Waiting in ATLANTA

Old Feb 18, 13, 10:16 am
  #1  
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Waiting in ATLANTA

How can Delta in ATLANTA, their major hub, allow a flight to delayed over 60 minutes when the plane is in the hanger waiting for a tug to transport to the gate. The GA states there is only 1 tug? Certainly sounds unreasonable? Delta #1752
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Old Feb 18, 13, 10:29 am
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You expect DL to have dozens of extra DC-9-50's available?
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Old Feb 18, 13, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by UpgradeMe View Post
You expect DL to have dozens of extra DC-9-50's available?
No, but I expect they have more than one tug in ATL.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by DLdweeb View Post
No, but I expect they have more than one tug in ATL.
I expect most frequent flyers not to take a gate agent announcement as having "all the facts".
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Old Feb 18, 13, 11:20 am
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Maybe they should get a hitch for the Porsche Cayennes and they can be used as "emergency tugs" when DYKWIA's are waiting for their aircraft.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 11:32 am
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While I can't give a specific reason why the plane was "towed" to the gate late, towing planes from hangars or remote stands in Atlanta isn't easy.. The "tugs" are actually "super tugs" that have the ability to pull these aircraft across the airfield.. They must cross active runways, so coordination with ATC at all times is necessary, hence only certain people being certified for this job. If you've ever noticed, there are generally many aircraft sitting in a remote pad on the north side of the airfield, as well as the Delta hangars. This causes traffic jams with idle planes as well..

While there are quite a few more than "1" tug available, it's quite possible they were all being used on a Monday, when a full schedule is in effect after a reduced schedule Sunday where many planes were sitting idle.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 11:38 am
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Here's a picture of one of the Goldhofer's (aka super tug's) --

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4739361790/
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Old Feb 18, 13, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Josher747 View Post
While I can't give a specific reason why the plane was "towed" to the gate late, towing planes from hangars or remote stands in Atlanta isn't easy.. The "tugs" are actually "super tugs" that have the ability to pull these aircraft across the airfield.. They must cross active runways, so coordination with ATC at all times is necessary, hence only certain people being certified for this job. If you've ever noticed, there are generally many aircraft sitting in a remote pad on the north side of the airfield, as well as the Delta hangars. This causes traffic jams with idle planes as well..

While there are quite a few more than "1" tug available, it's quite possible they were all being used on a Monday, when a full schedule is in effect after a reduced schedule Sunday where many planes were sitting idle.
Monday follows Sunday every darn week. Delta might want to plan around that.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Josher747 View Post
While I can't give a specific reason why the plane was "towed" to the gate late, towing planes from hangars or remote stands in Atlanta isn't easy.. The "tugs" are actually "super tugs" that have the ability to pull these aircraft across the airfield.. They must cross active runways, so coordination with ATC at all times is necessary, hence only certain people being certified for this job. If you've ever noticed, there are generally many aircraft sitting in a remote pad on the north side of the airfield, as well as the Delta hangars. This causes traffic jams with idle planes as well..

While there are quite a few more than "1" tug available, it's quite possible they were all being used on a Monday, when a full schedule is in effect after a reduced schedule Sunday where many planes were sitting idle.
If you look at an airport map of ATL, http://155.178.201.160/d-tpp/1302/00026AD.PDF , it is pretty apparent that a tow from the North Ramp is going to involve crossing two active runways and several taxiways. It may just be that Atlanta Ground won't approve a tow until there's a lull in traffic as it would be too disruptive to departing and arriving traffic and would involve coordination between both ground control and the tower controller for each runway being crossed (each runway has its own tower frequency) as well as the controller for the ramp into which it's being towed.

In short, a tow at ATL isn't as simple as it sounds.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 1:45 pm
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
Here's a picture of one of the Goldhofer's (aka super tug's) --

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4739361790/
That's for posting -- that thing could do anything !

Bob H
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Old Feb 18, 13, 2:29 pm
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It is a holiday technically, and also vacation week for many schools. Tugs may be busy and not all of them might be able to pull a DC-9-50 (not in the sense of weight but the actual attachment).
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Old Feb 18, 13, 2:39 pm
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A 60 minute delay doesn't mean that it will take 60 minutes to tug the plane to the gate. Even if the tug does make it in 20 minutes (not unreasonable imo), there still is paperwork, fueling, loading bags and so on, all with little to no advance notice, and potentially getting pilots unless the original aircraft was also a DC9.

Last edited by bpe; Feb 18, 13 at 8:47 pm Reason: clarification
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Old Feb 18, 13, 4:48 pm
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It looks like the delay somehow snowballed into a hair less than 2 hours.

https://www.delta.com/flifo/servlet/...3&request=main
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Old Feb 18, 13, 8:00 pm
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Originally Posted by bpe View Post
A 60 minute delay doesn't mean that it will take 60 minutes to tug the plane to the gate. Even if the tug does make it in 20 minutes (not unreasonable imo), there still is paperwork, fueling, loading bags and so on, all with little to no advance notice, and potentially getting pilots if the cancelled flight wasn't a DC9 as well.
OP didn't mention any cancellation. Do you have additional info?
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Old Feb 18, 13, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by udontknowme View Post
OP didn't mention any cancellation. Do you have additional info?
Sorry - didn't mean cancelled flight, but rather the aircraft that was supposed to fly that flight instead of the replacement DC9
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