Seattle airport too much traffic

Old Jan 23, 20, 7:10 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: VPS
Programs: IHG Spire, Delta Silver
Posts: 4,047
Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
I have never heard of this happening before. Usually they have you wait on a taxiway or on a pull-off somewhere. I've never heard of them holding a plane on the runway where they tie up the departure airport.
Sometimes itís a runway hold at VPS. The amount of pavement is huge (main runway could handle a cargo 747 ferrying the space shuttle from California back to KSC) you can get 20-30 minute gaps in scheduled civilian service and there are no general aviation aircraft so getting in the way isnít really an issue if the military side of the airport has a light take off and landing schedule that day
beachmouse is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 7:15 am
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM(segs)/MM, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 2,622
Originally Posted by dblumenhoff View Post
I have never heard of this happening before. Usually they have you wait on a taxiway or on a pull-off somewhere. I've never heard of them holding a plane on the runway where they tie up the departure airport.
When lay people say "the runway", they almost always mean "the taxiway" (or "the ramp"). Planes don't usually wait on (active) runways unless there's a major problem (i.e a mechanical issue that prevents them from moving).
MSPeconomist likes this.
HDQDD is online now  
Old Jan 23, 20, 7:34 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM(segs)/MM, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 2,622
Originally Posted by Daitheflu84 View Post
As others have said, this is very common at busier airports like JFK, ORD, etc.
It's common at pretty much any hub during peak banks (even MSP, DTW, IAD, DFW, etc). There are limits to what an airport can handle arrivals wise, and there's also limits on amount of traffic en route, and over each arrival fix. Compacted demand is usually handled by MIT (Miles in Trail) delays. Unfortunately, MIT delays are very hard to predict (unlike GDP EDCTs, aka "Wheels up" times) unless you now exactly how many airplanes are within the MIT restriction and how many are waiting at other airports (and other airlines) to go over the same fix(es).

MIT limits and the AADC (Airport Arrival Demand Chart) are available on the FAA's OIS page. Unless you're familiar with major fixes in bust areas, the MIT page might not be very useful. Here's one I randomly grabbed:

MCO CHS 20MIT JETS RALT 1200-1500 ZJX:ZDC

This means MCO bound flights filed over CHS, must be separated by 20 Miles in trail (normally, I think it's 2-5mi depending on stage of flight). It's effective 1200-1500Z. ZJX (Jacksonville Center) requested it, and ZDC (DC Center) is providing it. So conceivably all the RDU/RIC/IAD/DCA/BWI/ORF-MCO flights that are booked on that route will be separated by 20MIT...along with other traffic that's already en route.

Links:
https://www.fly.faa.gov/aadc/
https://www.fly.faa.gov/ois

Last edited by HDQDD; Jan 23, 20 at 8:08 am Reason: Added line breaks for readability
HDQDD is online now  
Old Jan 23, 20, 7:39 am
  #19  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Programs: Proud Charter Member of the OUM
Posts: 21,838
SEA is on a strip of land where expansion is practically impossible. There are three runways, all N/S, two of them so close to each other that they can't be used simultaneously in poor weather, so often SEA has two functional runways. That's it. Compare that to DEN's six always-functional runways, for instance.
DenverBrian is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 9:11 am
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: BOS
Programs: JMB
Posts: 123
'Ground Stop' is the term if you're interested in reading more about the procedure.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_stop
Jinxed_K is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 9:27 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: DCA, lived MCI, SEA/PDX,BUF (born/raised)
Programs: Marriott (Silver/Gold), IHG, Carlson, Best Western, Choice( Gold), AS (MVP), WN, UA
Posts: 3,341
Originally Posted by musicdude91 View Post
How often have you guys experienced this?

Supposed to depart from BOI at 7:15 for SEA. But then we get told that there is too much traffic at the Seattle airport so they're delaying our departure from Boise by 45 minutes. As we're sitting out on the runway.
some of this isnt SEA at all but airline control stops. For example I have been on DL flights to ATL and DL ordered the plan to stay on the ground---not ATC. All airlines have some company ground control including the sub carriers like Sky west


Is Seatle a bus airport ---yes. why

1. AS hub
2 DL making it a hun
3. international flights from Asia come into it. some seasonally from europe
4. random weather delays
5. Military bases near by which can affect ATC volume and approach.


the other part of the problem is local terrain.


seattle has high mountains on both sides which limits it to really only 2 paths of approach from North or South. It might be easier in the mid west where you can have 4+ approach avenues.
djp98374 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 9:45 am
  #22  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: DCA, lived MCI, SEA/PDX,BUF (born/raised)
Programs: Marriott (Silver/Gold), IHG, Carlson, Best Western, Choice( Gold), AS (MVP), WN, UA
Posts: 3,341
Originally Posted by FlyDeltaConnection View Post
Unfortunately, congestion at major airports is what happened when customers demanded more flights. Instead of a couple of flights a day from say MSP to SEA on a 767 or A330 there are now 5-6 flights a day with a mix of 739's and 757's. Or say MSP to JFK instead of one or two flights on a 757 there is now multiple using 717's or A319's. Those extra flights on every route add up quick.
That is actually not the reason

It has more to do with things being riegonalized with smaller capacity carriers thus you need more flights to take on the volume

At peak evening time you have p, service by AS and DL to the smaller airports in NW.. They have around 60 flights from the 5-7 pm time alone coming in and and more going out on top of that you have other carriers last flights out in the west for connections at their hubs

this time for international redeyes to europe

there ais a bit of a lull then the red wyes to east coast start after 9pm.
djp98374 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 10:16 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SJC
Programs: DL PM, SPG Plat
Posts: 3,127
Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
not at all uncommon for ATC to meter the arrival flow into SEA, particularly at peak hours

BOI (and PDX, where Iíve experienced it more than a few times) is close enough to where they impose the delay in terms of a wheels-up time, whereas flights from more distant points generally get some enroute vectoring (similar to what SJC ORD LDR described) and/or airspeed adjustments
That's the term I was looking for. Thanks.
SJC ORD LDR is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 11:10 am
  #24  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Back home in the REAL Washington (SEA); still working occasionally in the other Washington (DCA area)
Programs: DL PM 1.3MM; AS MVPG 75K
Posts: 14,130
Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
... MCO CHS 20MIT JETS RALT 1200-1500 ZJX:ZDC

This means MCO bound flights filed over CHS, must be separated by 20 Miles in trail (normally, I think it's 2-5mi depending on stage of flight). It's effective 1200-1500Z. ZJX (Jacksonville Center) requested it, and ZDC (DC Center) is providing it. So conceivably all the RDU/RIC/IAD/DCA/BWI/ORF-MCO flights that are booked on that route will be separated by 20MIT...along with other traffic that's already en route.
this particular one looks to me like it may be driven by a NOTAM for a scheduled launch at Kennedy Space Center ... 20 miles in trail is approx 2 min, so ATC only has to worry about one aircraft at a time near the area of the TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) (which is only activated for about a 10-minute period around the actual launch time)
jrl767 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 1:08 pm
  #25  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM(segs)/MM, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 2,622
Originally Posted by djp98374 View Post
some of this isnt SEA at all but airline control stops. For example I have been on DL flights to ATL and DL ordered the plan to stay on the ground---not ATC. All airlines have some company ground control including the sub carriers like Sky west
Airline requested GS/GDPs are extremely rare. Usually they're only issued during/after a major storm, outage, or other serious disruption to a hub's operation. (i.e. a thunderstorm sits over ATL for 2-3 hours in the middle of the 5pm bank and the ramp is gridlocked because it's been closed for hours).
HDQDD is online now  
Old Jan 23, 20, 1:10 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4,273
Originally Posted by FlyDeltaConnection View Post
Unfortunately, congestion at major airports is what happened when customers demanded more flights. Instead of a couple of flights a day from say MSP to SEA on a 767 or A330 there are now 5-6 flights a day with a mix of 739's and 757's. Or say MSP to JFK instead of one or two flights on a 757 there is now multiple using 717's or A319's. Those extra flights on every route add up quick.
Oh. It's our fault.
Funny though, customers demand free checked bags, larger seat pitch, and free seat selection. But those aren't just willy-nilly acceded to with no consideration of the consequences.
HDQDD and Gig103 like this.
rickg523 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 1:36 pm
  #27  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: West Coast, Best Coast
Programs: Flying whoever is most convenient
Posts: 15,620
For a period of time, SEA was my preferred connection point especially going to EU with the later day departures and the long overnight flight. Now I am back to preferring MSP or SLC instead because SEA is too crowded/claustrophobic and the airport except for the DL lounge is a bit of dump.
PV_Premier is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 2:02 pm
  #28  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: DCA, lived MCI, SEA/PDX,BUF (born/raised)
Programs: Marriott (Silver/Gold), IHG, Carlson, Best Western, Choice( Gold), AS (MVP), WN, UA
Posts: 3,341
Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
Airline requested GS/GDPs are extremely rare. Usually they're only issued during/after a major storm, outage, or other serious disruption to a hub's operation. (i.e. a thunderstorm sits over ATL for 2-3 hours in the middle of the 5pm bank and the ramp is gridlocked because it's been closed for hours).
Not true

I have had many ground stops to hubs due to volume. Sure this could be aftermath of weather delays which generally happen every other day
djp98374 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 3:15 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New York
Programs: AA Exp / Marriott Titanium / MLife Gold / Hilton Gold / Hyatt Explorist / United Silver
Posts: 887
Originally Posted by SJC ORD LDR View Post
Ever fly into Atlanta, Chicago, or New York City? It happens when airports get busy and the airspace around them is congested. I've had plenty of SJC-SEA flights where they hold us on the ground for a few minutes and then fly a sine wave pattern over Oregon just to slow us down.
​​​​​​​


Loopy doopy doop
manacit likes this.
samwise6222 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 20, 3:20 pm
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Seattle
Programs: DL DM; HZ PC; Natl Exec Elite; SPG; Amex Plat
Posts: 379
Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
not at all uncommon for ATC to meter the arrival flow into SEA, particularly at peak hours

BOI (and PDX, where Iíve experienced it more than a few times) is close enough to where they impose the delay in terms of a wheels-up time, whereas flights from more distant points generally get some enroute vectoring (similar to what SJC ORD LDR described) and/or airspeed adjustments
This.

If you pay attention, you can often find flights flying in little S patterns or even doing loops to slow themselves down and sequence in during busy periods at big hubs all over the place. Schedule padding and "loops" actually being pretty wide turns mean it's not noticeable in the air (at least, to me), but it definitely is looking at a map.

BOI is close enough that they're likely given a slot upon takeoff instead of dealing with it in the air, I think? I've seen this at GEG, MFR and other airports super close to SEA. AS significantly un-delayed a flight I was on from MFR once because we'd unexpectedly gotten an arrival slot - we had to board and takeoff within 20 minutes or risk waiting around another hour.

SEA's growth really is amazing for the size of airport - at the 6th busiest by passenger traffic in the USA, it flies an entire extra SJC (14m passengers) over DTW, and 3m more people than EWR every year. Amazingly enough, LGW and BOM manage to carry about the same number of passengers operating from a single runway.

Without getting into OMNI territory, it definitely doesn't help that short regional flights would be train rides in other parts of the world. SEA-GEG/PDX/PSC/YVR are a significant number of aircraft movements every day (the real limiting factor here, not pax) and, if replaced by trains, would ease a significant amount of the burden placed on SEA and likely improve passenger experience significantly.

Personally, moving from NYC where I flew out of JFK/LGA to Seattle means my airport experience got markedly better overall. It's a much shorter one-chair ride on the Link to get to the airport, and I've yet to hit the insane wait times for both departure and arrival I regularly saw from the northeast. The SEA lounge alone makes the experience a great upgrade from the crowded JFK SCs.
manacit is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: