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Delayed by adding passengers when returnin to the gate for fuel

Delayed by adding passengers when returnin to the gate for fuel

 
Old May 17, 09, 10:27 am
  #1  
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Delayed by adding passengers when returnin to the gate for fuel

I had an adventure last week compliments of Continental and Continental Express that I'm going to pm COINSIDER about. Describing the entire fiasco here on how CO handled the irreg ops moving me onto flights and others who were unknown to P Club and gate agents elsewhere bumping me off (Platinum with assigned seats) would just be a whining session on my part... I do have one specific question for the group related to my CO EXP. flight.
I was flying DAL-IAH-EWR last week, departing DAL at 8am with a 1.5hr layover in IAH. There were storms in the DAL area and after we pushed back and sat for a while the captain said they were being re-routed to the west and didn't load enough fuel and we needed more. We returned to the gate but were also told operations wanted to add passengers. Adding fuel took less than 5 minutes (I watched them do it) and boarding more passengers about 20. They added about 85 gallons (or whatever units used). I found it completely unaceptable to delay the flight even further to add passengers, especially when it took so long. Unless there were other delays or issues we weren't informed of it appeared there was no concern for missing connections in IAH. We pushed back again then went to the runway and sat, and sat with no information. Many other planes were departing. Then finally we were told we were cleared to go and the skies opened up delaying us more. We ultimately departed about 2.5 hrs late. The ironic thing is we got air born and in the decent 1/2 hr later the captain said we took the original route and had too much fuel and he dropped the landing gear at a high altitude to burn excess off. It was a terrible descent with the gear down due to noise and vibration at those speeds. I kind of suspect much of the delay was them trying to take the shorter route to save fuel but who knows.
I completely understand weather delays but to add passengers is an unacceptable added delay as we could miss an opportunity to depart. I can't say this is the ultimate reason me and others missed connections but it demonstrated no concern from CO EXP either.
Is this common? I've never been delayed and they've returned to add passengers making it worse.
Thanks
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Old May 17, 09, 11:10 am
  #2  
 
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Weather is such an unpredictable force of nature that you have to understand that airlines can not always predict where their flight plan will take them nor how long it will take to reach their destination. You plan for the worst, in terms of being diverted and/or circling, and hope for the best. Once a flight plan is filed, aircrafts must have enough fuel to reach their furthest alternate airport.

If a plane returns to the gate and there is time to add on the customers that had missed the flight, we will take the time to add them. Imagine yourself being one to those customers standing at the window watching your missed flight return and you not being allowed to board.

As far as receiving zero information while waiting your take off slot, well that's flight deck decision. Your complaint about your flight getting it's original air route back and having to burn off fuel, that's just the way it is with airplane....you can't land "heavy". It's all about safety.
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Old May 17, 09, 11:14 am
  #3  
 
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And here we have it!

Jeez....many of you folks b*tch too much.

While you didn't like that ops added customers - the customers they added loved it.

Last edited by CO757; May 17, 09 at 1:06 pm
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Old May 17, 09, 11:35 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by CO757 View Post
Jeez....many of you folks b*tch to much.

While you didn't like that ops added customers - the customers they added loved it.
Plus 1.
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Old May 17, 09, 11:48 am
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I don't think this warrants the attention of CO Insider. Perhaps you could send a letter to CO customer care.
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Old May 17, 09, 11:56 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by OPFlyer View Post
I don't think this warrants the attention of CO Insider. Perhaps you could send a letter to CO customer care.
And about one month later you will receive a reply containing very generic platitudes as below:

"We appreciate that you brought these matters to our attention. It is with your input that we can improve our airline.

Although no carrier can guarantee a flight schedule, we truly regret that your planned schedule was adversely affected. Your continued confidence in Continental to provide safe reliable transportation and exemplary customer service is essential to us. We look forward to welcoming you on board another flight in the near future and appreciate your understanding."
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Old May 17, 09, 12:22 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Totoro View Post
And about one month later you will receive a reply containing very generic platitudes as below:

"We appreciate that you brought these matters to our attention. It is with your input that we can improve our airline.

Although no carrier can guarantee a flight schedule, we truly regret that your planned schedule was adversely affected. Your continued confidence in Continental to provide safe reliable transportation and exemplary customer service is essential to us. We look forward to welcoming you on board another flight in the near future and appreciate your understanding."
And that's about what this complaint deserves, IMO.

Unless the airline knows that they have an earlier wheels-up time and chooses to take a delay to load additional passengers and take the further delay I see no real basis for complaint here. Maybe an extra 15 minutes on the ground would mean that ATC could allow a direct routing, saving 30 minutes in flight time over the originally filed plans.

In this case, unless there is a reason to believe that the 15 minutes on the ground caused a missed slot that further delayed the flight by 2+ hours (and I doubt that based on the storms) there is no reason to complain, IMO.

The only real beef I'd listen to were I CO management is the lack of communication from the cockpit while waiting out the delay. I'd have an "every 30 minutes" policy even if there was no new data, just to make sure the customers know that we know how annoyed they are.
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Old May 17, 09, 12:31 pm
  #8  
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The customers added could have been some from a later flight that would have otherwise missed their connections. If that's the case those pax are probably very happy with CO making a proactive choice to get them to their destination.
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Old May 17, 09, 12:37 pm
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Weather and ATC are such fluid situations that crews have to make their best guesses based on limited information, and sometimes they guess wrong (e.g. the re-routings). Other than not getting on the PA more often, I find no fault with how CO operated in this situation, including taking on more passengers, which they likely wouldn't have done if there was chance they would have missed a slot.

Last edited by PSU Mudder; May 17, 09 at 3:00 pm Reason: spelling, grammar
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Old May 17, 09, 12:38 pm
  #10  
 
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Sounds like you need to get out a bit more....

Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
There were storms in the DAL area and after we pushed back and sat for a while the captain said they were being re-routed to the west and didn't load enough fuel and we needed more.
Nothing unusual about that.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
We returned to the gate but were also told operations wanted to add passengers. Adding fuel took less than 5 minutes (I watched them do it) and boarding more passengers about 20. They added about 85 gallons (or whatever units used).
The weather had caused disruptions, so it appears that DAL ops proactively put more pax on your flight when they had the chance. This appears to have been a nominal decision.

I'm curious.... are they now installing fuel gauges at each passenger's seat? And if it were an 85-gallon upload (roughly 570 pounds), it would've taken longer than 5 minutes anyhow. Simply connecting the hose to the aircraft and dialing in the upload takes at least that long.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
I found it completely unaceptable to delay the flight even further to add passengers, especially when it took so long. Unless there were other delays or issues we weren't informed of it appeared there was no concern for missing connections in IAH. We pushed back again then went to the runway and sat, and sat with no information.
The flight was already delayed; adding more pax appears to have done more good than harm. And you answered your own question: obviously there were more delays than you were aware of, because when the aircraft taxied back out, it had to wait a while longer to actually take off.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
Many other planes were departing.
They weren't going to Houston.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
We ultimately departed about 2.5 hrs late. The ironic thing is we got air born and in the decent 1/2 hr later the captain said we took the original route and had too much fuel and he dropped the landing gear at a high altitude to burn excess off. It was a terrible descent with the gear down due to noise and vibration at those speeds.
The crew was looking out for you and you still complain; they managed to get the shorter route to save time. Dropping the gear early is a prudent and safe method for burning off excess fuel.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
I kind of suspect much of the delay was them trying to take the shorter route to save fuel but who knows.
You sure as heck don't.

And even if that had been the case, you also don't know whether any additional delay prior to takeoff was ultimately absorbed by the shorter flight time.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
I completely understand weather delays
With all due respect: no, you don't.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
but to add passengers is an unacceptable added delay as we could miss an opportunity to depart. I can't say this is the ultimate reason me and others missed connections but it demonstrated no concern from CO EXP either.
No such opportunity was missed, as you yourself mentioned earlier in your post. And the airline demonstrated a healthy concern for the pax who were enplaned during the fuel upload.

It truly is your world. The rest of us, well, we just live in it.


Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
Is this common? I've never been delayed and they've returned to add passengers making it worse.
Common to accommodate pax without inconveniencing others? I would hope so.


Originally Posted by CO757 View Post
Jeez....many of you folks b*tch to much.
Amen.

Last edited by mendicantfriar; May 17, 09 at 12:40 pm Reason: Formatting.
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Old May 17, 09, 12:46 pm
  #11  
 
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I had a similar experience. My flight from YYZ-EWR was delayed. The previous was delayed and came back to the gate for re-fueling. Then, a few pessengers were put on the previous flight, so that they won't miss their connections in EWR. But, unfortunately, only the pessengers without checked bags were allowed to get on the previous flight.

It seems to me, this is a quite reasonable solution. The previous is delayed anyways. Why don't take a few more if it could?
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Old May 17, 09, 12:54 pm
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DAL, being one of the closest COEX stations, oftentimes gets the first delays and cancellations in the system. Although the storms were in Dallas as you mentioned, it pushed your time slots back and caused the issue. DFW doesn't experience as many delays due to weather with respect to CO, IMO...
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Old May 17, 09, 2:50 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by CO757 View Post
Jeez....many of you folks b*tch too much.

While you didn't like that ops added customers - the customers they added loved it.
I agree too. I am sure if the OP had reached the gate one minute late and was denied boarding and then learnt that not only did the aircraft leave 2.5 hours but returned to the gate and did not pick him and many other pax missing their connections at IAH then he would be complaining too.
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Old May 17, 09, 4:10 pm
  #14  
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Let me clarify a few points as many of you are quick to judge and have wise-a__ comments with partial information. As a Plat with almost a million miles on CO I have a feel for what's reasonable. I've seen a lot.
There were no storms in DAL, they were enroute.
The fuel truck was outside my window and was still parked there from the original departure so it did only take 5 minutes. I could read the gage as did others. It was interesting to watch them top it off.
Captain said it would be just a few minutes and set the expectations of the passengers.
We were told we did have a departure slot and the added delay put it in jeapardy.
Yes it is my world and the world of the rest of the passengers onboard with connections in jeapardy after we depart. Airlines always preach to be ready to go at a moments notice in case a window opens. Pilots always say that they want to be at the runway for that reason. If that changes let us know.
I have been that person watching planes depart a few minutes after I get to the gate. I don't like it but understand I was late.
My day continued by being put on and being bumped off 4 flights which is why I'm pm'ing COInsider. I said I wasn't telling the whole story.
I
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Old May 17, 09, 4:34 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by qlabdad View Post
We were told we did have a departure slot and the added delay put it in je[o]pardy.
If that happened then there is a reasonable basis for a complaint, IMO. But it is also possible that the slot disappeared while the fuel was being loaded so they decided to take the extra pax.
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