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MKE-SEA Flight Bumped 20+ Passengers (10/22/17)

MKE-SEA Flight Bumped 20+ Passengers (10/22/17)

Old Oct 23, 17, 9:44 am
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MKE-SEA Flight Bumped 20+ Passengers (10/22/17)

I had an interesting situation flying MKE-SEA last night on a 175 that I wanted to share (10/22/17).

The plane arrived in MKE ~45 minutes early, which seemed strange. The gate agent quickly got on the mic and told us that there were "intense" tailwinds that got the flight in so early that they would need to make some adjustments for the flight back. A few minutes later, the manager came on the horn and told us that they would need every last drop of fuel the plane could handle, and to compensate they would need to leave all checked baggage at MKE and 20 passengers needed to be bumped.

Shockingly, ~15 people jumped up right away for a $400 voucher. The process of reassigning seats and begging for more volunteers took roughly 45 minutes, in which time they didn't once increase the value of the voucher...which I found strange. They boarded families and F passengers first, and then did another round of begging for volunteers. 10 minutes later they got elites on board and began to board the rest of the plane. 2 passengers were held off, which I assume were the last 2 they needed.

It was an otherwise uneventful flight, but I've never been in a situation where that many people needed to be rerouted AND they suspended all checked luggage. Thankfully I only had carry-ons!
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Old Oct 23, 17, 9:51 am
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That's the problem of operating such a small aircraft at its operational limit. But, the flip side is that if a larger aircraft were assigned to the route, its PRASM would likely drop and it would then be dropped as a route.

This is not an uncommon ocurrence, but I have to wonder whether the $8K in vouchers (presume 20 people at $400) plus delivery of luggage which most carriers estimate at $150 per bag when all is said and done, does not outweigh a fuel diversion enroute. Perhaps the crew would have timed out.

Given the early arrival, how late did the aircraft actually push as compared to its originally-scheduled departure?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 9:55 am
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Odd, that is SkyWest 3331. It shows actual flight time of 4:23 which is over the average duration for that flight but still within the time it has taken several times in the last 10 days. It also appears to have departed 64 min late.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
That's the problem of operating such a small aircraft at its operational limit. But, the flip side is that if a larger aircraft were assigned to the route, its PRASM would likely drop and it would then be dropped as a route.

This is not an uncommon ocurrence, but I have to wonder whether the $8K in vouchers (presume 20 people at $400) plus delivery of luggage which most carriers estimate at $150 per bag when all is said and done, does not outweigh a fuel diversion enroute. Perhaps the crew would have timed out.

Given the early arrival, how late did the aircraft actually push as compared to its originally-scheduled departure?
Scheduled to take off at 5:08 and we talk off a few minutes past an hour late.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 10:23 am
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I can imagine someone with a checked bag being more likely to volunteer after the announcement that all checked bags would be left behind. Maybe that explains many of the fifteen who rushed to volunteer for the $400 voucher.

I too was wondering why they didn't just do a fuel stop, but crew eligibility limits could easily be the explanation.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 10:25 am
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I also wonder why not add a fuel stop? Would that be more economical and customer friendly?
I see the mention above of possible crew timeout?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by dmodemd View Post
Why not add a fuel stop? Would that be more economical and customer friendly?
It wouldn't work if the fuel stop would cause the crew to time out.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 10:36 am
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Could they not do a tech stop at a SkyWest base and swap for a reserve crew and refuel?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 11:15 am
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depends where E75 crews are based; obviously not a viable option if they're only on the west coast
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Old Oct 23, 17, 11:37 am
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Does the AS 20 min bag delivery guarantee apply when all checked bags are left behind?

Also, how do the bags get to SEA -- does AS send them on some other carrier or do they fill the hold on subsequent AS/Skywest flights on that route as capacity allows?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by QXflyer View Post
Could they not do a tech stop at a SkyWest base and swap for a reserve crew and refuel?
I think this was an evening flight, so it might have been too late in the day to arrange for reserve crew.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
depends where E75 crews are based; obviously not a viable option if they're only on the west coast
Originally Posted by QXflyer View Post
Could they not do a tech stop at a SkyWest base and swap for a reserve crew and refuel?
Might be quite the diversion to someplace like Fresno or Utah.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I think this was an evening flight, so it might have been too late in the day to arrange for reserve crew.
do you really think those decisions are made in the 5 or 10 min before departure? even if the inbound crew didn't report the winds while they were en route, ops and dispatch would certainly have been tracking the flight's progress, and would have had a couple hours to work on the situation
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Old Oct 23, 17, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
Does the AS 20 min bag delivery guarantee apply when all checked bags are left behind?
Not officially, but they should compensate, plus reimburse for any necessary interim expenses you incurred.

You should theoretically do better, albeit with more inconvenience.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
do you really think those decisions are made in the 5 or 10 min before departure? even if the inbound crew didn't report the winds while they were en route, ops and dispatch would certainly have been tracking the flight's progress, and would have had a couple hours to work on the situation
No, of course not, but as the day goes on, there are fewer options to rearrange crew schedules and/or delay or cancel other flights to obtain crew for a particular route. You can't undue what already happened early in the day. Early in the morning, most crew (unless they worked a late flight the day before) would be "fresh" and have the full amount of duty hours available, but as time progresses, this would be true for a smaller fraction of crew and those with only partial duty hours available would on average have the number of those hours drop.
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