Never mind June DOT stats, how about July!

Old Aug 5, 12, 8:09 pm
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Never mind June DOT stats, how about July!

If this post (from JoeSentMe.com) is true (and it sure sounds realistic), what we thought was poor in May turns to downright ugly for July:

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...ines/#comments

The changes aren’t working: More than one in three mainline United flights in July ran late. The worst-in-the-nation airline ran up an on-time rating of just 65.7 percent. That’s nearly 15 points below Delta Air Lines, the best-performing legacy carrier. It’s also ten points below American Airlines.

United also cancelled nearly 1,200 flights in July, three times the number dumped by Delta and more than double the cancel rate at American. United’s 20,000 delays in July are nearly double the rate run up by American and a third higher than Delta.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 8:42 pm
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Never mind June DOT stats, how about July!

Hopefully folks are booking away in drove
That would actually help on time ratings
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Old Aug 5, 12, 8:48 pm
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How the heck do they screw up like this? Why all the delays/cancellations?
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Old Aug 5, 12, 8:49 pm
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
If this post (from JoeSentMe.com) is true (and it sure sounds realistic), what we thought was poor in May turns to downright ugly for July:

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...ines/#comments

The changes arenít working: More than one in three mainline United flights in July ran late. The worst-in-the-nation airline ran up an on-time rating of just 65.7 percent. Thatís nearly 15 points below Delta Air Lines, the best-performing legacy carrier. Itís also ten points below American Airlines.

United also cancelled nearly 1,200 flights in July, three times the number dumped by Delta and more than double the cancel rate at American. Unitedís 20,000 delays in July are nearly double the rate run up by American and a third higher than Delta.
I don't think the changes are going to bear any fruit until August or September at best - you can't make massive schedule changes overnight, and the weather is still a wild card.

My IAD-SFO flight on Thursday and SFO-IAD flight today are excellent examples. The Thursday flight was delayed for over two hours because the incoming 319 from ORD was cancelled, and while they had a 320 ready to go, they had no crew until another aircraft arrived. This morning at SFO, we left 30 mins late because the ground staff delivered the 757 to the gate from the hangar late, and when we arrived at IAD, massive thunderstorms put us in a 45 min holding pattern.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 9:05 pm
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Weather is Not a "Wild Card"

As a meteorologist, I tire of hearing that weather is a "wild card" or unpredictable. This isn't 1960. Meteorology has made incredible advances to the extent we no longer just forecast "chance of thunderstorms" but what the radar will look like eight hours from now. Here is an example: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspo...rm-threat.html

Here is a forecast of major air travel delays made the day before: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspo...-tomorrow.html

Both of these examples is from the past month.

None of these big thunderstorm outbreaks has been a surprise. I have been shocked (even commented on this on my blog) that the airlines have not issued waivers the day before these big events.

While weather forecasting is not perfect it is remarkably better than it has ever been especially at 3 days and less. Major storms these days almost never occur without warning.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by KansasMike View Post
As a meteorologist, I tire of hearing that weather is a "wild card" or unpredictable.

...

While weather forecasting is not perfect it is remarkably better than it has ever been especially at 3 days and less. Major storms these days almost never occur without warning.
You might get tired of hearing it, but it is a fact. Just because you can predict a thunderstorm doesn't mean it won't play havoc on airline scheduling.

Do you really believe that airline schedulers come in on Monday to prepare Wednesday's flight schedule?
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Old Aug 5, 12, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
You might get tired of hearing it, but it is a fact. Just because you can predict a thunderstorm doesn't mean it won't play havoc on airline scheduling.

Do you really believe that airline schedulers come in on Monday to prepare Wednesday's flight schedule?
Did you bother to read my posting?

If they had issued waivers in any of those situations, their passengers (along with airport and res. people) could have gone a long way to proactively mitigate the problems.

For example, I mentioned on my blog that, if you were traveling on a full-fare ticket, go the day before.

In all four of the major July thunderstorm situations in the Northeast, the thunderstorms were in the afternoon. By putting every pax that was available to take an earlier flight (either day before or the morning of) into any open seats that is fewer pax inconveniences and more open seats (flexibility) when the thunderstorms actually move in.

You may think the "rolling eyes" icon is cute but you are far behind the times: Industries all over the U.S. are successfully using these more accurate forecasts to save money and operate more safely. Airlines are way behind in this regard.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by KansasMike View Post
Did you bother to read my posting?

If they had issued waivers in any of those situations, their passengers (along with airport and res. people) could have gone a long way to proactively mitigate the problems.

For example, I mentioned on my blog that, if you were traveling on a full-fare ticket, go the day before.

In all four of the major July thunderstorm situations in the Northeast, the thunderstorms were in the afternoon. By putting every pax that was available to take an earlier flight (either day before or the morning of) into any open seats that is fewer pax inconveniences and more open seats (flexibility) when the thunderstorms actually move in.

You may think the "rolling eyes" icon is cute but you are far behind the times: Industries all over the U.S. are successfully using these more accurate forecasts to save money and operate more safely. Airlines are way behind in this regard.
I agree 100% with KansasMike. But.... I long for the days where one could look at the weather map in the morning, then change a paper ticket from one airline to the other, no questions asked for a same day flight. For example, if I had a ticket on TW from BOS-STL-SFO and saw that STL would be impacted by wx, I could go to EA and trade it for BOS-ATL-SFO with ease. As long as the fare was the same, you were good to go. Different fare? Just pay the difference (or get a refund!) without penalty. Those were the days, my friend.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:10 pm
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Originally Posted by KansasMike View Post
Did you bother to read my posting?
Yes, I read your post. Yes, weather forecasting is far more advanced today that it once was.

That said, you didn't answer my question, which tells me that you either didn't understand it or are avoiding the reality of running a modern airline.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:10 pm
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Originally Posted by KansasMike View Post
Did you bother to read my posting?

If they had issued waivers in any of those situations, their passengers (along with airport and res. people) could have gone a long way to proactively mitigate the problems.

For example, I mentioned on my blog that, if you were traveling on a full-fare ticket, go the day before.

In all four of the major July thunderstorm situations in the Northeast, the thunderstorms were in the afternoon. By putting every pax that was available to take an earlier flight (either day before or the morning of) into any open seats that is fewer pax inconveniences and more open seats (flexibility) when the thunderstorms actually move in.

You may think the "rolling eyes" icon is cute but you are far behind the times: Industries all over the U.S. are successfully using these more accurate forecasts to save money and operate more safely. Airlines are way behind in this regard.
Bolding mine - This post is not meant to defend UA on its on time record, but what open seats do you suggest they go into? Or am I an anomoly where flights I am on these days are pretty much packed 100% or with only a handful, at most, of open seats. Practically all year, sometimes a couple of weeks in advance they are pretty much full. And I don't even do much hub to hub flying.

Not to mention, getting people on earlier flights around the storms ain't going to do much to improve UA's on time or cancel rating, nor that of any airline. Doesn't matter if 50% of the people on a flight XXX are able to change to an alternate the day before; if that flight is scheduled to leave at time YY:YY, and that's the time the thunderstorm ends up hitting, the flight is going to be delayed or canceled. These numbers won't change whether 1% of the seats on that flight are booked, or 100%.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:22 pm
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I agree there are not many empty seats these days which is why proactive weather risk mitigation is more important. So, the more seats you free up to use during IRROPS the less chaos you have.

That said, there are things that can be done to improve the cancellation rate during weather. Extra staffing to insure scheduled flights get out before the wx arrives.

Example: I was on UX from ORD-MDT in February. They didn't have enough people to deice the plane. Because they didn't have enough people, we were still on the ground 45 min. after departure time when the snow squalls hit. Three hours later, we finally departed. There were plenty of bucket trucks (judging from the ones that were parked but not used), not enough people. People can be scheduled around wx.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:32 pm
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Being able to predict the weather and issue waivers really isn't going to change the stats. There may be a few people who can fly out a day early or a day late, but it's not going to be the majority of travelers trying to get someplace.

Weather related delays accounted for a third of one percent of all United Flights in May, and less than half of all their delays.

In May, United had 1,535 out of 426,375 flights delayed by weather (according to the government stats). Even if every single person on every one of those flights were offered a waiver and took another flight it would have very little impact on the final numbers.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:47 pm
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It's not weather, but operational issues

I flew seven segments in the past week. Four of them had late arrival and five of them had delayed departures. All of these delays had nothing to do with weather. One of the late departures was related to aircraft maintenance issues. The others were related to aircraft's late arrivals. The worst delay was 7 hours. The other delayed departures were more than a half hour. All of these flights had either departure or arrival at EWR. I had trips in March and May, but none of those flights went through EWR. Most of those flights were reasonably on time. So, my own experience is that UA is not improving its operation at all, especially at EWR.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
Being able to predict the weather and issue waivers really isn't going to change the stats. There may be a few people who can fly out a day early or a day late, but it's not going to be the majority of travelers trying to get someplace.
Even if it only improves things at the margins (~1% as you suggest) why not do it? I simply do not understand UA's consistent failure to issue timely waivers in these major wx situations. In the case I mentioned, they did issue waivers about 1-2 hr. before the storms reached I-95 but, by then, it is too late to have much effect.

I don't understand why (one year ago this month) when well-forecast thunderstorms hit ORD the customer service counter in the F concourse was completely unmanned and remained that way.

Maybe not having enough people to run the deicing trucks and man customer service counters during adverse wx fit into your definition of a well-run airline. They don't cut it in mine.

There is no question that many of these cancellations result from being understaffed. Add in the lack of proactivity when it comes to wx and the situation goes from bad to worse.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by KansasMike View Post
Even if it only improves things at the margins (~1% as you suggest) why not do it? I simply do not understand UA's consistent failure to issue timely waivers in these major wx situations. In the case I mentioned, they did issue waivers about 1-2 hr. before the storms reached I-95 but, by then, it is too late to have much effect.

I don't understand why (one year ago this month) when well-forecast thunderstorms hit ORD the customer service counter in the F concourse was completely unmanned and remained that way.

Maybe not having enough people to run the deicing trucks and man customer service counters during adverse wx fit into your definition of a well-run airline. They don't cut it in mine.

There is no question that many of these cancellations result from being understaffed. Add in the lack of proactivity when it comes to wx and the situation goes from bad to worse.
I absolutely agree with your earlier post about United not posting weather/travel waivers. The old UA used to put a waiver in effect if the slightest bit of precipitation was expected to fall from the sky. I live in the NYC area so used to see it applied to the tri-state area airports almost weekly. This new UA is SO reluctant to put a weather waiver into effect, and to make it worse, they make it so hard to find it too. It's buried in the homepage by clicking on the 'important notices' miniscule link.
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