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How does this happen - DL 2454 (SNA-ATL) today 11/2

How does this happen - DL 2454 (SNA-ATL) today 11/2

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Old Nov 2, 18, 8:43 am
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How does this happen - DL 2454 (SNA-ATL) today 11/2

I've been a DM medallion for many years now, PM and GM before that for several years and haven't ever experienced anything like this. Everything seemed normal and boarding started on time around 6:05am. About 10-mins into boarding I get a notification through the DL app that the flight is delayed 1-hour, though boarding is still continuing. Check the weather, everything looks fine. Finally about 20-mins into boarding they come on the PA and announce they're missing a crew member..... and it's the Captain. The delay rolled to 1.5 hours and is now at 2-hours and will probably grow from there. All the GA has said is that "one is on the way." What that means or where they're coming from - who knows!?

My question is - isn't the flight crew required to check in like 60 or 90-mins before the flight. Therefore, shouldn't DL have known well before boarding there was no Captain for the flight??
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Old Nov 2, 18, 8:47 am
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Pfft.. a captain? Sounds like non-essential crew to me.

It's a bit of egg in Delta's face, but who knows what happened. For all you know the captain got in a car accident on the way to the airport. Or he just overslept, and they kept hoping that he'd eventually wake up and show up and boarded anyways.

I am somewhat surprised though as they do usually board the crew before pax but I guess they may only need to board the FAs (and perhaps one of the two pilots?) before letting pax on.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 8:53 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Pfft.. a captain? Sounds like non-essential crew to me.

It's a bit of egg in Delta's face, but who knows what happened. For all you know the captain got in a car accident on the way to the airport. Or he just overslept, and they kept hoping that he'd eventually wake up and show up and boarded anyways.

I am somewhat surprised though as they do usually board the crew before pax but I guess they may only need to board the FAs (and perhaps one of the two pilots?) before letting pax on.
I guess that's where I'm confused. When that required check in time came and there was no Captain, why did DL proceed like everything was normal up until and well into the boarding process? DL knew about this in plenty of time. Now I'm nota pilot - but I don't think the pilot would be able to get there like 5-mins before departure and just sit down and fly out could s/he? Don't they have to file flight plans, get approvals from mgmt on flight plans, etc.?
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Old Nov 2, 18, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
My question is - isn't the flight crew required to check in like 60 or 90-mins before the flight. Therefore, shouldn't DL have known well before boarding there was no Captain for the flight??
Nope. Thats the optimized scheduling software that marries diverse groups of people with equipment. 99% of the time the crew will be there when plane comes in.
In this case it seems GA was preoccupied or didn't pay attention to their notification (and stop boarding). System probably flagged this for them about 30 mins before boarding started but they thought someone will turn up in next hr or so before they need to push back from ramp.
Better scheduling software means finer margins (to minimize un-productive time for crew waiting in crew lounge or around the gate)
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by jeet View Post
Nope. Thats the optimized scheduling software that marries diverse groups of people with equipment. 99% of the time the crew will be there when plane comes in.
In this case it seems GA was preoccupied or didn't pay attention to their notification (and stop boarding). System probably flagged this for them about 30 mins before boarding started but they thought someone will turn up in next hr or so before they need to push back from ramp.
Better scheduling software means finer margins (to minimize un-productive time for crew waiting in crew lounge or around the gate)
Well the plane came in last night at 7:38pm from ATL. So what you're saying is that the crew were there since last night when the plane came in? That makes this even more odd.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:11 am
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The rules require some number of FA's to be onboard (dependent on aircraft), but not the flight crew. While that is sub-optimal, if the aircraft is scheduled for 2 flight and 4 cabin crew and 3 are required, boarding could commence while 1 FA and both flight crew are still not onboard.

Without knowing the exact situation, there are any number of situations in which this occurs, particularly at a hub. The msst likely situation is that the scheduled Captain had a last minute issue and DL was searching for a replacement. Ops may have believed that it had located one and that therefore allowing boarding to proceed was the smart thing.

The rolling delay suggests continued logistics problems.

DL leads the industry on unscrambling logistical messes, so I tend to see this as trying to minimize the ultimate time of the push.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
I guess that's where I'm confused. When that required check in time came and there was no Captain, why did DL proceed like everything was normal up until and well into the boarding process? DL knew about this in plenty of time. Now I'm nota pilot - but I don't think the pilot would be able to get there like 5-mins before departure and just sit down and fly out could s/he? Don't they have to file flight plans, get approvals from mgmt on flight plans, etc.?
The pilot doesn't file flight plans. Airlines have departments that handle that. AS long as the co_pilot is present to do walk around, etc, pilot can show up, get quick briefing, go through checklists, and off they go.

Why delay the flight further if they believe he may be showing up soon?
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:25 am
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In my anecdotal experience DL GA’s are obsessed with boarding the plane even when they know their is a delay.
Have had it happen several times in the past 2 years. Maybe they think you’re someone else’s problem once on the plane (said in jest for the overly serious).
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:27 am
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I have had this happen before. As others have pointed out of the FAs need to be on board for the the plane to though the captain or co pilot approves boarding. As others have said anyone of a number of issues might have occurred. Most likely is a pilot that called in sick at the last minute or was pulled at the last minute for another flight or overslept
Flight can board because FAs are on board for safety purposes and copilot sees no reason for a delay pilot is assumed to be on his way because nothing is known that would cause one to believe otherwise.

Last it happened to me the pilot had set his alarm and his iPhone hadn’t adjusted to the correct time zone. I know this because I overheard it. Oddly enough he didn’t even recognize he was off by an hour until he got to the gate. We were only delayed about thirty minutes because we were loaded and ready to go the copilot had done all the checks and the pilot was about what he thought was forty minutes early for the flight so only really 20 minutes late
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by apodo77 View Post
In my anecdotal experience DL GA’s are obsessed with boarding the plane even when they know their is a delay.
Have had it happen several times in the past 2 years. Maybe they think you’re someone else’s problem once on the plane (said in jest for the overly serious).
This has nothing to do with DL's GA's and everything to do with DL as an organization.

It makes zero sense to delay boarding to wait for the Captain to arrive, presuming that one reasonably expects the Captain to arrive in time to close the flight and push relatively on time.

The GA can't start boarding the flight without authorization, so it is far from an obsession and just good practice.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
The pilot doesn't file flight plans. Airlines have departments that handle that. AS long as the co_pilot is present to do walk around, etc, pilot can show up, get quick briefing, go through checklists, and off they go.

Why delay the flight further if they believe he may be showing up soon?
Uh, they did delay the flight further. It started at 1-hour, 30-mins later went to 1.5 hours, and now is at 2-hour. What am I missing?
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Old Nov 2, 18, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
Well the plane came in last night at 7:38pm from ATL. So what you're saying is that the crew were there since last night when the plane came in? That makes this even more odd.
Never implied that. Crew on last night's flight in could have overnighted at SNA or taken other flight or whatever.
For optimum scheduling the software will treat flight crew and equipment as separate pieces and tries to marry them in best way possible.
The crew was there at SNA or driving from nearby LAX or flying in in early morning from ATL/XXX doesn't matter.

I believe for boarding a plane they need FAs (not all scheduled for that flight) and atleast 1 cockpit crew.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
The pilot doesn't file flight plans. Airlines have departments that handle that. AS long as the co_pilot is present to do walk around, etc, pilot can show up, get quick briefing, go through checklists, and off they go.

Why delay the flight further if they believe he may be showing up soon?
That is correct. Flight plans are done in advance by computer. Late arriving pilot just needs to review and sign (electronically) and complete checklists and off they go. In all doesn't take more than 10 mins even if done leisurely
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Old Nov 2, 18, 11:19 am
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The flight ended up departing the gate 1 hr 27 mins late according to FR24.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 11:23 am
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Could be lots of things. A late sick call or anything and DL had to scramble to find a new pilot.
We don't know if that same crew operated that flight as a turn around non-LAX based or if it was a new crew.
I assume DL has a 737 base at LAX and SNA can be used as a satellite airport to begin or end a trip much like AA or UA.
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