When $7 Just Doesn't Cut It (10hr delay)

 
Old Jul 1, 07, 9:16 pm
  #1  
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When $7 Just Doesn't Cut It (10hr delay)

I was on Delta Flt 1460 on 6/21 from SAN to ATL. The flight was scheduled for 11:30 am, and was on a 1 hour "maintenance" delay upon my arrival at the airport. According to DL, no other options out of SAN either that day or the next day, so I headed to the CRC to wait it out. I called SMS, and I was told nothing available on any airline.

After many changes and challenges, the flight finally boarded around 7:30 pm. The pilot came on the PA to apologize for the delay... and we finally got a straight story on why the delay. The plane had failed to comply with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) issued by the FAA, and needed to fly in a mechanic and special equipment from ATL to do an inspection on a landing gear pin.

After taxi to the runway, we sat for a few minutes, and the pilot came back over the PA to announce that after stopping at the end of the taxiway, the plane encountered a "massive hydraulic leak." So, back to the gate we went. Eventually, we all got put on a different a/c and ended up wheels up around 10:00 pm, nearly 11 hours late!

Now, I have sat through many maintenance (as well ATC/weather) related issues, and I have always been calm, cool and collected during these delays (just gotta roll with it). I can always understand a maintenance issue, as stuff happens. What I cannot accept is DL missing a scheduled and required maintenance check based on an AD. Having spent many years in the Tech Ops area of an aerospace company, I am well aware of how ADs are issued, and that the OEM and DL were well aware of the issue long before the plane ended up at the gate in SAN on 6/21. I did a little research, and found that the AD in question appears to have been in effect since 05/2006 and requires repetitive inspections of the part at required intervals.

So, this whole situation leads me to a few questions...

How in the world was this plane dispatched from ATL to SAN having missed this inspection?

How in the world is a $7 "meal voucher" adequate compensation for such a massive failure of the Delta Tech Ops organization, and management?
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Old Jul 1, 07, 9:27 pm
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Good question.....
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Old Jul 1, 07, 10:17 pm
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You got a $7 meal voucher? Lucky, I only got a $6 one for the last delayed flight I had!

I would expect to receive a compensation voucher in the mail in the next month or so. For mechanical delays of that length, I believe the airline is required to reimburse the customer a certain amount of money. The last mechanical delay I took (about six hours) netted me a $125 voucher in the mail about a month later. I didn't write to Delta at all; it was automatically sent to me.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 12:39 am
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Similar thing happened to me 2 weeks ago on my JFK-LAX...except my delay was only 5.5 hours Does EVERY part DL needs for MX have to be flown in from ATL? I know SAN isn't a hub...but JFK is...wouldn't you think they'd have a few extra parts (let alone a spare a/c!) lying around there at least (as well as at CVG and SLC)
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Old Jul 2, 07, 7:09 am
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We got $7 meal vouchers for a 4 hour delay a couple weeks ago. We actually managed to find dinner for 4 at ATL for about $1.50 more than the value of the vouchers.

It's probably best I don't know about the various screwups that lead to delays. Better to naively accept the voucher and get where I going eventually. See how ignorance is bliss?
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Old Jul 2, 07, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by samikitty View Post
I called SMS, and I was told nothing available on any airline.
If at all possible, it is usually better to identify the flight you'd like on another carrier and verify its availability yourself first.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by samikitty View Post
How in the world is a $7 "meal voucher" adequate compensation for such a massive failure of the Delta Tech Ops organization, and management?
I'm sure Jerry Grinstein and the rest of the corporate suite had a lot to do with this maintenance issue.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by gilpin View Post
If at all possible, it is usually better to identify the flight you'd like on another carrier and verify its availability yourself first.
I agree, and I actually tried that to get on an alternate airline 8:45 flight, after we deplaned from the hydraulic leak issue. Had my wife verify seats available. Unfortunately, the flight had been dispatched in the system, and SMS was unaware that the flight had returned to the gate at the time I called. They refused to rebook me on the alternate airline, suggesting I would be "better off" to remain on the flight I was on.

I also tried very early on to get on an AirTran flight from SAN to ATL that did have seats available, but since DL does not have a reciprocal agreement with AirTran, they refused that as well.

Again, I was much more accepting of the delay (mechanical or otherwise), until I realized that the sole reason for my delay was a complete failure of the Delta maintenance operations team, by dispatching a plane that should have been grounded.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 2:12 pm
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You should have had Delta process a full refund for their delayed flight and purchased the Air Tran ticket on your own. Would the Air Tran flight have been too expensive at that point even with the offset of the Delta refund?
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Old Jul 2, 07, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by sspontak View Post
You should have had Delta process a full refund for their delayed flight and purchased the Air Tran ticket on your own. Would the Air Tran flight have been too expensive at that point even with the offset of the Delta refund?
Yes, it was cost prohibitive to do it that way. I tried every option I knew of, and I was stuck. Did I mention that it took over an hour to check in via the FC check-in because of the delay and surrounding issues? The people at the counter were as unwilling to solve the problem as SMS. They wouldn't even look at alternate departure airports. Of course, each time the delay moved out it seemed like a better idea to find an alternate plan to get home.

First delay: 11:40 to 12:30
Second Delay: 12:30 to 4:00
Third Delay: 4:00 to 7:00
Final Delay (after returning to gate) 10:00

So, at first, it seemed like a small deal, and escalated as the day went on. Crazy thing was I looked at the board, and there was no inbound flight from ATL to carry the mechanic in, not to worry I was told, they were brining in a mechanic from LAX. Around 6:30 pm I noticed a Delta RJ taking off from the CRC. I looked at the board, and there was no RJ on the schedule, so I assume they flew the RJ in with the mechanic to deal with the issue.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by samikitty View Post
I was on Delta Flt 1460 on 6/21 from SAN to ATL. The flight was scheduled for 11:30 am, and was on a 1 hour "maintenance" delay upon my arrival at the airport. According to DL, no other options out of SAN either that day or the next day, so I headed to the CRC to wait it out. I called SMS, and I was told nothing available on any airline.

After many changes and challenges, the flight finally boarded around 7:30 pm. The pilot came on the PA to apologize for the delay... and we finally got a straight story on why the delay. The plane had failed to comply with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) issued by the FAA, and needed to fly in a mechanic and special equipment from ATL to do an inspection on a landing gear pin.

After taxi to the runway, we sat for a few minutes, and the pilot came back over the PA to announce that after stopping at the end of the taxiway, the plane encountered a "massive hydraulic leak." So, back to the gate we went. Eventually, we all got put on a different a/c and ended up wheels up around 10:00 pm, nearly 11 hours late!

Now, I have sat through many maintenance (as well ATC/weather) related issues, and I have always been calm, cool and collected during these delays (just gotta roll with it). I can always understand a maintenance issue, as stuff happens. What I cannot accept is DL missing a scheduled and required maintenance check based on an AD. Having spent many years in the Tech Ops area of an aerospace company, I am well aware of how ADs are issued, and that the OEM and DL were well aware of the issue long before the plane ended up at the gate in SAN on 6/21. I did a little research, and found that the AD in question appears to have been in effect since 05/2006 and requires repetitive inspections of the part at required intervals.

So, this whole situation leads me to a few questions...

How in the world was this plane dispatched from ATL to SAN having missed this inspection?

How in the world is a $7 "meal voucher" adequate compensation for such a massive failure of the Delta Tech Ops organization, and management?
It is not just DL (see I am almost nice to DL again) but the treatment of PAX by, in this case, DL is pure and unmitigated BULL S***!!!!

And, you wonder why PAX are outraged.

Send a letter of complaint to everyone from Grinstein on down. Copy your Congressmen and Senators and the Commerce Dept.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by mtparadis View Post
I'm sure Jerry Grinstein and the rest of the corporate suite had a lot to do with this maintenance issue.
They do......The buck stops at the top!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Jul 2, 07, 2:42 pm
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Absolutely

Originally Posted by mtparadis View Post
I'm sure Jerry Grinstein and the rest of the corporate suite had a lot to do with this maintenance issue.
This was NOT an unanticipated mechanical failure! This was the failure to comply with an inspection subsequent to an FAA issued Airworthiness Directive that has been in effect since May, 2006. Someone is responsible for dispatching a plane that should be grounded. It probably was NOT the mechanic who missed the inspection, but rather his management that force the plane to return to service in XX hours in order to squeeze out the revenue.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by samikitty View Post

I also tried very early on to get on an AirTran flight from SAN to ATL that did have seats available, but since DL does not have a reciprocal agreement with AirTran, they refused that as well.
Just FYI, DL and FL do have a reciprocal agreement of some sort. I was put on a FL flight SAV-ATL when DL's flight was delayed in order to make a connection on DL to overseas (I forget if it was NRT or TLV...).

The CSR at the airport had to fill out a voucher for Airtran, but they put me on the flight with no payment by me.
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Old Jul 2, 07, 3:43 pm
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I got so torqued at a CRJ maintenance and delay issue one time that I worte the FAA suggesting that Comair's maintenance was substandard. I included that letter in a complaint to DOT.

I wasn't looking for compensation.... I just wanted things improved, and that seemed, at the time, to be the best way to get the attention of DL. After all, letters directly to DL didn't seem to result in anything other than a nice letter in response.

The upshot was a letter from somewhere high-up in customer service along with some vouchers. And I don't think I've been on a Comair plane since (mainline only).
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