SEA delays due to ATC out of contol?

Old Mar 2, 18, 9:07 pm
  #1  
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SEA delays due to ATC out of contol?

I have to connect from GEG to SEA for most flights and have been delayed three times in two weeks and five times in the last three months due to ATC issues in Seattle. I have either missed connections or had to run to the gate. Its a recurring issue lately. This has been happening more and more frequently since last fall.

I get that AS does not control ATC - but why cant they figure out that they need to modify scheduling of flights to deal with it until SEA gets their act together? On two occasions, I have actually had to turn around an return home, missing an important client meeting (and costing me a lot of money). Complaints to AS only result in a token reply that they are working on it and thank me so much for being a 75K flyer..... Fed up with them.... Delta has pretty good GEG - SEA service now and, as much as I dislike them.......
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Old Mar 2, 18, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
I have to connect from GEG to SEA for most flights and have been delayed three times in two weeks and five times in the last three months due to ATC issues in Seattle. I have either missed connections or had to run to the gate. Its a recurring issue lately. This has been happening more and more frequently since last fall.

I get that AS does not control ATC - but why cant they figure out that they need to modify scheduling of flights to deal with it until SEA gets their act together? On two occasions, I have actually had to turn around an return home, missing an important client meeting (and costing me a lot of money). Complaints to AS only result in a token reply that they are working on it and thank me so much for being a 75K flyer..... Fed up with them.... Delta has pretty good GEG - SEA service now and, as much as I dislike them.......
Funny you would consider switching to DL given that they are partially to blame for the situation. That and itís winter. Little harsh, but not far from the truth - sorry.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 9:44 pm
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BS. It wasn't winter in October when this happened twice, and regardless... when it happens over and over, shouldn't someone figure out they they should adjust scheduling and not offer itineraries with a 40 minute connection when it is predictable that there will be a 40+ minute delay while the departing flight sits on the tarmac in GEG, based on recent, repeated, experience ? A little harsh? Tell yourself than when you are trapped on a plane knowing you are missing the only connecting flight to your destination for the day and will have to fly back, wasting a day.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 9:52 pm
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Try flying out of SFO when thereís a sprinkle of rain or fog - 1/2 hour delays and/or 30+ minute ground holds at departure airports. And, thatís in the early morning. By the afternoon, itís into the 2+ hours sometimes. Any airline would still gladly sell you a 40 minute connection at SFO in July or December even though thereís a 70% chance youíre not gonna make that connection. If you must make a connection, allow for 2+ hours plain and simple.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 9:59 pm
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Originally Posted by DrAlex View Post
Try flying out of SFO when thereís a sprinkle of rain or fog - 1/2 hour delays and/or 30+ minute ground holds at departure airports. And, thatís in the early morning. By the afternoon, itís into the 2+ hours sometimes.
I did just that today. On time departure from SFO (more than a sprinkle today) and on time arrival (into SEA, so on topic, too).
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Old Mar 2, 18, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
I did just that today. On time departure from SFO (more than a sprinkle today) and on time arrival (into SEA, so on topic, too).
Color me surprised! Speaking of that, OP: what was the weather like in SEA each of the times you were delayed? Was there Ďweatherí or were these ATC delays due to something else?
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Old Mar 2, 18, 10:26 pm
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They were specifically stated, by the pilot on intercom, as ATC backups.... smart ....
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:13 pm
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Don't understand the OP's point. It doesn't do any good to pad the schedule for ATC delays, because on the days when there are no delays, the plane will just arrive 45 minutes early and sit waiting on the tarmac for a gate at SEA. Also, they tend to load up and wait because there is a chance they will receive an earlier takeoff clearance. They have to pay the pilots based on block times, so adding in unnecessary padding based on the chance of delays is costly. Best option is to not book a 40 min connection in SEA because there is a good chance of missing it if any ATC delays are in effect.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
Complaints to AS only result in a token reply that they are working on it and thank me so much for being a 75K flyer..... Fed up with them.... Delta has pretty good GEG - SEA service now and, as much as I dislike them.......
Hmm...
Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
Yeah, I'll bet Delta is drooling over this mess.... and they are getting my business from now on.
Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
Have requested a status match from Delta, who I hate, and I hope they don't treat their loyal customers like AK has come to find acceptable. Done with Alaska Airlines, sadly.
Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
Done with the Eskimo.
I'll believe you're switching when you stop posting about it.
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:50 pm
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Originally Posted by sltlyamusd View Post
Don't understand the OP's point. It doesn't do any good to pad the schedule for ATC delays, because on the days when there are no delays, the plane will just arrive 45 minutes early and sit waiting on the tarmac for a gate at SEA. Also, they tend to load up and wait because there is a chance they will receive an earlier takeoff clearance. They have to pay the pilots based on block times, so adding in unnecessary padding based on the chance of delays is costly. Best option is to not book a 40 min connection in SEA because there is a good chance of missing it if any ATC delays are in effect.
Well the "OP's (me) point is - if experience says that the departure is likely to be delayed - either address the problem or don't offer itineraries that will probably fail. Sure, I can book a flight a few hours earlier , and then waste those hours sitting in one airport or another.... So, because AS cant figure this out, am I to go to the airport a few hours before needed just to make up for a possible/predictable screw up on their part?
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Old Mar 2, 18, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jinglish View Post
Hmm...



I'll believe you're switching when you stop posting about it.
I keep trying to love the airline that I used to champion religiously, when they live up to what they used to be, I'll be happy to.

Last edited by dayone; Mar 3, 18 at 12:17 am Reason: Removed personal attack language.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 10:09 am
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I'm having far fewer DL "ATC delays" out of SEA than I am on AAG. May be only anecdotal, but I'd like to see the stats on this. I've also had a couple of QX flights cxl due to "ATC - forced cancelations". For whatever reason, it seems AAG is affected by this in greater proportion than their share of SEA traffic.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
So, because AS cant figure this out, am I to go to the airport a few hours before needed just to make up for a possible/predictable screw up on their part?
I think OP mentioned they were 75k? If so, switching to an earlier flight on day of travel should be an option. On days I'm connecting in SEA from PDX, I keep an eye on what's happening with the first shuttle flights of the day. If everything is on time, I keep my regularly scheduled flight and make my connection just fine. However, if I'm starting to see delays on the PDX-SEA run, I head to the airport early and switch to an earlier flight, just to ensure I'll have more of a cushion at SEA.
Not sure if the GEG-SEA flights are often enough to make this a workable strategy?
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:37 am
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Let's not let the facts get in the way here. It took <2 minutes to look through the on-time percentages for this route on AS. Of 13 daily nonstops, only 689 at 09:40 has an abysmal ontime rate of 54%. The other 12 are between 80% and 100% ontime with 8 of those 12 at over 90%.

So, the answer to OP's question is that he has a false premise. The short connections are offered because most passengers make them most of the time. I am not suggesting that he has not had a run of bad luck, but that is all it is and he clearly did not do the simple research before complaining and that is likely why he got a cut & paste answer. From a customer service perspective it is better than saying, "you are wrong".

That said, it is OP who chooses to book 40-minute connections. AS offers them because people want them. If OP does not, that is what consumer choice is all about. Easy solution: don't book 40-minute connections.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 1:37 pm
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Comparable stats for DL, with a typical eight daily flights:
Four flights show 100% on time
The other four show 93, 68, 81, and 76.
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