Delta Response to JFK Incident

 
Old Mar 15, 06, 8:27 am
  #1  
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Delta Response to JFK Incident

So I am a Delta GM (and have been for a few years), and primarily travel on Delta whenever possible. A recent experience, however, has gotten me thinking about whether or not they really do care about their "best" customers...

I was on Delta's JFK-MXP flight last week, and my friend and I boarded the flight (scheduled for an 810pm departure) just before 8pm and took our seats. We were informed that we were number 17 for deicing and would have a delay of ~45 minutes. Totally understandable, as it had been snowing for most of the day in NYC. But that delay kept getting longer, and we eventually sat at the gate for just about 4 hours before pushing back (it was long enough that we watched the entire Harry Potter movie and were served dinner at the gate). Once away from the gate, we only had about an hour worth of waiting to get deiced and finally depart JFK. We took off just after 1am.

Near the end of the delay, we were told that we lost our de-icing slot because other airlines (CSA was mentioned) had to go first or their crews would go illegal (I guess because we only had a 7-hour flight ahead of us, this wasn't an issue). Now it seems to me to be a "it's not my problem" situation for Delta, considering that they had to delay their own flights to de-ice others. Maybe I'm wrong, but once Delta caught wind of this, I figured they'd at least let us get off the aircraft -- sitting on board a 763 for ~12 hours for a 7 hour flight (6:50 on that night) is a bit ridiculous. The only apology I got was when the flight attendants handed back my medallion drink coupons at the end of the flight...

I wrote to Delta customer service and got the standard "it was due to weather and your own safety" reply. I'm not necessarily looking for Delta to jump through hoops and bounds for me, but doesn't it seem that a bit more of an apology is due in a situation like this?
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Old Mar 15, 06, 11:48 am
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Tough situation, but one that I have been in while awaiting takeoff from BOS. We also watched an entire movie awaiting de-icing. It is a tough call to disembark an already loaded plane, mainly because there are many instances where the expected time gets shortened abruptly, ie. a flight in the queue gets cancelled and if you are ready to go, then you might get an early call-up. If you are not sitting ready to go, somebody else gets the slot.

Most pilots want their plane set and ready to go rather than with pax wandering around the terminal. They have already done the pax-baggage match etc.
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Old Mar 15, 06, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by RobertS975
Tough situation, but one that I have been in while awaiting takeoff from BOS. We also watched an entire movie awaiting de-icing. It is a tough call to disembark an already loaded plane, mainly because there are many instances where the expected time gets shortened abruptly, ie. a flight in the queue gets cancelled and if you are ready to go, then you might get an early call-up. If you are not sitting ready to go, somebody else gets the slot.

Most pilots want their plane set and ready to go rather than with pax wandering around the terminal. They have already done the pax-baggage match etc.
The key point here, in my mind, was whether this was explained to passengers. A simple explanation that we don't want to let you de-plane because we might suddently get a de-icing slot would be all that's needed, wouldn't it?
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Old Mar 15, 06, 7:20 pm
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I heard that the real problem might have been that the a/c was mysteriously overweight.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by wentona777
So I am a Delta GM (and have been for a few years), and primarily travel on Delta whenever possible. A recent experience, however, has gotten me thinking about whether or not they really do care about their "best" customers...

I was on Delta's JFK-MXP flight last week, and my friend and I boarded the flight (scheduled for an 810pm departure) just before 8pm and took our seats. We were informed that we were number 17 for deicing and would have a delay of ~45 minutes. Totally understandable, as it had been snowing for most of the day in NYC. But that delay kept getting longer, and we eventually sat at the gate for just about 4 hours before pushing back (it was long enough that we watched the entire Harry Potter movie and were served dinner at the gate). Once away from the gate, we only had about an hour worth of waiting to get deiced and finally depart JFK. We took off just after 1am.

Near the end of the delay, we were told that we lost our de-icing slot because other airlines (CSA was mentioned) had to go first or their crews would go illegal (I guess because we only had a 7-hour flight ahead of us, this wasn't an issue). Now it seems to me to be a "it's not my problem" situation for Delta, considering that they had to delay their own flights to de-ice others. Maybe I'm wrong, but once Delta caught wind of this, I figured they'd at least let us get off the aircraft -- sitting on board a 763 for ~12 hours for a 7 hour flight (6:50 on that night) is a bit ridiculous. The only apology I got was when the flight attendants handed back my medallion drink coupons at the end of the flight...

I wrote to Delta customer service and got the standard "it was due to weather and your own safety" reply. I'm not necessarily looking for Delta to jump through hoops and bounds for me, but doesn't it seem that a bit more of an apology is due in a situation like this?
Let me guess, you expected a free ticket somewhere?? A snowstorm is a snowstorm, apparent to everyone.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by dh01
Let me guess, you expected a free ticket somewhere?? A snowstorm is a snowstorm, apparent to everyone.

No, I'm not greedy -- but I was expecting a sincere apology from Delta for this. I remember about 2 years ago when I was about 2 hours late on a BWI-ATL 757 flight because they had to change a tire -- I received a letter in the mail explaining the delay and apologizing for the inconvenience...
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Old Mar 16, 06, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by wentona777
No, I'm not greedy -- but I was expecting a sincere apology from Delta for this. I remember about 2 years ago when I was about 2 hours late on a BWI-ATL 757 flight because they had to change a tire -- I received a letter in the mail explaining the delay and apologizing for the inconvenience...
Right, a tire isnt an act of God. A snowstorm is.

Two different things.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 10:02 pm
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Comparings this to any domestic flight is like comparing apples and oranges.

If they are cleared for departure, the flight is out of the US for any customs & immigrations related issues. Letting passengers deplane again would mean everybody going through customs & immigration again - something you don't want to do if you still want to get out the same night.
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Old Mar 17, 06, 6:06 am
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Originally Posted by rcs85551
Comparings this to any domestic flight is like comparing apples and oranges.

If they are cleared for departure, the flight is out of the US for any customs & immigrations related issues. Letting passengers deplane again would mean everybody going through customs & immigration again - something you don't want to do if you still want to get out the same night.

I do not think that this is true if the plane has never left the gate. Indeed, I do not think it is true even if the plane is airborne but has not left US airspace. If an ATL to Europe flight makes a precaustionary landing at BOS for a mechanical, the plane does not have to clear Customs and Immigration as far as I know. Anyone feel strongly to the contrary?

That said, I believe that there are rules about international baggage match, and letting pax off a delayed plane would cause that to come into play as they reboard.
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Old Mar 17, 06, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by RobertS975
I do not think that this is true if the plane has never left the gate. Indeed, I do not think it is true even if the plane is airborne but has not left US airspace. If an ATL to Europe flight makes a precaustionary landing at BOS for a mechanical, the plane does not have to clear Customs and Immigration as far as I know. Anyone feel strongly to the contrary?
Any non-US citizens have already had their departure record noted (and visa waiver forms collected if EU/visa wavier program citizens) and therefore probably can not be allowed off the aircraft until clearing US Immigration again.

US citizens also would need to be cleared as arriving back in US as US passports are also scanned on departure and arrival. Otherwise the departure records would be innaccurate.

Does anyone have any industry knowledge on this? I believe the US is by far not alone in the "strictness" of its immigration laws when it comes to aviation. Following the Toronto Air France crash the Canadian authorities reportedly sent agents out to collect photos of the survivors and note their name and passport information into logs.

http://info.lawyershop.ca/immigratio...crash-victims/
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Old Mar 17, 06, 9:14 am
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Well, actually, I was once on a flight out of JFK (I think ZRH was the destination, this was 5-6 years ago) and after buttoning up and pushing back, the plane taxied briefly and then had to return to the gate for a maintainence issue. The door was opened, mechanics on and off, crew on and off, and IIRC, some pax were allowed off to make phone calls etc. Total delay was 2+ hours, but my point is that certainly did not have the jetway sealed off to the terminal.
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Old Mar 17, 06, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by RobertS975
Well, actually, I was once on a flight out of JFK (I think ZRH was the destination, this was 5-6 years ago) and after buttoning up and pushing back, the plane taxied briefly and then had to return to the gate for a maintainence issue. The door was opened, mechanics on and off, crew on and off, and IIRC, some pax were allowed off to make phone calls etc. Total delay was 2+ hours, but my point is that certainly did not have the jetway sealed off to the terminal.
I am sure that was the case then, but we are in a post 9/11 mode so they are certainly more stringent with rules now.
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