Hartsfield Delay - Gate Occupied

Old Feb 17, 12, 6:40 am
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Hartsfield Delay - Gate Occupied

Delta SFO to ATL flight, arrived 9:55 PM, gate occupied, waited 30 minutes until gate cleared. Question: at 10:00 PM on a Thursday night there are literally dozens of empty gates at Hartsfield. Why make airplane wait 30 minutes to use the assigned gate? The gate agent stated "lots of equipment down - only available gate" - total BS. Anyone have a reasonable explanation?
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:21 am
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No, but it's pretty SOP at Hartsfield. Wait till you miss your connection because you're idling alongside a line of empty gates, waiting to pull into the one occupied one which has a late-departing flight tying it up. That's happened to me, and it'll make your day. DL at ATL isn't much for improvising to salvage the customer experience.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 8:23 am
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As this is specific to DL's operations at ATL, please follow as it moves to the Delta SkyMiles forum. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 8:32 am
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Happened the other day to the flight I was on, in fact it also happened the flight before too. Come to think of it, this problem happens a lot.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 8:35 am
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Happens all the time in ATL, especially if you arrive a little early. It is disheartening to see empty gates here and there while your plane sits there burning fuel waiting.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by hotelman1 View Post
Delta SFO to ATL flight, arrived 9:55 PM, gate occupied, waited 30 minutes until gate cleared. Question: at 10:00 PM on a Thursday night there are literally dozens of empty gates at Hartsfield. Why make airplane wait 30 minutes to use the assigned gate? The gate agent stated "lots of equipment down - only available gate" - total BS. Anyone have a reasonable explanation?
Plenty of reasonable explanations:

- There are pax already at the gate waiting for the next flight on that A/C
- There are baggage handlers waiting to unload / reload for that specific flight/gate.
- Cleaners/caterers have to scheduled to service this particular plane
- A G/A has to be there to operate the jetway.
- If there is not another flight after this, then airport operations may be winding down and there is no staff to cover other gates.

This is just what I could think of off the top of my head. Changing gates can be a dispatching nightmare due to all of the other operations that need to happen.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 9:18 am
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Delta Ground Ops is the WORST in the industry.

Flew from JAX to ATL last Sunday. Flight time 39 minutes. We were early pilot proudly announced (to which I said "gate won't be ready" I was right!)

Time on ground to get a gate 40 minutes, we are now LATE... Time to find someone to DRIVE the jetway 10 minutes. LOL! They forgot we were sitting out there???? So now folks have actually MISSED a connection due to incompetence (There was NO excuse for them not to have someone to drive that jetway!)


It takes LONGER to get off the plane then the flight took/ REALLY?

And how much is this fiasco costing Delta. I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem a GOOD use of jetfuel for the plane to sit there waiting or have it taxi around and around and around..

(I swear they have some guy up there going "OMG A PLANE, DID ANYONE KNOW THERE WAS A PLANE LANDING? WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT" 10,000 times a day LOL!)


Maybe when SW starts flying this month some of the DL executives can sneak overthere and watch to see how they offload and reload a plane in the amount of time they do (Hint 1.. They have someone to DRIVE the jetway )
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Old Feb 17, 12, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by keeton View Post
Plenty of reasonable explanations:

- There are pax already at the gate waiting for the next flight on that A/C
- There are baggage handlers waiting to unload / reload for that specific flight/gate.
- Cleaners/caterers have to scheduled to service this particular plane
- A G/A has to be there to operate the jetway.
- If there is not another flight after this, then airport operations may be winding down and there is no staff to cover other gates.

This is just what I could think of off the top of my head. Changing gates can be a dispatching nightmare due to all of the other operations that need to happen.
Adding to the list, expanding on the above (in general, not specific to this flight)...Cue David Letterman:
10. For some reason a short (5-10 minute anticipated) wait became longer unexpectedly
9. Not every gate can handle every aircraft
8. Other/empty gates are staged for other flights (pax, bags, cargo)
7. Aircraft being staged for first flight out the next day
6. Jetway not operable
5. Computer issues at gates
4. Busy ramp could mean an even longer delay to get to another gate (more an issue w a concourse change)
3. Gatekeeper has too many other changes & some just have to wait. Early in the day yesterday ATL was a bit of a mess w weather, there can be a domino effect that impacts the operation for hours to come.
2. Crew wanted to be as close as possible to Chick-fil-a (or the employee bus)

And the #1 reason a flight holds out for a gate in ATL...
Captain just really likes giving the "well folks, welcome to ATL" speech to say there's no gate
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Old Feb 17, 12, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by keeton View Post
Plenty of reasonable explanations:

- There are pax already at the gate waiting for the next flight on that A/C
- There are baggage handlers waiting to unload / reload for that specific flight/gate.
- Cleaners/caterers have to scheduled to service this particular plane
- A G/A has to be there to operate the jetway.
- If there is not another flight after this, then airport operations may be winding down and there is no staff to cover other gates.

This is just what I could think of off the top of my head. Changing gates can be a dispatching nightmare due to all of the other operations that need to happen.
And misconnects, rebookings, 24-hour delays, etc. that arise from not changing gates can be a nightmare too. At the end of the day it is as I said above: DL ground ops at ATL prefers to stick to plan A no matter what, or how many pax plans it blows up, rather than improvise a little to get people moving again.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by PRWeezer View Post
Adding to the list, expanding on the above (in general, not specific to this flight)...Cue David Letterman:
10. For some reason a short (5-10 minute anticipated) wait became longer unexpectedly
9. Not every gate can handle every aircraft
8. Other/empty gates are staged for other flights (pax, bags, cargo)
7. Aircraft being staged for first flight out the next day
6. Jetway not operable
5. Computer issues at gates
4. Busy ramp could mean an even longer delay to get to another gate (more an issue w a concourse change)
3. Gatekeeper has too many other changes & some just have to wait. Early in the day yesterday ATL was a bit of a mess w weather, there can be a domino effect that impacts the operation for hours to come.
2. Crew wanted to be as close as possible to Chick-fil-a (or the employee bus)

And the #1 reason a flight holds out for a gate in ATL...
Captain just really likes giving the "well folks, welcome to ATL" speech to say there's no gate
#10 - Believable
#9 - The flight from SFO-ATL around that time is operated by a 757 which (along with the M88) seems to have the most flexibility with regards to gates. Had it been a 767 I could see an issue as less gates are compatible
#8 - At 10:00 at night? Most of the planes arriving at that time are RON
#7 - If it was a 5 AM arrival I could see that but at 10:00 PM you are probably not dealing with a lot of prepping aircraft for next day and at that time there is still the flexibility to make all of the gate changes for the next day to accommodate the gate change of SFO-ATL before passengers show up
#6 - Believable
#5 - For an arriving flight that probably does not have much in the way of connecting pax? Who needs to see the screen of connecting gates if there are no connections and if there are a couple have the Gate Agent come on board and announce before they deplane
#4 - 10:00 PM is not exactly peak time
#3 - Once again the time of day does not seem to support this
#2 - ROFLMAO believable
#1 - At 10:00 PM I am sure the Captain just wants Chick-Fil-A or leave on the employee shuttle

Though the reason I would most likely believe is that with it mainly being RON at that time of night Delta wants to cluster each bank in a certain area to minimize staffing needs (for example having the next 5 arrivals as A1, A7, A3, A9, A5 so you can keep all personnel in that area)
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Old Feb 17, 12, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by nystateofmind View Post
#10 - Believable.....
As said, just general reasons a flight could hold out for a gate, not specific to this flight. But the employee bus one is real, I've overheard crew saying, 'sweet, close to the bus' when capt announces arrival gate. My sentiments exactly when I hear we'll be arriving at T8, quickest exit out of ATL.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 11:07 am
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To me it seems like the root of a lot of the issues is Ground Ops runs lean. Usually when I've run into the issue there simply hasn't been a person available to run the jetway. It's always seemed to me to be a penny wise, pound foolish operation in ATL. There's no slack for changes, IROPs, etc.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 11:15 am
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I thought this thread would be about a Occupy ATL protest.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by DLdweeb View Post
Happens all the time in ATL, especially if you arrive a little early. It is disheartening to see empty gates here and there while your plane sits there burning fuel waiting.
Same here. ATL is my home airport and I couldn't begin to count how many times this has happened. Longest wait over an hour and a missed connection (back before I moved here)


It actually happened a few weeks ago and after the announcement, my seat mate said "Oh great, now even the planes are occupying"
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Old Feb 17, 12, 12:50 pm
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Unfortunately, this has happened to most of us in ATL more often than we would like.

I was coming in on an already BOS-ATL leg and ended up missing my connection to SEA. They ended up booking me ATL-MSP-SEA. The good news is that I was on paid F and they put me on AS for the MSP-SEA leg.
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