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Is there a UA procedure for holding flights for late conx pax? [plus experiences]

Is there a UA procedure for holding flights for late conx pax? [plus experiences]

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Old Nov 2, 15, 4:43 pm
  #46  
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UA policy for holding flights?

Currently sitting on my flight home after a long flight from Tokyo - they have delayed the flight waiting for 7 connecting passengers - this is the last flight from ORD tonight. To be honest I am quite pleased to be waiting - I think it's the right thing to do - but it got me to thinking (since I've missed SO many flights by a few minutes here at ORD) how does UA decide when its worth holding a flight - and when it's not? Not looking to start a UA bashing thread - just genuinely interested.....
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:09 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
generally no -- but at times will -- depends on many internal factors.

Might help but no guarantee.

There are issues on holding departure.
Is the gate is needed?
What impact it might have on other passenger's connections?
Crew timeouts?
Take-off slots?
and others ....

related threads
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...nsit-gate.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...n-get-off.html
Back when UA still went to BKK I arrived on a late flight from SFO. There were a significant number of people on the flight connecting to BKK. They held the plane for us. Probably because it would have cost them a ton to put us all up overnight waiting for the next flight.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:17 pm
  #48  
 
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About 2 years ago I flew LAX-ORD-FRA with a too-tight connection. First flight was delayed because of broken lav, and we were then held up waiting for a gate.

They definitely held the ORD-FRA flight for 10-15 minutes. There were at least 5 of us in F on the first flight making the connection (not all traveling together).

Perhaps the fact that it was a broken lav and in no way could be blamed on weather played a big role.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:21 pm
  #49  
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I flew once SFO-YYC on last flight of the night, where they for sure waited for a GS to board before departing late. We arrived on time after departing late, but I maintain that 40+ people on that RJ were prevented from getting to the destination 20 min sooner, for that one person. I don't know whether that's a good call to have made.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:40 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
Back when UA still went to BKK I arrived on a late flight from SFO. There were a significant number of people on the flight connecting to BKK. They held the plane for us. Probably because it would have cost them a ton to put us all up overnight waiting for the next flight.
One of the advantages when United still served BKK. It was worthwhile to hold their own flight when one of their major feeder trunks was delayed.

I think we all have anecdotal stories about United holding a flight for connecting passengers. As for the original question, I imagine it is a matrix of inputs to reach the hold/no-hold decision.

Many knowledgeable posters have indicated it is a decision made by OPS, so it is not agent discretion. Number of connecting passengers, impact on downline ops if the plane is late at destination, crew scheduling / risk of timing out later...I am sure it is complex.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 6:59 pm
  #51  
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I was on the last ORD-LHR fight a while back and the captain said that he was delaying the flight for a "large" group of students who were connecting and late. We were delayed for almost an hour.

With the winds as they were. we landed pretty much on-time. I'm sure the captain knew that was going to happen.

Can the captain unilaterally make that decision? What goes into making a decision like that?
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Old Nov 2, 15, 8:14 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan View Post
how does UA decide when its worth holding a flight - and when it's not? Not looking to start a UA bashing thread - just genuinely interested.....
Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
Many knowledgeable posters have indicated it is a decision made by OPS, so it is not agent discretion.
That's what I have been told - decision made by OPS in Chicago. And that it is on an exception basis (i.e., the default is not to hold).
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Old Nov 2, 15, 8:14 pm
  #53  
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as was described by others well in a long-ago thread:

"...there are so many factors beyond what the passenger sees. An informative bit of info from John26 in a previous thread:

"...There is too little information to speculate on this. But some of the questions a Zone Controller might be examining include:

What is the aircraft going to be used for after landing at its next destination?
How much ground handling time will it have versus how much will it need? (Are cleaners scheduled for that airport?)
What about ATC - are we on flow control right now?
Do we have a ground program in effect right now?
What about weather right now?
How about the weather at the next destination or enroute?
Flight #abc from XYZ needs this gate space - we are going to lose the ontime arrival since there are no other gates - are we willing to do that?
How many of the 20 onboard will misconnect if we take a 5-minute delay?
Will their bags make it with them (or will they or the bags get stuck behind or ahead somewhere in their itinerary)?
Is the crew (either FAs or pilots) approaching their maximum duty time?
Does crew scheduling have any reserves they can pull to cover if someone has to walk?
If it's a pilot and they actually have reserves, are they qualified on this aircraft type?
Where is the CSR working that flight needed next? We need them to work the XYZ departure several gates away now - is this going to cause a delay to board the next flight? Oh wait - the inbound aircraft for that's going to turn to become that flight needs a jetway driver - I need that CSR over there now or we'll lose the ontime arrival for that flight, too.
What about the guys on the ramp? We need them to guide in another flight right now - they need to get to their next gate.

This might give you a small sample of what goes into making these decisions. ..."

taken from this thread
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Old Nov 2, 15, 8:29 pm
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
It was one of the many benefits when United still served BKK. When their TPAC flights were late getting into NRT, they would often hold their BKK (and SIN) flight to avoid stranding people.

It was not always and I am sure the number of mis-connects and the amount of delay were certainly factored into the decision, but it happened.
That's an old time UAL/NWA habit at NRT. When back UA/NW operated lots of ex-NRT flights to the rest of Asia they would almost always hold outbound flights for late inbound connecting pax. Many Chinese and Thai (at the time) passengers need a Japanese visa if they had to go landside and NRT airside isn't 24 hrs. Airlines could in theory sponsor passengers for a "shore pass" until about 4 years ago that will grant 24/48 hrs landside access but the airlines need to assume all responsibility in case of anything (illegal immigration being one) and the officers could deny airlines' request (and they routinely did unless the sponsoring airline was JAL or ANA). I've been on UA flight from NRT to mainland China when they still had it when the plane was held well over half an hour for connecting pax.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 8:31 pm
  #55  
 
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Last night my flight into IAH was late for about an hour. The FA asked passengers with no connections to make room for passengers with tight connections to deplane first, and she said that "if it is the last flight of the day to your destination and they know you are coming on this flight, they will usually hold off the flight a bit to let you catch the flight." She encouraged the passengers with hopeless connections to try get to their gates anyway.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 9:33 pm
  #56  
 
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Great least of reasons in posts 53 and 54. I'll add another: related to maximum crew duty time, there's also minimum crew rest time. If it's the last flight of the day, the crew may be overnighting at the destination and then operating the first flight of next day on the same aircraft. Depending on how long they have between arriving the previous night and departing the next morning, the crew may be up against their minimum rest time, which means that delays in arriving the previous night (or perhaps any delay at all) cause the first flight the next day to be delayed. Any passengers on that flight that have tight connections must be weighted against those that would be missed if the previous day's last flight is not held.
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Old Nov 2, 15, 9:59 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by NewportGuy View Post
Has United ever actually held a flight past departure time specifically for a passenger? Not that the plane wasn't ready for departure, but ONLY because of a late connecting passenger?

As a GS member, I've had a UAX flight held a few extra minutes for me.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 10:14 am
  #58  
 
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Back in 2006, I was ticketed MSP>ORD>LHR on United. My originally scheduled flight MSP>ORD was cancelled due to bad weather in Denver, but I was put onto a slightly later flight on standby. Great! I thought. It would arrive at the same terminal as the LHR flight, and I would have 45 minutes to connect before the 9:30AM departure.

We arrived at ORD, and there was a delay in getting a gate. A long delay. A really long delay.

I already knew that the LHR flight was going to leave from a certain gate, and our plane was parked where we could see that gate (the number being written on the outside wall).

Although there were three of us on that flight from MSP who were booked on the LHR flight, they didn't hold it. We asked the flight attendant about the LHR flight being held, and she blew us off. At 9:30PM, the LHR flight, the last one of the day, pulled away from the gate while we groaned in frustration.

Wouldn't you know it? Our flight pulled up to the gate next to the one the LHR flight had left some five minutes later. Literally.

There had been a lot of disruption that day, so the customer service desk was not able to find me a room at the airport hotels. Instead, they gave me a voucher for a $49 room at a cheapo motel somewhere in the wilds of the Chicago exurbs and a seat on the 4:11PM flight the next day.

This motel was clean and had a restaurant and free wi-fi, so I could notify the tour group I was going to join that I'd be a day late, but the odd thing I remember was that the TV had only Fox News and sports channels. Period. No other cable channels, not even any local channels.

I woke up the next morning to see that I was in strip mall hell, and that ORD would be far more interesting than anything the motel or its surroundings had to offer, so I had the front desk call a cab, and I spent the next six hours killing time at ORD.

By the time I arrived at ORD, took the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and rode the train to Hereford to meet up with my tour group (it was a trip to the Three Choirs Festival), everyone was already out on an excursion, but at least the hotel knew that I was coming and was able to serve me some tea and sandwiches before I showered and fell into bed.

So, this is all a long-winded way of saying that UA did not hold the last London flight of the day for an arriving flight that was already on the ground with three London-bound passengers.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 10:22 am
  #59  
 
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As stated above, it so much depends on factors we don't know about. Twice I've had the LAX-LHR flight held for me (and others) on late arriving connections. Both times, we had favorable winds and arrived on time or early, so it was no big deal. Plus, that plane has a 2.5 hour turn at LHR, so they have 30+ minutes in hand for an ontime return.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 10:30 am
  #60  
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Yes, it seems unkind to let the LHR depart in the example above. But it could be that if they wanted to hold the plane, it would have been an additional:

+5 min your aircraft reaching gate (and not for certain)
+5 min jetbridge attached
+5-10 min for you to exit and get on LHR flight (depending on where you were on plane)
+5 min again for re-closing and checks of LHR flight

So, almost 20-25 min delay for that flight -- again depending on if the factors in previous messages were at play, it might have been too much.
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