Ready to go, but no pilots?

Old Feb 21, 19, 7:10 am
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Ready to go, but no pilots?

FA announces we are loaded and ready to go, but there are no pilots. She doesn't know where they are, has spoken to AA and they said they are "working on it."

120+ segments a year and this is a first.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 7:39 am
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Today?
Departure airport?
Flight number?

Someone here can likely provide you the answer to a fairly common situation, but that's hard without any information.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 7:56 am
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It is a relatively common occurrence to be waiting on one of the flight crew, in my experience over a number of instances. I cannot remember a time waiting for both, but the fact that waiting for one doesn't surprise me whatsoever, waiting for both drivers would be inconceivable either.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
It is a relatively common occurrence to be waiting on one of the flight crew, in my experience over a number of instances. I cannot remember a time waiting for both, but the fact that waiting for one doesn't surprise me whatsoever, waiting for both drivers would be inconceivable either.
Waiting at the gate, sure. This was after boarding was complete, and no pilots whatsoever.

Not really looking for exact reasons, just wondering if anyone else had been in a similar situation.

We disembarked, pilots now arriving at 0840.

FA said this was a first for her in 21 years.

998, ORD-MSP. 7ORD/AUTO REACCOM DLY FLT COMPLETED SEE N*P1AA0998ORD21FEB *0747*CRCYMG
3ORD/DCSN0930 CRL-DELAY DUE TO CREW LATE ARRV TO A/C *0753
2MSP/PRE1100 *0745
3MSP/ETD1140 LAC-LATE ARRV A/C DUE TO PRIOR CREW RELATED DELAYS *0746
7MSP/AUTO REACCOM DLY FLT COMPLETED SEE N*P1AA0998MSP21FEB *0757*CRCYMG
2ORD*/PRE1323 *0746
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by GrumpyYoungMan View Post
120+ segments a year and this is a first.
Surprising....that this is a first for you. During IRROPS at flights from hubs I've had it several times, other times was when the crew were stuck in traffic.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
Surprising....that this is a first for you. During IRROPS at flights from hubs I've had it several times, other times was when the crew were stuck in traffic.
It was a first in that we were completely boarded before the lack of pilots became an issue.

Late crews are nothing new, but to be fully boarded before it comes up is new to me. And the FAs, and the club agents, GAs, etc.

​​​​​​
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:24 am
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AA/DL/UA/WN all construct aircraft utilization days (some times more than 10 hours) that exceed the FAA-max pilot on-duty day. So yes, it's very routine to swap flight crews at some point during the day. If they were coming in off another aircraft the GA should have had some info. If they were starting their day at that airport and hadn't checked in yet that's something else.

http://web.mit.edu/airlinedata/www/2...%20Actuals.htm
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Old Feb 21, 19, 8:51 am
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I am surprised that neither the GA nor OP has experienced this, particularly at a hub. There is no requirement or reason to hold up boarding for the flight crew. If one waits, then it is 30-minutes from their arrival until the push. If the passengers are boarded, then the delay is minimized.

I presume that the inbound crew was either inbound from somewhere on a very early flight (as this departure was scheduled for 07:11) or was delayed enroute to the gate having overnighted at ORD. Not sure that Ops would have kept the FA updated as she would generally obtain her information from the flight deck and that was not staffed.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I am surprised that neither the GA nor OP has experienced this, particularly at a hub. There is no requirement or reason to hold up boarding for the flight crew. If one waits, then it is 30-minutes from their arrival until the push. If the passengers are boarded, then the delay is minimized.

I presume that the inbound crew was either inbound from somewhere on a very early flight (as this departure was scheduled for 07:11) or was delayed enroute to the gate having overnighted at ORD. Not sure that Ops would have kept the FA updated as she would generally obtain her information from the flight deck and that was not staffed.
Reckon that makes sense, thanks. Everyone I talked to seemed genuinely surprised by this, and it was a first for me.

Equipment got swapped to a 737, so that was the silver lining.

I appreciate all the feedback.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 9:53 am
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I saw something similar in HSV a few years back.

AA used to put the Dawn Patrol crew up at the hotel in the airport. They changed the policy, and put them in a slightly less expensive place 30 minutes away.

Enter severe icing conditions that morning, and it took the pilots a while to get to the airport...

It didn't matter. Conditions were such that we couldn't depart until MUCH later that day. I wound up on a flight to ORD, connecting to LHR and on to BKK, instead of the planned DFW-NRT-BKK.

Had a little trouble with the GA. He opened with "It is going to be HARD to get you to Tokyo any time soon." I had to tell him "Treat it as a new problem. My destination is Bangkok, not Tokyo." Then I handed him my prepared sheet of alternate routes.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by GrumpyYoungMan View Post
It was a first in that we were completely boarded before the lack of pilots became an issue.

Late crews are nothing new, but to be fully boarded before it comes up is new to me. And the FAs, and the club agents, GAs, etc.
​​​​​​
Yes, I've been on at least one flight that boarded early without the crew as the anticipated crew were running late because of weather that affected their inbound. Everyone was boarded because if we waited for them to show up before boarding began they were going to time out forcing an overnight at JFK. On one of those the doors were closed with about 30 seconds to spare.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:43 am
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If you fly enough you are likely to have this happen. It's usually no big deal. If you've never experienced it, you're either lucky or haven't flown enough.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
There is no requirement or reason to hold up boarding for the flight crew. If one waits, then it is 30-minutes from their arrival until the push. If the passengers are boarded, then the delay is minimized.
And with the push for D0, that GA was not about to be the one to blame for a late departure and wanted to be sure a late departure, if any, was to be blamed on late arriving crew.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by zarkov505 View Post
...snip..
Had a little trouble with the GA. He opened with "It is going to be HARD to get you to Tokyo any time soon." I had to tell him "Treat it as a new problem. My destination is Bangkok, not Tokyo." Then I handed him my prepared sheet of alternate routes.
Bravo to you for this! 😎 This is a piece of travel advice that makes it so much easier.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 12:59 pm
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This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. We fully boarded and at T+5 an announcement was made they were searching for pilots and not sure when they would arrive. Since it was getting warm on the a/c and had no pilots to cool down the plane we deplaned. We finally got pilots about 3.5 hours later.
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