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DL199, SEA-INC, Dec 1, returned to SEA after reaching west-central Alaska

DL199, SEA-INC, Dec 1, returned to SEA after reaching west-central Alaska

Old Dec 2, 16, 11:06 am
  #1  
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DL199, SEA-INC, Dec 1, returned to SEA after reaching west-central Alaska

My wife traveled yesterday on DL199, a 767 from SEA to ICN. The plane pushed back from the gate at SEA as planned, on schedule, at 11:49 AM (two minutes early). 4-1/2 hours later, the plane reached a position near Nome, AK. The plane then returned to Seattle, apparently on account of two non-functioning lavatories and a concern that the others might also break down. Passengers were informed that a diversion to Anchorage would not work because ANC does not have the capability to repair toilets.

The diverted flight touched down in Seattle at 7:39 PM Thursday evening. The flight will operate again today (Dec. 2) as DL 9901, departing at 11:00 AM. Most passengers, apparently regardless of class of service (my wife was in Business), were accommodated at Delta’s expense at a Doubletree Hotel near SEA. Passengers were not offered access to their checked baggage. Passengers will apparently receive a $100 check from Delta for the inconvenience.

Situation begs a few questions:
(1) If you’re 4-1/2 hours into a 12 hour flight (38%), and the problem is broken toilets, why not just go ahead and complete the flight? Maybe cut beverage service in half.
(2) Seems silly that ANC cannot attend to broken toilets. Delta operates out of ANC. What would happen if a plane were parked at the gate at ANC and a problem with the toilets was noted?
(3) $100 seems a little slight in terms of compensation. Imagine the meetings missed, the “no show” fees for reservations at destination hotels, and missed connections to other flights that might not be on the same reservation. And the misery of 8 hours of utterly pointless time on an airplane.

Last edited by andrewk829; Dec 2, 16 at 4:44 pm
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Old Dec 2, 16, 12:07 pm
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Situation begs a few questions:
Originally Posted by andrewk829 View Post
(1) If you’re 4-1/2 hours into a 12 hour flight (38%), and the problem is broken toilets, why not just go ahead and complete the flight? Maybe cut beverage service in half.
May have been a more global problem with the water system on the airplane. Also, they may have made a decision that it's logistically easier for them to repair the aircraft in the US with their own labor.


Originally Posted by andrewk829 View Post
(2) Seems silly that ANC cannot attend to broken toilets. Delta operates out of ANC. What would happen if a plane were parked at the gate at ANC and a problem with the toilets was noted?
They have more options if they divert to a hub. Also, relief crews as it's likely the crew would have timed out and there is no crew base in ANC.

Originally Posted by andrewk829 View Post
(3) $100 seems a little slight in terms of compensation. Imagine the meetings missed, the “no show” fees for reservations at destination hotels, and missed connections to other flights that might not be on the same reservation. And the misery of 8 hours of utterly pointless time on an airplane.
Can always write to DL and ask for more. It's certainly worth a few skymiles.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 1:04 pm
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I am surprised they did not continue at least to NRT, it was probably about the same distance to NRT and SEA from turnaround point.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by AntonS View Post
I am surprised they did not continue at least to NRT, it was probably about the same distance to NRT and SEA from turnaround point.
NRT would be about a thousand miles further (2900 versus 1900) and that would be going into a headwind. The flying time isn't even close -- a difference of 3 hours to SEA versus 6.7 hours to NRT with a 100 mph wind at an assumed true airspeed of 462 knots (531 mph).
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Old Dec 2, 16, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by andrewk829 View Post
Passengers will apparently receive a $100 check from Delta for the inconvenience.
That does seem lame.

David
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Old Dec 2, 16, 1:45 pm
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If they had diverted to ANC most likely a new plane would have had to be ferried in there from another location (SEA, MSP, DTW, etc) and everyone would have been stuck in ANC for 12-24 hours minimum, and depending on crew/plane availability and the relatively remote location easily up to 48 hours.

From there the plane you were one would have had to be ferried to SEA anyhow.

Logistically it was probably much much easier to have you divert back to SEA where the proper maintenance can be done quickly.

Even if they had asked AS for parts, AS doesn't operate 767's so it's unlikely they would have had the part to give to DL even if they were the best of friends.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 2:35 pm
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This being flyertalk I am actually quite surprised that nobody has brought up yet mileage credit for the 8 hour flight from/to SEA.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 2:42 pm
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After the fact, it may turn out that it might have been OK to continue the flight either to ICN, or even divert to NRT. Or maybe not. Maybe the toilet issue was a symptom of a larger problem. Without an on-board mechanic to troubleshoot you can't second guess the captain's call.

In an emergency, land at the nearest suitable airport. If less urgent, you have more options available.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
After the fact, it may turn out that it might have been OK to continue the flight either to ICN, or even divert to NRT. Or maybe not. Maybe the toilet issue was a symptom of a larger problem. Without an on-board mechanic to troubleshoot you can't second guess the captain's call.

In an emergency, land at the nearest suitable airport. If less urgent, you have more options available.
Yeah when it comes to issues that may or may not be serious, I'll deal with the travel hassle and rather them be safe then sorry...especially on flights over the ocean.

An emergency diversion to DUT or somewhere in Kamchatka is not preferable to having to wait around SeaTac overnight.

I don't think that people take that into consideration enough...just look at UA's Goose Bay "adventure" to see what can happen in emergency diversions.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by drminn View Post
This being flyertalk I am actually quite surprised that nobody has brought up yet mileage credit for the 8 hour flight from/to SEA.
I was wondering about that Do you get extra MQM+miles for the portion flown then in addition to the re-booked trip?
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Old Dec 2, 16, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by xolinlevh View Post
I was wondering about that Do you get extra MQM+miles for the portion flown then in addition to the re-booked trip?
You sure do! SEA-SEA clocks in at zero miles, so that's what one should expect from DL.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 4:51 pm
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With the inbound DL199 a no-show at ICN, that left many stranded outbound passengers at ICN waiting for the departing DL198. Most were rebooked onto other KE flights bound for the US. I'm a PM that had a nice Comfort+ seat booked on DL198. Instead I got put in 47B on KE19, and I still don't know where my checked baggage from BKK is.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by oldgoat97 View Post
With the inbound DL199 a no-show at ICN, that left many stranded outbound passengers at ICN waiting for the departing DL198. Most were rebooked onto other KE flights bound for the US. I'm a PM that had a nice Comfort+ seat booked on DL198. Instead I got put in 47B on KE19, and I still don't know where my checked baggage from BKK is.
The Dec. 1 DL 199 flight operated the next day (today, Dec. 2) as DL9901. I wonder what will become of that bird on Dec. 3 once it reaches ICN if in fact all of the Dec 2 DL198 passengers were accommodated on other flights? Will it return to the U.S. empty, or perhaps with only a handful of passengers? Or will the passenger load of the Dec. 3 DL 198 be split into two planes (which would be a real treat for all concerned, upgrades and empty middle seats galore!)? I thought it might operate as DL9900 or DL9902, but checking Delta.com, these are not valid flight numbers for Dec. 3.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 7:10 pm
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Airlines have a number of extra crew members on reserve for situations like this, but usually don't have spare planes just "sitting around". The extra plane just goes back into the rotation, then it's dispatched to wherever it is needed next, not necessarily where it came from. Sometimes it's a ferry flight, and sometimes it will carry revenue passengers. Depends.
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Old Dec 2, 16, 11:22 pm
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For those many pax who live in Seattle, many probably chose to go home for the night, and didn't need their checked bags anyway since they were at home. That's got to be a huge money saver and mitigation for upset customers.
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