Friday, December 02, 2005


Just in case you may have missed it before, flight attendants don't like delays any more than you do. We especially don't like them when it means our late arrival cuts our crew rest down to nine and half hours.

That's nine and a half hours from when we open the door at our arrival destination till we close the door the following day. During those nine and a half hours we have to get all the passengers off the plane, get ourselves off, go through the airport to the shuttle area, wait for the shuttle, get to the van, check into our hotel, sleep, and go through that whole process in reverse to get back to the airport the next day.

Let me repeat, we don't like delays. They make us cranky, too!


Anonymous said...

I'm sure none of the crewmembers like delays. However, I'm not sure many passengers know why they occur. Of course there are mechanical problems occasionally and en route thunderstorm delays. But the ones that are the toughest on the pax are the "in trail traffic saturation" delays imposed by the FAA in order to sequence arriving traffic at a place like ORD. My experience is, that the folks at the gate are never told much by the FAA as to the nature of these delays. They just get a msg saying, "wheels up at ---- time".

I'd advise any high mileage traveler to visit:

This is a great resource for these kind of saturation and weather delays.

I purchased software (Flight Explorer) which shows a close-to- real time display of all airplanes the FAA is working in the US. You can add filters to show you how many planes are inbound to a specific airport.

For example, right now, (1030 AM EST)111 airplanes are in the air destined to ATL.

With only two arrival runways in constant use, if this flow is not spaced, chaos would break loose.

This year I have flown over 200 segments. I've kept a spreadsheet on every flight I've been on, in terms of "on time". DOT considers an airplane to be "on time" if it arrives within 15 mins of its scheduled arrival time.

The percentage, on my spreadsheet, is 71.2 percent ontime.

Food for thought.

Be careful


Fly Girl said...

Jerry: After many years in this business, I can tell you that the average flyer has neither the technical knowledge, expertise, nor desire to learn or understand the details that you talk about. It's a very small, technically sophisticated group that can follow or who wants to follow air traffic delays the way you to. Hell, I do this for a living, and I don't want to do that!

What I'd like most people to understand is that there isn't a conspiracy of silence to not tell you what's going.

Most decisions are not made by the flight crews, but are made elsewhere (dispatch, operations, ATC). We pass on what information that we have to you, but it is frequently incomplete. We don't lie to you, and sometimes we just don't know. So it's not only passengers that don't know why a delay may be occurring, and we are as frustrated as you.

A safe bet, however, is that if there's a snow storm going on, there are likely to be delays. Volumes of traffic, de-icing, snow removal, etc., all means a little extra time to get things going. It's frustrating, I know. For us, too.

Trust me on this one, though: Yelling at your flight attendant will not make the storm go away. It will not get you there any sooner. It may, however, result in your being removed from the flight.

Queen of Sky said...

But delays are ALWAYS the flight attendants' fault, therefore they SHOULD be yelled at! ;)

-Ellen aka Q of S

Janet said...

That sucks! It can take hours to get off the plane, out of the airport, onto a shuttle, and checked into a hotel. Blah.