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Question for SQ experts regarding SQ avoiding weather

Question for SQ experts regarding SQ avoiding weather

Old Feb 17, 18, 9:10 am
  #1  
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Question for SQ experts regarding SQ avoiding weather

This is going to be a strange one but trust I've taken a sample from my own flights and also watching other flights and I just cannot abate my curiosity any longer.

I've noticed that, as a generalization, it appears SQ and it's pilots don't really care all that much about smooth air/passenger comfort as far as flight conditions go and have a much more "suck it up-as long as it's safe for the aircraft we are fine" attitude. I've seen this on my own flights where we have stayed in choppy CAT for hours and hours while watching other flights on Flight Aware find smoother altitudes lower. Another point today that's fascinating. The tropical cyclone currently in North Western Australia is wreaking havoc. Every single other carrier vectored their flights between SE Asia either further north or further south from Broom airport, which is the normal waypoint, but not SQ 221. She's flying right through/above the cyclone.

Anyone with more specific aviation expertise with Singapore care to comment? And also for the record-I've flown 2 million miles with probably 100k on carriers like EK, DL, LH, etc so I feel i have a fairly reasonable sample size. I also am well aware that the pilot will always do what's safe, I'm not discussing safety so much as passenger comfort.





Thanks
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Old Feb 17, 18, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
This is going to be a strange one

I've noticed that, as a generalization, it appears SQ and it's pilots don't really care all that much about smooth air/passenger comfort as far as flight conditions go
It's not strange, it's just not discussed.

Without getting too far into it, yes that's pretty much the long and the short of it. I know a lot of SQ pilots and they've all alluded to the fact that company policy is more or less to get there without delay and without spending money on irrops / accommodating passengers at outstations unless it's absolutely necessary. It's the culture of the company.

This one you'll really like.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 11:11 am
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You would have though that the incident with turbulence during meal time on an SQ flight would have made some impact on the latitude SQ management gave to pilots... but it's not surprising that it didn't.

Hopefully someone doesn't actually have to die on an SQ flight due to turbulence before they do impliment changes. But it likely that just like with many other airlines it's gonna be business as usual if taking a longer route would mean delays or more costs.
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Old Feb 17, 18, 3:48 pm
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Except that path really flown by tonight's SQ221 was according to FR24 much lower and exactly same as TG475, QF24 etc... Are you suggesting that all of them did not give damn about the weather, @DLATL777?

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Old Feb 17, 18, 11:58 pm
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Interesting discussion.

Pretty much what Phaze said. Pilots are subject to varying pressures including passenger comfort, timeliness, safety, operational needs, and budget.

Where you on this specific flight and experienced discomfort?

From the armchair it looks like its heading into the storm, but you'll be surprised how close you need to be to the eye for winds to be strong. Even if it flew directly adjacent to the edge you'd hardly notice being inside the cabin.
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Old Feb 18, 18, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by davidj1 View Post
Interesting discussion.

Pretty much what Phaze said. Pilots are subject to varying pressures including passenger comfort, timeliness, safety, operational needs, and budget.

Where you on this specific flight and experienced discomfort?

From the armchair it looks like its heading into the storm, but you'll be surprised how close you need to be to the eye for winds to be strong. Even if it flew directly adjacent to the edge you'd hardly notice being inside the cabin.
It did not fly even remotely close to what OP claimed. OP's screenshot was taken before FR24 had real data and is "estimated" route, based on pre-filled route... The real route is seen on the screen capture that I have posted which is way away from the storm and using same route as many other airlines...
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Old Feb 22, 18, 4:21 pm
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Sadly, this thread went the wrong way-it went about focusing on one flight, on one screen shot, and one example to prove a right vs wrong. Thats not even remotely the point.

This is a general discussion citing one example. @Phaze-thank you for your contribution. Do you feel given your experience here that SQ is better, worse, or inline with other Asian carriers in this regard? We all know US carriers are the most sensitive which Ive always felt in part is due to thier paranoia of an injury due to Turbulence.
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Old Feb 22, 18, 4:52 pm
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I personally think that SQ is no worse, nor better than any other airline I flew on. One thing that drives me nuts though is that SQ tends to switch on "Fasten the Seat belts" sign more often than any other airline, often without any resulting turbulence and that they also make loud announcements about it every time, including at times when people try to sleep...
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Old Feb 22, 18, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Phaze View Post
I know a lot of SQ pilots and they've all alluded to the fact that company policy is more or less to get there without delay and without spending money on irrops / accommodating passengers at outstations unless it's absolutely necessary. It's the culture of the company.
Company policy is more or less to get there without delay? That sounds like my preference and priority as well.
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Old Feb 22, 18, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
Sadly, this thread went the wrong way-it went about focusing on one flight, on one screen shot, and one example to prove a right vs wrong. Thats not even remotely the point.
Hah, welcome to the SQ board. It's characteristic of this sub-forum. The fiercely loyalist cheerleaders always pop up eventually, to spin and twist everything to defend this above-average carrier to the hilt.

Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
This is a general discussion citing one example. @Phaze-thank you for your contribution. Do you feel given your experience here that SQ is better, worse, or inline with other Asian carriers in this regard? We all know US carriers are the most sensitive which Ive always felt in part is due to thier paranoia of an injury due to Turbulence.
I can't compare them to US carriers, but of all the full-service Asian carriers I fly regularly (which is pretty much all of them apart from VN, KE, OZ and every mainland Chinese carrier) SQ definitely likes to look weather in the face more than any of the others. I do a lot of sectors to Europe and then usually head eastwards from Singapore on the way back - to Japan, Korea and the southern tip of Australia. After a while it was certainly noticeable enough for me to mention it in passing to a few friends at SQ, but I doubt the average customer cares because most people just don't fly that much and will simply put it down to unavoidable inclement weather.
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Old Feb 22, 18, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by sqyf View Post
Company policy is more or less to get there without delay? That sounds like my preference and priority as well.
Context of the thread; acquire it ^
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Old Feb 22, 18, 6:20 pm
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Originally Posted by DLATL777 View Post
I feel i have a fairly reasonable sample size. I also am well aware that the pilot will always do what's safe, I'm not discussing safety so much as passenger comfort.
I think it is very simplistic to say "they don't care and fly though it because it is safe to do so". From my discussions with one A380 captain over the last three years, he says that when they notice that there may be some not so nice weather on their screens, they generally try to avoid it. Obviously safe flying is always their priority however he goes on to say there are so many factors and variables in play that can affect any decision to deviate, even if they are able to do so. For example, deviating requires more time and sometimes the arriving airport may not even have landing slot available for them if they were having a (non-emergency) delayed arrival. SYD is known for being a heavily congested airport plus with restrictive curfews, so any changes to arrival time may be not accepted by SYD. Any changes to flight direction/level requires authorisation (in non-emergency events) and that said airspace may be so busy that they may not be allowed. Now, assuming they deviate, the cloud system may be so terrible and wide, that deviating may still result in the similar levels of passenger discomfort (let alone the chance of clear air turbulence that does not reveal on the radar systems either), plus deviating may require more crew working hours (again which again is heavily regulated and potentially may be illegal in certain jurisdictions).

Now I have asked this said pilot, why the seat belt light comes on and stays on (for what seems like forever) even though there is absolutely smooth flying - and his response is that they see "lots of red paint" on their radar screens so thus they put the signs on, and sometimes they are lucky enough to fly through a narrow corridor of "red paint" that might be two kilometers wide, that is relatively smooth flying. Now he says, if they are 1 km off either side and the flight could experience serious bumps.

There's more to it, I'll be back.
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