Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles
Reload this Page >

AUS-ATL DL426 seven hours late and counting.

AUS-ATL DL426 seven hours late and counting.

Old Jun 5, 2023, 5:12 pm
  #1  
txp
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Texas
Programs: UA, AA, DL, BA, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt
Posts: 1,236
AUS-ATL DL426 seven hours late and counting.

Big letdown from Delta today. DL426 from AUS to ATL went MX and is now seven hours late with no end in sight. Not much information from the gate agents. At the DL Skyclub, they told passengers that they need to fly an airplane part from Atlanta. But at the gate they provided no information other than pushing the departure time 15-30 minutes at a time.

It would have been a lot more honest to tell everyone that the plane would not leave for at least seven hours and allow people to make other arrangements. Keeping people by the gate all this time "for the next update" does not seem right.

MX problems are understandable, but the lack of information and lack of alternative arrangements are very disappointing. I expected better from DL, but today they were below Amtrak.

Edited at 5:15 pm CDT to update that the plane finally left the gate.

Last edited by txp; Jun 5, 2023 at 5:17 pm
txp is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 5:20 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 3,922
Originally Posted by txp
Big letdown from Delta today. DL426 from AUS to ATL went MX and is now seven hours late with no end in sight. Not much information from the gate agents. At the DL Skyclub, they told passengers that they need to fly an airplane part from Atlanta. But at the gate they provided no information other than pushing the departure time 15-30 minutes at a time.

It would have been a lot more honest to tell everyone that the plane would not leave for at least seven hours and allow people to make other arrangements. Keeping people by the gate all this time "for the next update" does not seem right.

MX problems are understandable, but the lack of information and lack of alternative arrangements are very disappointing. I expected better from DL, but today they were below Amtrak.

Edited at 5:15 pm CDT to update that the plane finally left the gate.
The drip-drip-drip delay has been an unwelcome guest for US airlines - is there something in how the FAA calculates delays that incentivizes airlines to approach it that way? I know AA does this quite a bit. Posting a longer delay would at least allow folks to make more informed decisions about rebooking themselves in the app.
wrp96 likes this.
steveholt is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 5:46 pm
  #3  
txp
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Texas
Programs: UA, AA, DL, BA, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt
Posts: 1,236
Originally Posted by steveholt
The drip-drip-drip delay has been an unwelcome guest for US airlines - is there something in how the FAA calculates delays that incentivizes airlines to approach it that way? I know AA does this quite a bit. Posting a longer delay would at least allow folks to make more informed decisions about rebooking themselves in the app.
Indeed. I would be curious to hear from others why they prefer this approach instead of just telling people the truth. In contrast with DL, BA is brutally honest with their delays and cancelations. They just tell you as it is.
txp is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 5:55 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 22,722
The first 3 adjustments were between 30min and 1 hour. But the 4th was from 12:50 to 3:15. I'm guessing that's when they realized they needed the new part.
DLHubber and FabCW like this.
xliioper is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 7:04 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Washington, DC, Chapel Hill, NC (RDU)
Programs: DL Plat (won't hit DM again) 2MM (2.5), HH Gold, PC Gold, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 5,616
Originally Posted by xliioper
when they realized they needed the new part.
Do airlines no longer swap parts when needed in remote locations? Of course, maybe no one has parts at outstations any more.
Years ago on a flight from MDW flight was delayed while a mechanic drove over from ORD!
And even longer ago, flying from MSY, the APU wasn't functioning. Eventually hooked up 2 or 3 ground units to get enough power to start up the 757 engine (at least that is how I recall the explanation as the pilot complained that they had sent the 757 to MSY with the broken APU).
mot29 is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 7:22 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 3,922
Originally Posted by mot29
Do airlines no longer swap parts when needed in remote locations? Of course, maybe no one has parts at outstations any more.
Years ago on a flight from MDW flight was delayed while a mechanic drove over from ORD!
And even longer ago, flying from MSY, the APU wasn't functioning. Eventually hooked up 2 or 3 ground units to get enough power to start up the 757 engine (at least that is how I recall the explanation as the pilot complained that they had sent the 757 to MSY with the broken APU).
I believe airlines still do swap parts, but since AUS isn't really a hub for anyone, I suppose it's possible nobody had the part laying around.
jamiel likes this.
steveholt is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 10:07 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: DTW
Programs: DL - PM, (NW - Plat), AA - Gold, Marriott - Plat, Avis - First
Posts: 953
Here is how this typically goes.....(for for explanation purposes, not necessarily defending DL here).
Before I get into it, I do believe all parties could do a better job informing passengers, but there are a lot of different functions involved. Plus they also don't do a good job of keeping the gate agents informed of the "why" as well....anyways.

1) A maintenance issue is detected.
This could something that happened on the inbound flight, detected on the ground, or during pre-flight checklists.

2) Dispatch and maintenance are informed from the flight crew.
They need to get in contact with the maintenance center to determine next steps. This can involve the pilots running some additional checklists, "pulling the breaker" on certain items and rebooting, or something they can diagnose onboard. If not, then they must get licensed maintenance onboard. At hubs and maintenance stations they are typically around the airport /terminal/ hangar. At outstations this is typically a contractor who may or may not be at the airport. An airport like AUS most likely has contract maintenance at the airport during normal operating hours, but not always the case at really small outstations.

3) This is where the "rolling delays" come into play. Typically in 15-30-60 minute increments as they are going through the steps above and trying to get maintenance support and diagnose the issue.

4) This is the biggest "unknown" is until the issue is diagnosed, is it something that is a quick "reboot" type of fix, is it something that can be deffered (ok to fly, but needs to be fixed at a certain point when it is flown back to a maintenance base (MEL), or is it something that must be corrected/fixed before the aircraft can fly (AOG / aircraft on ground).

If its a minimum equipment list (MEL) item, that is really only requires some paperwork and sign-off from maintenance and then can be on the way (these are the typical ~30-60 min maintenance delay stuff).
If its an AOG situation, then the repair needs to be done, and at outstations that typically requirement parts and technicans to be flown in (usually on the next scheduled flight) to fix the issue.
Thats when you can see a 30-60 minute delay jump up to 4+ hours, not to mention if the flight crew will also time-out and they need to re-crew / deadhead in reserve crews

Now yes, the airlines can and will "sell parts" to each other. Despite being competitors, they do regularly help each other out. But that is also a judgement call for a variety of reasons. Do they have the right part for the right aircraft? Are they low on that part / won't sell the last part off in case they need it, etc. At a place like DFW or ORD for example, it would be fairly common for AA to sell a part to DL if needed. However AUS may not have much spares for anyone and highly unlikely in the first place.

There are a lot of unknowns in that first 30-60 minutes. However I agree they do a terrible job communicating, explaining the process, and also notorous for the rolling delays when its clear that contract maintenance won't even arrive at the airport for another 90 minutes, yet they still post a delayed departure in 30 minutes,
DTWflyer is offline  
Old Jun 5, 2023, 11:21 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Programs: DL Diamond, UA Premier Gold
Posts: 2,854
Watched a United flight yesterday delayed in small increments from 1:45 pm to 11:30 pm before finally canceling. In a way it has gotten worse because airlines are so focused on completion factor.
DLASflyer is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 5:44 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Minutes from ATL
Programs: DL
Posts: 432
I'm going to be pedantic a bit on the terms:
  • Creeping Delay is when the delay slowly gets longer and longer in small chunks
  • Rolling Delay is when the delay from one flight rolls into a second flight
The reason is that the "rolling delay" is a specific strategy sometimes used at hubs or busy outstations, where the immediately impacted aircraft is swapped with the next available aircraft typically of the same type. Like this:
  1. Flight 1 with AC1 is delayed
  2. Flight 2 with AC2 becomes Flight 1
  3. Flight 3 with AC3 becomes Flight 2
  4. ...
  5. AC1 is available
  6. Flight 9 is flown with AC1

So the delay from Flight 1 rolls into flights 2-8, but none are significantly delayed alone.


The Creeping Delay is used when there's some uncertainty. The airline is legally required by DOT to give updates about a known delay within 30 minutes of knowing but DOT acknowledges creeping delays are allowed to happen because of unknowns. Strategically this has some advantages for the airline:
  • It's difficult to undo a delay if the situation changes
  • People will stick around for the shorter delays if it turns out to be a quick fix
  • There is a sunk cost feeling that keeps the delayed flight loaded even with a long delay

I wouldn't really call it a conspiracy or anything as the airlines typically goal on a few metrics that impact manager/VP/C-suite compensation:
  • D0 flight departed on time
  • D15 flight departed within 15 minutes of scheduled
  • Completion factor , percentage of flights completed in a schedule day
While passengers tend to care more about on time arrivals, it's easier to game by padding schedules and also it has less direct control due to air traffic uncertainty. However, it does mean that once a flight is delayed beyond 15 minutes there is less pressure to get it out ASAP. The goal becomes just getting it completed at all.
strickerj likes this.
paul21 is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 6:32 am
  #10  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 2,577
Originally Posted by mot29
Do airlines no longer swap parts when needed in remote locations? Of course, maybe no one has parts at outstations any more.
Years ago on a flight from MDW flight was delayed while a mechanic drove over from ORD!
And even longer ago, flying from MSY, the APU wasn't functioning. Eventually hooked up 2 or 3 ground units to get enough power to start up the 757 engine (at least that is how I recall the explanation as the pilot complained that they had sent the 757 to MSY with the broken APU).
Was last fall on a delayed SNA-DTW flight where DL immediately posted a 4 hr delay due to oil deposit within the engine cover; mechanic was driving over from LAX. We ultimately got out about 90 mins late.
jamiel is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 10:54 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,851
I have had an abnormally high number of mx issues with my flights in the last 9 months or so. Most of my flights are on A220's now, and I don't keep stats on it, but I would guess between 1/3 and 1/2 of my flights have an mx issue. They have ranged from my most recent flight delaying boarding but still pushing on time to do a computer reboot to diverting mid-flight a few months ago. DL has been much more communicative and specific recently with the cause of the delay and how they were trying to either resolve the issue or find a substitute a/c. This has been much better than a few years ago when I would have to walk up to the counter to ask why the flight was delayed - I am sure a few stations still take this approach.

As far as rolling delays go, I don't have a problem with it IF they are communicating the reasoning behind it. If they aren't communicating, I take that as a bad sign and find a new flight to wherever I am going.
The Situation is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 1:51 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: DL DM+(segs)/MM, UA Ag, Hilton DM, Marriott Ti (life Pt), TSA Opt-out Platinum
Posts: 3,201
Originally Posted by paul21
I'm going to be pedantic a bit on the terms:
  • Creeping Delay is when the delay slowly gets longer and longer in small chunks
  • Rolling Delay is when the delay from one flight rolls into a second flight
The reason is that the "rolling delay" is a specific strategy sometimes used at hubs or busy outstations, where the immediately impacted aircraft is swapped with the next available aircraft typically of the same type. Like this:
  1. Flight 1 with AC1 is delayed
  2. Flight 2 with AC2 becomes Flight 1
  3. Flight 3 with AC3 becomes Flight 2
  4. ...
  5. AC1 is available
  6. Flight 9 is flown with AC1

So the delay from Flight 1 rolls into flights 2-8, but none are significantly delayed alone.
In a former life I was an Irregular Operations Manager for an airline (my friends loved that title). At best, "creeping" vs. "rolling" is a distinction without a difference to passengers. I've always heard the terms used interchangeably.

Your description of a rolling delay strategy is not realistic. Routing decisions are not made by either the stations or the hubs, they're made by system operations. Contrary to pax belief, airplanes don't just fly between the same city pairs all day. They go all over the place. So often downline (or residual) delays are felt in many other cities.
dcadwell, DLASflyer, chica and 2 others like this.
HDQDD is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 2:19 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, AC 75K, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 26,651
Originally Posted by HDQDD
In a former life I was an Irregular Operations Manager for an airline (my friends loved that title). At best, "creeping" vs. "rolling" is a distinction without a difference to passengers. I've always heard the terms used interchangeably.

Your description of a rolling delay strategy is not realistic. Routing decisions are not made by either the stations or the hubs, they're made by system operations. Contrary to pax belief, airplanes don't just fly between the same city pairs all day. They go all over the place. So often downline (or residual) delays are felt in many other cities.
I agree in general. However I've noticed with DL lately, one plane will fly back and for on a route with regular occurrence. Ie ATL-SAT-ATL-SAT-ATL-SAT. Again, it's the exception not the rule, but just a casual observation on number of routes.
flyerCO is online now  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 8:15 pm
  #14  
txp
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Texas
Programs: UA, AA, DL, BA, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt
Posts: 1,236
For the inconvenience, DL deposited 10,000 skymiles compensation. Does this seem reasonable or should I ask for more?
txp is offline  
Old Jun 6, 2023, 8:54 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 3,922
Originally Posted by txp
For the inconvenience, DL deposited 10,000 skymiles compensation. Does this seem reasonable or should I ask for more?
You can certainly ask for more, although 10,000 miles is $100 in DL credit, which seems quite reasonable.
steveholt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.