridesharing and taxis out of the central terminal area has not gone entirely smoothly. They’ll figure it out, but you can listen to this discussion on the local NPR affiliate if you’re interested in diving into the details.

FINAL KNKT.18.10.35.04 Aircraft Accident Investigation Report PT. Lion Mentari Airlines Boeing 737-8 (MAX); PK-LQP Tanjung Karawang, West Java Republic of Indonesia 29 October 2018Republic of Indonesia
And speaking of details, do you hate short summaries that tell you the most pertinent info? Well, here’s the full 322-page report from Indonesia on what happened to the Lion Air 737 MAX that crashed. Everyone gets their share of the blame, as expected.

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6 Responses to 3 Links I Love: Tarmac Delay Lives, Bumpy LAX-it, Lion Air Report

  1. Bgriff says:

    That gate area looks wildly uncomfortable.

  2. mschoenmd says:

    re Tarmac delays – just gives the airlines more excuses to take advantages of customers

    • Nick says:

      What happens now is planes are in line for take off, and if they are 28th in line but they only have 30 min until they violate the rules, it’s to the airlines benefit to pull the plane out of line, and send it back to the gate. Then depending on the time of year, they have to de-ice again, and they get back in line and they’re 50th and by the time it’s their turn to take off the crew has timed out and now the whole flight is cancelled because if the plane didn’t turn around at that minute to get back to the gate it would be in violation.

      This way the can give it all they can to try to get the plane off with in the rules. 99.99999999% of the time the tarmac rule is only a problem at busy airports with bad weather. It’s not like on a perfectly clear sunny day AA parks 20 full planes at DFW to cook in the sun for 4 hours. This typically only happens in extreme circumstances, so it’s best to have the rules be flexible to give planes the maximum amount of time to take off, while still preventing carriers from having people on the planes indefinitely.

      • grichard says:

        @Nick: I agree with your logic, but my own values are different.

        Most people, like you, who defend loosening the tarmac rule assume that its defenders just think “long wait on tarmac=bad” without understanding that the rule doesn’t magically make the causes of delays go away. Probably some people do think that way, but others just have different preferences.

        My own preferences are:
        Long wait in terminal > Flight cancelled > 3-hour wait on ground

        Yours are probably:
        Long wait in terminal > 3-hour wait on ground > Flight cancelled

        I might think differently if the flight in question were across an ocean, but most of the time, I’d prefer a cancellation to the sorts of tarmac delays outlawed by this rule.

  3. Davey says:

    The photo of the gate demonstrates the increasing capital/labor trade-off and the move by United toward taking as much labor as possible out of the customer service process. The tablets, computers and self-service kiosks demonstrate this beyond any doubt.

    The problem is the gate works — along with much of the airline — on good days with no weather problems, no equipment breakdowns, no missed connections and no lost luggage. But, when delays, weather, emergencies and other situations intervene, no computer algorithm substitutes for the judgment of a well-trained gate agent. A computer can’t stretch to accommodate a customer racing to a clinic to resolve an illness or grave situation, for example, nor can it address families traveling together who need four to six seats etc…..

    Too often, the solution (unless you are GS or 1K) that the algorithm comes up with is “airline-centric” and makes no sense at all. None, unless you’re trying to solve the airline’s problem rather than the customer’s.

    I know labor isn’t cheap, but when all hell breaks loose, it is really nice to have a sympathetic ear from a customer service specialist who can act based on strong knowledge of the airline.

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