After mechanical resolved, crew is missing

 
Old Nov 27, 12, 9:26 am
  #1  
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After mechanical resolved, crew is missing

447 11/26/12 CLT-DFW

Scheduled for 9:45 am, I got to the gate and there's no plane. It's out on the tarmac awaiting repair. They soon update departure to 11:00 and then 11:15. Then they decided they needed a part flown in from ORD and posted a new departure of 3:00 pm.

By 1:45, the repairs were done and the plane was at the gate. Only problem, no crew. GA announced that the crew had been called and were on the way. Another pax who had spoken to the GA told me that the crew (who had flown in on that plane the night before) had returned to their hotel when the delay got extended. It was 2:40 when the crew finally arrived, boarding began at 2:50, and we pushed back around 3:15.

Mechanicals suck, and long mechanicals suck worse, but I recognize that they're inevitable. But am I wrong to be annoyed that the absence of the crew extended the delay by an additional 45 minutes or so, on top of the almost 5 hours to fix the plane? From FlightAware, it looks like the part must have come in on 4334, arriving at 12:50p. I'm all for having a well rested crew, but shouldn't they have planned to return to the airport comfortably ahead of the updated departure time, instead of waiting for the all-clear call?

What is normal for the crew to do in a situation like this?
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Old Nov 27, 12, 9:35 am
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When operations posted a 3pm departure time for the flight, perhaps they knew something that the GA didn't know. So even though the repair was completed well before then, perhaps the flight wasn't leaving til 3pm anyways. A crew rest issue, perhaps? Or maybe your original crew was replaced with a different crew that wasn't available -- either due to a rest issue, or because they were inbound on another flight -- til 3pm?

Nonetheless, I'd be pissed!
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Old Nov 27, 12, 12:24 pm
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There might be something in the FA contract that requires AA to make certain accommodations during a lengthy delay, especially at a non-crewbase station.

So, say the crew arrived around 9am for the original departure, sat (with you) through rolling departure times, until a decision was made that a part had to be flown in and the new posted ETD (emphasis on E) was 3pm. That would be six hours of "airport appreciation time" for the crew; bad enough for the passengers, but I'd expect the union to have protection in place for that type of delay.

I don't think you're wrong to be annoyed, but I wouldn't pin this on the FAs. Look at it as good on the mechanics for fixing it faster than anticipated And though I do think the FAs could have arrived a good 10 minutes earlier to facilitate a 230pm boarding, maybe there were shuttle issues since they were off-schedule.

I think I'd be (at least equally) annoyed at my fellow passengers. Seriously, that plane can be boarded in less than 25 minutes if people use common sense and courtesy. A 250p boarding on a super delayed flight with supposedly motivated passengers should've been boarded in 15 minutes!
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Old Nov 27, 12, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
I'm all for having a well rested crew, but shouldn't they have planned to return to the airport comfortably ahead of the updated departure time, instead of waiting for the all-clear call?
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but IIRC, crews only get paid for time spent in the air. Would you show up at 10 AM if your boss told you he wasn't going to start paying you till noon?
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Old Nov 27, 12, 1:09 pm
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According to ExpertFlyer it was posted as a 1515 Estimated Time of Departure at 1319.

So, no, you are wrong - it was always planned as 1515 and the crew's actions had no effect.

FYI - had they tried to go earlier it's likely some pax wouldn't have been around to board and you still would have been delayed to 1515.
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Old Nov 27, 12, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by BStrauss3 View Post
According to ExpertFlyer it was posted as a 1515 Estimated Time of Departure at 1319.

So, no, you are wrong - it was always planned as 1515 and the crew's actions had no effect.

FYI - had they tried to go earlier it's likely some pax wouldn't have been around to board and you still would have been delayed to 1515.
It's not the 3pm to 3:15 that bugged me. It's that with the plane ready at 1:45, if the crew had been nearby, we could have been out by 2:30 or earlier.

No issue with the crew leaving, but I think they should have planned to return by 1:30 or so, a little bit after the part arrived. During lengthy posted delays, they often tell passengers not to go far away in case the departure gets moved back up; why shouldn't the same directive apply to the crew?

FWIW, there was another flight scheduled for 3:10 pm. That one should have been on time, except that the inbound was parked on the tarmac waiting for our flight to vacate the gate (CLT has only 2 AA gates). So that was a second flight that ended up with a delay...
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Old Nov 27, 12, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
No issue with the crew leaving, but I think they should have planned to return by 1:30 or so, a little bit after the part arrived. During lengthy posted delays, they often tell passengers not to go far away in case the departure gets moved back up; why shouldn't the same directive apply to the crew?
Again, I think the issue was with operations, not with the crew. I could be wrong.
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Old Nov 27, 12, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
It's not the 3pm to 3:15 that bugged me. It's that with the plane ready at 1:45, if the crew had been nearby, we could have been out by 2:30 or earlier.

No issue with the crew leaving, but I think they should have planned to return by 1:30 or so, a little bit after the part arrived. During lengthy posted delays, they often tell passengers not to go far away in case the departure gets moved back up; why shouldn't the same directive apply to the crew?

FWIW, there was another flight scheduled for 3:10 pm. That one should have been on time, except that the inbound was parked on the tarmac waiting for our flight to vacate the gate (CLT has only 2 AA gates). So that was a second flight that ended up with a delay...
The difference here is a flight can and will take off without all the passengers, but not with missing crew. There is no goose and gander relationship here.
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