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United 48 BOM-EWR grounded in BOM because of "badly damaged" engine cover on 777

United 48 BOM-EWR grounded in BOM because of "badly damaged" engine cover on 777

Old Feb 23, 14, 5:05 pm
  #46  
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and UA has a spare 777 filling in for the out of service one?
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Old Feb 23, 14, 6:40 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by DL2SXM View Post
and UA has a spare 777 filling in for the out of service one?
Shouldn't be a problem with the current schedule. It could make things a bit tight in the peak summer loads but not right now.
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Old Feb 23, 14, 10:53 pm
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Originally Posted by why fly View Post
Oh 8 mechanics came over on the EWR-BOM flight, the engine is to be fixed or repaired..... the plane will then fly to HKG.... for full repairs?
Anyhow that's what the FA's said.... not the most reliable info.
A fleeting return of UA RTW service, albiet BOM-HKG instead of the old DEL-HKG route, and sans pax.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 3:52 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by why fly View Post
..... the plane will then fly to HKG.... for full repairs?
Anyhow that's what the FA's said.... not the most reliable info.
Nope, a scheduled gear change is due when in HKG. The airplane will be fully repaired when it leaves BOM.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 8:00 am
  #50  
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So...if the Indian authorities are correct in their assessment of the extent of the damage then this should be a boost for Boeing: "Boeing aircraft suffers major damage on takeoff, then flies ~8000 miles with no one onboard the plane noticing and lands safely at destination."
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Old Feb 24, 14, 8:56 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by Fivestardude View Post
"United Airlines, in a statement mailed to this correspondent, maintained the cowl was intact, while admitting it was damaged. DGCA officials, however, insisted the cowl was missing. "

I find the above excerpted statement (from the Mumbai Mirror) to be as a minium confusing and at worst contradictory. Strictly speaking, something cannot be intact while being damaged.
What about a massive dent from impact that did not dislodge the part? No broken bits fall off, but part needs to be replaced for proper functioning.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 4:40 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
Nope, a scheduled gear change is due when in HKG. The airplane will be fully repaired when it leaves BOM.
so the plane will deadhead to HKG?
Then will it deadhead back to North America from HKG? I assume its to late to plan for passengers?
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Old Feb 26, 14, 8:39 am
  #53  
 
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Red face The flight of doom - UA49 (BOM->EWR) Thursday Feb 20th

Mumbai has the reputation of one of the worst airports in the world. That new building will do little to change this if the people are not more professional.

The incoming plane had an issue. Apparently, a big hole in the engine. Everyone at the gate asks what is going on. Local gate agents seem completely panicked, keep on telling everyone "don't worry, they are working on the plane, the plane will eventually take off".

This FF knows better. And United's computers do as well. Eventually, calls get through, the app tells the truth: the flight is canceled. Gate agents just don't know it yet.

OK, what do we do now? Nobody is rebooking anyone. So people start making their own calls. United Reservations puts me on Lufthansa to Munich. Great! Leaves in 2 hours. Cool. What do I do now?

Well, the Lufthansa guy says I need to go through immigration again. Indian regulation. I also need to have someone escort me - from United - to the departure level. That is not happening. Wait 90 minutes, with other FF. We are just stuck. Lufthansa leaves by the time we are taken in charge by United Mumbai agents.

Go to one level. Immigration authorities say no way, can't come through here. OK, then let's go another way. Pass security in opposite directions after negotiating for 20 minutes with CISF. Then, somehow get in arrival hall. Get the luggage.

The chaos still reigns supreme. I try to be helpful: can I fly from Delhi tomorrow please? "Sure". Ensues discussion in Marathi. My flight is "confirmed, please go to the hotel sir, you can verify everything with UA reservations".

By the time I get to the hotel, it is 3:45AM. Get right away in touch with United Reservations. Hell ensues. The Mumbaikars never rebooked me through Delhi. Delhi flight is full anyway. They tried to book through Dubai, but failed - there is space in Dubai, but not to get TO Dubai. Earliest schedule they can get me out? Monday night. And, one agent tells me that I may need to pay money since, after all, I missed my Lufthansa flight!

Not deterred, I contacted a few companies. There is space on Indigo to Mumbai. But international credit cards don't work. I finally get space on Jet Airways. Sure, the flight is overbooked, but then I check in right away for my flight, and get seating.

Call back United. Get Stephanie from SLC. Nice person who saved a miserable day. No problem: grab a seat from Dubai to IAD. And even confirm an upgrade with a Global instrument. Nice. Because by then it is 8:30AM, I am working on reserve batteries.

Mumbai calls me at 11:50, upon me getting kicked out of my hotel room. Saying "I see there has been changes". I tell them in no uncertain terms to back off, they "helped" enough already!

Finally back in the US, I write to United to explain my ordeal with the crew in Mumbai and compliment Stephanie (as opposed to other agents which were less than helpful... what, you screwed up and I end up spending money). I also have them note that I spent some $435 to help them get me back home. I don't get everything back, but I get an answer, and a voucher. Answer is pretty fast arriving, voucher as well.

Voucher that I am more than happy to redeem for a flight back from India. But we'll try Delhi this time, so far I got a better run from that place.

This 1K is obviously not happy. But I am seeing good things nonetheless:

1- There are still some agents that are helpful and will try to rescue you. We should cherish them, and frankly United needs to cherish them too.

2- The Mumbai gate agents are in need of training and leadership. They tried to help, but were ineffectual. They were really caught with their pants down. Communication-wise, their performance was a big zero.

3- NEVER, EVER run down your battery before a out-of-Mumbai flight, thinking you can charge in the plane anyway. You need that phone, it can be your lifeline, because you cannot count on the local team to help you. Only United Reservations really can.

4- Indian immigration regulations are a joke. Hey, I already got out of the country, why do you care which airline I use to do so? From what I know, in other countries, the problem would have been solved.

5- Albeit short of full reimbursement, these compensation miles and travel vouchers were appreciated. They were not puny, and they were a balm.

6- An airport is much more than a building. In Mumbai, the terminal is brand new (a plus - I saw huge roaches in the old terminal). But the problem is that you have the same people operating it with the same dubious procedures. And it has nothing to do with Indians: Indians and Philippinos are running the show in Dubai, and DXB is light miles away from BOM as far as experience goes.

7- That BOM->EWR flight is cursed for me. They once denied me boarding because we were flying in a snowstorm. And back then, I got a $700 voucher. The good old days, 5 year ago, prior to merger.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 8:54 am
  #54  
 
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Making me feel doubly lucky. First, I flew UA 48 and 49 with no issues, actually arrived a couple hours early EWR-BOM. Second, I'm going back to India, but connecting through DEL, and not BOM! BOM is ridiculous.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 8:56 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by skidooman View Post
Mumbai has the reputation of one of the worst airports in the world. That new building will do little to change this if the people are not more professional.

The incoming plane had an issue. Apparently, a big hole in the engine. Everyone at the gate asks what is going on. Local gate agents seem completely panicked, keep on telling everyone "don't worry, they are working on the plane, the plane will eventually take off".

This FF knows better. And United's computers do as well. Eventually, calls get through, the app tells the truth: the flight is canceled. Gate agents just don't know it yet.

OK, what do we do now? Nobody is rebooking anyone. So people start making their own calls. United Reservations puts me on Lufthansa to Munich. Great! Leaves in 2 hours. Cool. What do I do now?

Well, the Lufthansa guy says I need to go through immigration again. Indian regulation. I also need to have someone escort me - from United - to the departure level. That is not happening. Wait 90 minutes, with other FF. We are just stuck. Lufthansa leaves by the time we are taken in charge by United Mumbai agents.

Go to one level. Immigration authorities say no way, can't come through here. OK, then let's go another way. Pass security in opposite directions after negotiating for 20 minutes with CISF. Then, somehow get in arrival hall. Get the luggage.

The chaos still reigns supreme. I try to be helpful: can I fly from Delhi tomorrow please? "Sure". Ensues discussion in Marathi. My flight is "confirmed, please go to the hotel sir, you can verify everything with UA reservations".

By the time I get to the hotel, it is 3:45AM. Get right away in touch with United Reservations. Hell ensues. The Mumbaikars never rebooked me through Delhi. Delhi flight is full anyway. They tried to book through Dubai, but failed - there is space in Dubai, but not to get TO Dubai. Earliest schedule they can get me out? Monday night. And, one agent tells me that I may need to pay money since, after all, I missed my Lufthansa flight!

Not deterred, I contacted a few companies. There is space on Indigo to Mumbai. But international credit cards don't work. I finally get space on Jet Airways. Sure, the flight is overbooked, but then I check in right away for my flight, and get seating.

Call back United. Get Stephanie from SLC. Nice person who saved a miserable day. No problem: grab a seat from Dubai to IAD. And even confirm an upgrade with a Global instrument. Nice. Because by then it is 8:30AM, I am working on reserve batteries.

Mumbai calls me at 11:50, upon me getting kicked out of my hotel room. Saying "I see there has been changes". I tell them in no uncertain terms to back off, they "helped" enough already!

Finally back in the US, I write to United to explain my ordeal with the crew in Mumbai and compliment Stephanie (as opposed to other agents which were less than helpful... what, you screwed up and I end up spending money). I also have them note that I spent some $435 to help them get me back home. I don't get everything back, but I get an answer, and a voucher. Answer is pretty fast arriving, voucher as well.

Voucher that I am more than happy to redeem for a flight back from India. But we'll try Delhi this time, so far I got a better run from that place.

This 1K is obviously not happy. But I am seeing good things nonetheless:

1- There are still some agents that are helpful and will try to rescue you. We should cherish them, and frankly United needs to cherish them too.

2- The Mumbai gate agents are in need of training and leadership. They tried to help, but were ineffectual. They were really caught with their pants down. Communication-wise, their performance was a big zero.

3- NEVER, EVER run down your battery before a out-of-Mumbai flight, thinking you can charge in the plane anyway. You need that phone, it can be your lifeline, because you cannot count on the local team to help you. Only United Reservations really can.

4- Indian immigration regulations are a joke. Hey, I already got out of the country, why do you care which airline I use to do so? From what I know, in other countries, the problem would have been solved.

5- Albeit short of full reimbursement, these compensation miles and travel vouchers were appreciated. They were not puny, and they were a balm.

6- An airport is much more than a building. In Mumbai, the terminal is brand new (a plus - I saw huge roaches in the old terminal). But the problem is that you have the same people operating it with the same dubious procedures. And it has nothing to do with Indians: Indians and Philippinos are running the show in Dubai, and DXB is light miles away from BOM as far as experience goes.

7- That BOM->EWR flight is cursed for me. They once denied me boarding because we were flying in a snowstorm. And back then, I got a $700 voucher. The good old days, 5 year ago, prior to merger.
Completely understand your pain. This longhaul route has been really cursed for UA. Dunno how it was under CO. The problem with UA staff in Mumbai is that they are not really UA staff (as only one flight coming and one going). They are all contract people who dont know half of the procedures most of the time. You just have to cross your fingers and pray to god that no holes are found in engines and nothing goes wrong. Glad that you were able to get out. Personally - having family there is helpful
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Old Feb 26, 14, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by IADFlyer123 View Post
Completely understand your pain. This longhaul route has been really cursed for UA. Dunno how it was under CO. The problem with UA staff in Mumbai is that they are not really UA staff (as only one flight coming and one going). They are all contract people who dont know half of the procedures most of the time. You just have to cross your fingers and pray to god that no holes are found in engines and nothing goes wrong. Glad that you were able to get out. Personally - having family there is helpful
You bet.

And there is one more query I had.

Look. If I take my Hyundai on a trip, say from BOS->ORD, and then I have a mechanical problem on the road. I can pull over for repairs, right? The local car shop is unlikely to tell me "well, sir, we need the parts from your dealership".

So, why isn't GE, Rolls Royce and other companies not maintaining a set of parts in strategic places in the world? Mumbai isn't exactly New York, but it is not Novossibirsk either. There are how many 777 taking off from there?

To my understanding (and, once again, the communication issue with that crew), the parts needs to be flown from the US. The plane flying to that location on that Friday would have left already. So, providing the parts go there via normal operations, the earliest it gets to Mumbai is 9:00 PM on Saturday. That plane is grounded until Sunday.

Maybe there is something I am missing but that sounds ridiculous to me.

As for the Mumbai guys not being United's, in my mind it is United problem nonetheless. They damage the United brand anyway. If they cannot deal with IRROPS, then United should find people able to do the job. Mumbai is a big city, I assume this is doable.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 9:22 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
Damaged cowl.....conspiracy theory.
I know this is very serious, but I couldn't help thinking about the Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" with a very young William Shatner.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 9:44 am
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by skidooman View Post
You bet.

And there is one more query I had.

Look. If I take my Hyundai on a trip, say from BOS->ORD, and then I have a mechanical problem on the road. I can pull over for repairs, right? The local car shop is unlikely to tell me "well, sir, we need the parts from your dealership".

So, why isn't GE, Rolls Royce and other companies not maintaining a set of parts in strategic places in the world? Mumbai isn't exactly New York, but it is not Novossibirsk either. There are how many 777 taking off from there?

To my understanding (and, once again, the communication issue with that crew), the parts needs to be flown from the US. The plane flying to that location on that Friday would have left already. So, providing the parts go there via normal operations, the earliest it gets to Mumbai is 9:00 PM on Saturday. That plane is grounded until Sunday.

Maybe there is something I am missing but that sounds ridiculous to me.

As for the Mumbai guys not being United's, in my mind it is United problem nonetheless. They damage the United brand anyway. If they cannot deal with IRROPS, then United should find people able to do the job. Mumbai is a big city, I assume this is doable.
I feel your pain. The reality is that outstations that UA serves are always going to be staffed with non-UA personnel who perform just fine when things are going well...but when you have an IRROP such as yours...well, you see what happened. The sad part of it is that even US based agents tend to fall apart with UA's current system and policies. This type of situation is the prime reason our organization dropped UA as our preferred carrier several years ago...if they can't take care of passengers when they, UA, have a problem...well, "the grass really is greener!" Sad, Sad, Sad!
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Old Feb 26, 14, 9:55 am
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by 1KPath View Post
I feel your pain. The reality is that outstations that UA serves are always going to be staffed with non-UA personnel who perform just fine when things are going well...but when you have an IRROP such as yours...well, you see what happened. The sad part of it is that even US based agents tend to fall apart with UA's current system and policies. This type of situation is the prime reason our organization dropped UA as our preferred carrier several years ago...if they can't take care of passengers when they, UA, have a problem...well, "the grass really is greener!" Sad, Sad, Sad!
And lets be honest here. Its a 777. They have a big base up in HKG and NRT. For pete's sake, worst comes to worst, get a loaner part (if that is possible) from Air India (they fly 777's) and return them a new part! All sorts of things are possible (but I guess policies prevent them from doing so. So much for practicality!
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Old Feb 26, 14, 10:00 am
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About 15 years ago I flew NRT-LAX on a NW 742. When I was back in the terminal after clearing customs I noticed that one engine was surrounded by maintenance people.

There was a huge hold in the cowl. It wasn't there when we departed & there was no bird strike on departure. IIRC speculation was that ice had caused it, but I never read any confirmation. Stuff happens.
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