Skipping the line in ATL

Old Jun 11, 18, 10:26 pm
  #1  
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Skipping the line in ATL

Was on DL 429 this afternoon in the 5:00 pm hour, a 757 to Jackson Hole. After taxiing for a bit, pilot said we were still number 29 for departure and one engine was turned off. Then just a moment later, we spooled up and turned onto runway 26 left and back taxied to the end. We passed dozens and dozens of planes in two separate lines either side of us. Captain or FO said, “great news, they want us in the air immediately; flight attendants prepare the cabin for departure.” After a sweet 180 on the runway itself, we went.

Any guesses why this flight would be singled out to cut so many others in line? Other than the fact JAC is a high yield route, of course

Also while hanging out on this part of the airfield I noticed an Air Force version of the 757 in the United States of America livery parked out front of the Fly Delta Jets hangar. If Delta is doing maintenance on that fleet, what an honor!
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Old Jun 12, 18, 12:53 am
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Airline pilot here, so my two cents:

1. Perhaps you all were the only one in the long conga line assigned to a certain SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and for whatever reason that departure course was ready to accept you, while others could not. (This isn't likely, but could happen).

2. The crew could've been facing duty issues. Generally ATC can be accommodating and I've encountered this more than once.

3. Aircraft at the front of the line went MX and for some reason it made the most sense to get your aircraft out.

4. Just plain luck! (happens more than you think).

I doubt anyone at DL contacted ATC about needing to get a high yield route out.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
Airline pilot here, so my two cents:

1. Perhaps you all were the only one in the long conga line assigned to a certain SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and for whatever reason that departure course was ready to accept you, while others could not. (This isn't likely, but could happen).

2. The crew could've been facing duty issues. Generally ATC can be accommodating and I've encountered this more than once.

3. Aircraft at the front of the line went MX and for some reason it made the most sense to get your aircraft out.

4. Just plain luck! (happens more than you think).

I doubt anyone at DL contacted ATC about needing to get a high yield route out.
I imagine ATL-JAC isn't mainline. Could that be a factor at all?

Update: JK - upon further inspection, it IS mainline.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by DLASflyer View Post
Also while hanging out on this part of the airfield I noticed an Air Force version of the 757 in the United States of America livery parked out front of the Fly Delta Jets hangar. If Delta is doing maintenance on that fleet, what an honor!
Wow I saw that plane back in May 6th.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 11:41 am
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Guys, there's more than 1 C-32 in the fleet.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by GagaPilot View Post
Airline pilot here, so my two cents:

1. Perhaps you all were the only one in the long conga line assigned to a certain SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and for whatever reason that departure course was ready to accept you, while others could not. (This isn't likely, but could happen)...
The OP's departure was around the time thunderstorms were popping up all over Atlanta - when a friend who was working in ops for the airline texted me and said something like, what's up over there, downtown looks bad. Best guess of said friend is to agree with reason #1 quoted (though he uses the term RNAV, essentially the same). With storms like that the dispatchers might be changing flight plans on the fly (pun intended). Perhaps you were just in the right position to maneuver out and around the line. Maybe they directed others to follow you.

OP, count your lucky stars. I had relatives on an international flight that left their gate about an hour after you and sat in the taxi conga line 90 minutes waiting to take off in the midst of all the storms.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 11:48 am
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I usually get the short end of the stick with the line at ATL, on my most recent one we were delayed coming out due to late aircraft, late passengers, and then a maintenance issue. #15 or so for takeoff, and then right as we position and hold ATC lets all the aircraft that landed on 27L and 28 cross our runway.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 12:07 pm
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It certainly wasn't for Delta's scheduling...this 757 flight arrives in Jackson Hole at 7:00 pm and sits for 13 hours. And no connections for people to miss.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by PRWeezer View Post
The OP's departure was around the time thunderstorms were popping up all over Atlanta - when a friend who was working in ops for the airline texted me and said something like, what's up over there, downtown looks bad. Best guess of said friend is to agree with reason #1 quoted (though he uses the term RNAV, essentially the same). With storms like that the dispatchers might be changing flight plans on the fly (pun intended). Perhaps you were just in the right position to maneuver out and around the line. Maybe they directed others to follow you.

OP, count your lucky stars. I had relatives on an international flight that left their gate about an hour after you and sat in the taxi conga line 90 minutes waiting to take off in the midst of all the storms.
I have sat waiting for clearance through enough tstorms that the first response above seems logical given my previous experiences. One time last year (JFK), tstorms shut down all flights going west, north and south. We were going west. All of a sudden, a narrow window opened to the north and we had enough fuel to make the detour, so we were on our way.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 12:53 pm
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We skipped about 15 aircraft at about 7:15PM last night. The pilot said they were headed west while we were headed north so we went to the head of the line.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 4:15 pm
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Listening to the ATC archive suggests that there was something going on, but not quite intelligible exactly what (explanation about 8 minutes in). http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ka...2018-2130Z.mp3
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Old Jun 12, 18, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
We skipped about 15 aircraft at about 7:15PM last night. The pilot said they were headed west while we were headed north so we went to the head of the line.
Well, that is nice.

Me though?

Flying ATL->DUB plane parks somewhere out there. Pilot:

"We are in a ground hold due to thunderstorms. If you look out the right window you might see some jets still taking off, That is because the weather has routes to the E/NE blocked, but they are clear to west."

I guess you could have been in one of those planes passing us :-)
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Old Jun 12, 18, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by chessman View Post
Listening to the ATC archive suggests that there was something going on, but not quite intelligible exactly what (explanation about 8 minutes in). http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ka...2018-2130Z.mp3
Thanks for the tape but now it’s even more intriguing! The pilot of my flight sounded as surprised as me; he asked to confirm the lengthy back taxi on the runway twice. Then the pilot behind my flight asked if he can expect the same and was told no, 429 had “special circumstances.” Someone else chimes in with a “Nice try.”
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Old Jun 12, 18, 5:35 pm
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Originally Posted by chessman View Post
Listening to the ATC archive suggests that there was something going on, but not quite intelligible exactly what (explanation about 8 minutes in). http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ka...2018-2130Z.mp3
Originally Posted by DLASflyer View Post
Thanks for the tape but now it’s even more intriguing! The pilot of my flight sounded as surprised as me; he asked to confirm the lengthy back taxi on the runway twice. Then the pilot behind my flight asked if he can expect the same and was told no, 429 had “special circumstances.” Someone else chimes in with a “Nice try.”
Agree it's garbled, but to me, after they were asked to hold it sounded like he came back with "company says they need you airborne..." and in this context company = Delta. So the airline needed to expedite your flight for whatever reason. It happens. For context I sometimes tune in to listen to LiveATC and 'company' is used when referring to the pilot's own airline, thus it would make sense here and given the later mention of special circumstances. Could be wrong.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by PRWeezer View Post
Agree it's garbled, but to me, after they were asked to hold it sounded like he came back with "company says they need you airborne..." and in this context company = Delta. So the airline needed to expedite your flight for whatever reason. It happens. For context I sometimes tune in to listen to LiveATC and 'company' is used when referring to the pilot's own airline, thus it would make sense here and given the later mention of special circumstances. Could be wrong.

That sounds like a VIP aboard to me.
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