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Flights leaving early with delayed connecting passengers should be penalized

Flights leaving early with delayed connecting passengers should be penalized

Old Jan 29, 18, 10:07 pm
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Now, again, there are a lot of factors, and a 5 minute departure delay could easily turn into a 25 minute arrival delay, so I'm not arguing in favor of a blanket "always wait for nearby pax" rule. But it's plain to see that a focus on D:0 is not customer-centric; UA should focus on A:0 instead.
Heck, if I could get 100% A:15, I wouldn't care in the slightest about any other statistic.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
Pretty much the same thing happened to me on a delayed LAS-LAX flight. We landed at T7 and my connection to ORD was in T7 too. Ran to the gate. The agent was coming out of the jetway and sees me. "You must be Mr. iluv" he said. Yes. Sorry, had to push back. I rebooked you on the redeye back to Chicago. (Five hours later.) He did call the GFL and said that they would let me wait there. (Minor consolation.) So he knew I was coming and didn't wait.

And I'm a GS. So don't go uber-dramatic that you are a 1K and they don't value your business. It is what it is. Get over it.
I had a similar situation with a happier ending. Came in TPAC to SFO with an ultra-tight connection SFO-BOS in the domestic terminal. GS agent met me at the inbound, and walked with me through Global Entry/Customs, pre-Check, and into the domestic terminal. All the while he was on his radio to the gate with progress updates. He told me they would hold until T-10, then have to close the door. We made it at T-10.0000001 as the agent was holding the door handle.

So even for this multi-year GS, policy is policy.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:48 pm
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
Yes, agree first world problem.

Cancelled my plans for attending church with my friends this afternoon.

Fortunately my friends now know to not rely on me if the plans are after arriving on a United flight.

I should have known better than to allow for 45 mins at LAX. Mea culpa.
while you are getting a lot of "its the breaks" replies, In my 20+ years of extensive travel I've only seen one airline that does not make an effort to hold A/C, and that is UA post 3/2/12. The old pmUA would hold A/C, particularly if it was the last flight of the day, when a passenger with status (not silver, but I had it often as a GS/1K) or a premium passenger with zone making the call. Only issue I ran into was at DEN, and zone there was known -so the GS folks there said - to be an issue. I've not had the kind of issues I had on UA post 3/2/12 with dalays, but I have had DL hold planes by a few minutes, and certainly have not had one leave EARLY. Maybe American does it.

I think the bigger point is that as usual UA has engaged in what is barely first order thinking. They realised OT was an issue, so incentivized staff to get planes out early. Of course this involves planes leaving early, and then getting in early, perhaps to no gate, along with second order impacts of POed passengers when the arriving delay is UA's fault. I don't think UA's analysis ever got to the impact of having elites/premium passengers be delayed due to UA's fault, and show up just in time, only to find the door closed.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 3:19 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Simple. The customer doesn't care about D:0, at all. Barring some ridiculous scenario straight out of the movies -- "whoo, we departed; the corrupt foreign police can't touch us now" -- it matters to zero people on the plane whether or not they depart on time.

Now, A:0? That matters. And you can argue that D:0 impacts A:0 -- all other things being equal, the earlier you depart, the earlier you'll arrive. But sometimes other things aren't equal. In the OP's case, is it more customer friendly to get every passenger save one to SAN ten minutes ahead of schedule, or to get every passenger to SAN exactly on schedule? If UA were monitoring A:0 instead of D:0, they may be more willing to hold flights when there's no impact to A:0 than they are today.

Now, again, there are a lot of factors, and a 5 minute departure delay could easily turn into a 25 minute arrival delay, so I'm not arguing in favor of a blanket "always wait for nearby pax" rule. But it's plain to see that a focus on D:0 is not customer-centric; UA should focus on A:0 instead.
You can't have a good A:0 without first having a good D:0 (unless you believe in excessive, unrealistic block times that wastes time, hides a poor operation, and increases costs). Have to put the horse before the cart. It's not even an argument that D:0 impacts A:0. There's many problems with relying on A:0. There's a lack of a hard line for a goal. It promotes sloppiness. It promotes laziness. It doesn't promote running an ontime operation. Another issue is that it promotes kicking the can of responsibility to remain ontime down the road. "We'll make it back up later" is the thought process that's promoted. It's so ironic that the whole reason the OP's misconnect happened in the first place was a late inbound. What if that inbound could have gotten out 10 minutes earlier and returned to LAX 10 minutes earlier? We don't have a thread. Do the math. Let's say the flight would have been slid back 10 minutes if they would have accommodated the OP. It was a full flight. 75 passengers lose 10 minutes. 750 minutes lost total. One PAX gets left behind and loses about 128 minutes, the same as the OP. Also, that's 10 fewer minutes for the return SAN-LAX to turn and remain ontime. Under normal circumstances it would be fine, but things happen. That's 10 fewer minutes to fix a mechanical problem, etc. 10 minutes later back to LAX could mean even more misconnects. Soon a few are inconvenienced more seriously than one minor inconvenience. That's the cascade that can happen.

There's a reason there's a high correlation between UA's rising D:0 and A:0/A:14 stats over the past few years. D:0 is where it starts. It's undeniable that a D:0 focus is customer-friendly for the vast majority of passengers. Some people certainly lose out, but they are few.

It's also very wrong to say that matters to zero people whether a flight left ontime. It means making departure slot. It means a higher chance of arriving ontime. And unbeknownst to them, because other flights left ontime, there could a gate available at arrival.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 6:26 am
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
It's also very wrong to say that matters to zero people whether a flight left ontime. It means making departure slot. It means a higher chance of arriving ontime. And unbeknownst to them, because other flights left ontime, there could a gate available at arrival.
I haven't seen it yet (on this thread), but an D:0 metric also means there's a higher chance I'm not spending 30 useless minutes on a plane sitting at the gate with only APU/ground powered AC waiting for someone who could easily wait for the next flight to come to this one.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 6:27 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
Sometimes Southwest will wait past departure time for connecting passengers.
"Sometimes" UA will too.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
I had a similar situation with a happier ending. Came in TPAC to SFO with an ultra-tight connection SFO-BOS in the domestic terminal. GS agent met me at the inbound, and walked with me through Global Entry/Customs, pre-Check, and into the domestic terminal. All the while he was on his radio to the gate with progress updates. He told me they would hold until T-10, then have to close the door. We made it at T-10.0000001 as the agent was holding the door handle.
It seems that flying GS with a I-D connection is more stressful than being a nobody on JL or CX?
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Old Jan 30, 18, 7:25 am
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
I still maintain that departure time should be when the doors are closed, not when the paperwork is done, not when you start talking to ATC, not when the parking brake gets released, not when the airplane starts physically moving back, not when the airplane starts moving forward under its own power, not when takeoff clearance is given, not when takeoff roll begins, not at V1, and not at wheels up. Everything that occurs AFTER the doors are closed is someone else's problem, not mine. Why am I expected to give the airline extra time to do all this stuff behind the scenes? I know that it exists... my point is that *I don't care*.
I GUARANTEE you that will lead to customer complaints like, "UA lied! Their flight status page claimed my flight left exactly on time at 10:00 when in fact it was still at the gate and didn't start moving until 10:10!"
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
while you are getting a lot of "its the breaks" replies, In my 20+ years of extensive travel I've only seen one airline that does not make an effort to hold A/C, and that is UA post 3/2/12. The old pmUA would hold A/C, particularly if it was the last flight of the day, when a passenger with status (not silver, but I had it often as a GS/1K) or a premium passenger with zone making the call. Only issue I ran into was at DEN, and zone there was known -so the GS folks there said - to be an issue. I've not had the kind of issues I had on UA post 3/2/12 with dalays, but I have had DL hold planes by a few minutes, and certainly have not had one leave EARLY. Maybe American does it.

I think the bigger point is that as usual UA has engaged in what is barely first order thinking. They realised OT was an issue, so incentivized staff to get planes out early. Of course this involves planes leaving early, and then getting in early, perhaps to no gate, along with second order impacts of POed passengers when the arriving delay is UA's fault. I don't think UA's analysis ever got to the impact of having elites/premium passengers be delayed due to UA's fault, and show up just in time, only to find the door closed.
You need to fly more. Twice in the last year, to test out “if the grass is actually greener” I’ve misconnected in ATL and DL did not hold the plane for me. I will only fly them if they have a nonstop option for me now (and are significantly less expensive).
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Last edited by SFOdelayed; Jan 30, 18 at 9:38 am Reason: Typo
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
You can't have a good A:0 without first having a good D:0 (unless you believe in excessive, unrealistic block times that wastes time, hides a poor operation, and increases costs).
Nonsense. While D:0 is a contributing factor to A:0, it's hardly the only one. And UA has excessive, unrealistic block times now -- I commonly arrive 10-30 minutes early.

Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
Do the math. Let's say the flight would have been slid back 10 minutes if they would have accommodated the OP. It was a full flight. 75 passengers lose 10 minutes. 750 minutes lost total. One PAX gets left behind and loses about 128 minutes, the same as the OP. Also, that's 10 fewer minutes for the return SAN-LAX to turn and remain ontime. Under normal circumstances it would be fine, but things happen. That's 10 fewer minutes to fix a mechanical problem, etc. 10 minutes later back to LAX could mean even more misconnects. Soon a few are inconvenienced more seriously than one minor inconvenience. That's the cascade that can happen.
Yep, all of this is correct, which is why I don't advocate holding flights in every situation. In the OP's situation, I don't have access to enough information to know whether or not holding the flight was an acceptable option. But Operations does, both at the main operations centers and also the staff at LAX. The focus on D:0 compels them to decide against holding the flight. A focus on A:0 might have allowed them to hold the flight.

Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
It's undeniable that a D:0 focus is customer-friendly for the vast majority of passengers. Some people certainly lose out, but they are few.

It's also very wrong to say that matters to zero people whether a flight left ontime. It means making departure slot. It means a higher chance of arriving ontime. And unbeknownst to them, because other flights left ontime, there could a gate available at arrival.
Sorry, but you're still wrong. Literally no passenger on the plane cares whether a flight leaves at D:0, D:-5, D:+5 -- nobody. Have you ever checked the time to find out when you departed? Nobody is puling out their phone when the plane pushes back to compare the current time to the scheduled departure time. You're just making my point for me -- people care about A:0, not D:0. D:0 is a factor in A:0, but it is not the only factor, and there are times when the customer-friendly thing to do is to ignore D:0 when it doesn't impact A:0. That means, when the gate isn't needed for another flight, when a later takeoff slot is readily available, etc.

Once again -- I don't have enough facts in this situation to know whether or not Operations made the right call. None of us do. That doesn't change the fact that UA is measuring the wrong thing -- they're measuring the thing that's easy instead of measuring the thing that people care about.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Sorry, but you're still wrong. Literally no passenger on the plane cares whether a flight leaves at D:0, D:-5, D:+5 -- nobody. Have you ever checked the time to find out when you departed? Nobody is puling out their phone when the plane pushes back to compare the current time to the scheduled departure time. You're just making my point for me -- people care about A:0, not D:0. D:0 is a factor in A:0, but it is not the only factor, and there are times when the customer-friendly thing to do is to ignore D:0 when it doesn't impact A:0. That means, when the gate isn't needed for another flight, when a later takeoff slot is readily available, etc.

Once again -- I don't have enough facts in this situation to know whether or not Operations made the right call. None of us do. That doesn't change the fact that UA is measuring the wrong thing -- they're measuring the thing that's easy instead of measuring the thing that people care about.
I think many people do want departure and boarding to be on time. If I am told boarding begins at X and ends at Y, I donít want to leave the United Club or the restaurant Iím sitting at to be at the gate at X just to be told we wonít be boarding until later. Furthermore, I donít want to be boarded sitting on a plane for 30 minutes after the ďdeparture timeĒ - Iíd rather be sitting in the terminal than on a plane. Especially if weíre holding D:0 for passengers with risky/tight connections for no reason - T+0 turns into T+5 and screws everything up. Maybe Iím the odd one out. But I definitely care more about D:0 than A:0 in most cases - A:0 can be affected by many things outside the airlineís control, but if they get the plane out at D:0 then itís not their fault if ATC decides to make them hold for an hour at the destination - they did what they could to get A:0 (by getting D:0).
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
while you are getting a lot of "its the breaks" replies, In my 20+ years of extensive travel I've only seen one airline that does not make an effort to hold A/C, and that is UA post 3/2/12.
Not limited to United. I have misconnected in DFW several times when my flight to DFW was delayed and AA did not hold the connecting flight. This included one time I was flying in a group of 50 people and our plane to DFW was delayed and AA didn't hold our connecting flight which was the last of the day. So all 50 of us had to overnight in DFW.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:47 am
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Publishing the "plane starts moving" time makes some amount of sense -- it's the one goal everyone in the system shares and participates in (pax, GA, FA, Pilots, ground crew, ATC, etc.).

Publishing "last moment you can present yourself for boarding" also makes some amount of sense -- it's the promise the airline is making, "show up by this time and we will get you on the flight". Obviously from threads like this even frequently flyers who are 1K don't fully understand the T-15 rule, and I can guarantee you that most travelers don't. I know I've heard my share of irate passengers at the podium saying "but the plane is still here and it's before departure time", and I know you have too. I'm sure some people think it's T-15 is when you are requested to show up but they can't offload you until T-0. Even though airlines do a lot of work, publishing "boarding ends" times and a very clear CoC, signs at the gates, etc. It still causes confusion.

One reason it causes confusion is because different airlines do it differently. Southwest is T-10, United is T-15 (though at least one person on this thread thought it was T-10), Delta shuttle flights are T-5, int'l is T-30, some airlines are T-45....etc. It is not a customer-friendly solution to have to read a 60+ page CoC for every operating carrier in my itinerary and memorize their cut off times. Better just to publish the cutoff time -- the time that matters to the customer.

I think if airlines -- as a group -- started publishing cut-off time rather than release-parking-brake time, people would adapt. After all, people casually say "my flight takes off at 10:00am" but they don't complain when the flight actually takes off at 10:15 after boarding on-time.

Everyone here knows that the GA has to process standbys, pilots have to run paperwork, FAs have to do safety checks. Pointing that out doesn't add to the discussion. The pilot also has to taxi to the end of the runway -- but we're ok with that happening after the published departure time.

Imagine a system where the airline published takeoff time, and then said you have to present yourself at the gate on later than 65 minutes before takeoff. That would make no sense.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Sorry, but you're still wrong. Literally no passenger on the plane cares whether a flight leaves at D:0, D:-5, D:+5 -- nobody. Have you ever checked the time to find out when you departed? Nobody is puling out their phone when the plane pushes back to compare the current time to the scheduled departure time. You're just making my point for me -- people care about A:0, not D:0. D:0 is a factor in A:0, but it is not the only factor, and there are times when the customer-friendly thing to do is to ignore D:0 when it doesn't impact A:0. That means, when the gate isn't needed for another flight, when a later takeoff slot is readily available, etc.
I find most of your posts cogent but you overstate things when you say NO passenger cares. I've actually watched to see when the jetway was pulled off or the plane started pulling away from the gate. I've also timed the actual lift-off time for momentous trips. I agree that most people are more concerned with A:0 but f no one cared, airlines wouldn't use "on time departures" as an advertising point.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by chermorg View Post


I think many people do want departure and boarding to be on time. If I am told boarding begins at X and ends at Y, I don’t want to leave the United Club or the restaurant I’m sitting at to be at the gate at X just to be told we won’t be boarding until later. Furthermore, I don’t want to be boarded sitting on a plane for 30 minutes after the “departure time” - I’d rather be sitting in the terminal than on a plane. Especially if we’re holding D:0 for passengers with risky/tight connections for no reason - T+0 turns into T+5 and screws everything up. Maybe I’m the odd one out. But I definitely care more about D:0 than A:0 in most cases - A:0 can be affected by many things outside the airline’s control, but if they get the plane out at D:0 then it’s not their fault if ATC decides to make them hold for an hour at the destination - they did what they could to get A:0 (by getting D:0).

If you've flown UA more than two or three times, I'm pretty sure you've noticed that boarding times are basically a myth. (Although, to be fair, in my personal experience, UA seems to be getting better about starting boarding more or less at the posted time).

Having said that, most ATC delays are known prior to departure, especially for domestic travel. It's much more common for a flight to be held for a late departure and then to travel unimpeded to the destination than it is to depart on time and then to be held in the air for arrival -- it's the old truism, "I'd rather be on the ground, wishing I were in the air, than in the air, wishing I were on the ground." So, the situation you're describing is really more of a straw man than anything else.

Keep in mind, I'm only talking about situations where the outbound delay wouldn't impact an on-time arrival. I will grant you that people do get frustrated when they're sitting on the ground and not moving -- but one timely word from the cockpit tends to settle people down: "Hey, folks, we're just waiting for a couple of last-minute bags / pax / etc. We've got a routing from ATC that shows we're still going to be able to get you to the destination on time, if not a couple of minutes early, so just sit back and relax and we'll be underway shortly." Still, I'm not advocating holding flights 20-30+ minutes; in the situations I'm describing, I'm talking about a few minutes, maximum, with no impact to an on-time arrival.

Finally, if you really do care more about D:0 than A:0, well, I'll tip my hat to you, but I don't understand that point of view at all. If you arrive early, I don't see what difference it makes if you pushed back one minute before the scheduled time or one minute after. And if you arrive late -- well, I think you're allocating too little of the responsibility to UA. There are lots of things that can be done post-departure in order to ensure an on-time arrival (e.g., gate availability and ramp control at the destination). Most of us (who connect, anyway) have sat helplessly on a delayed flight waiting for the jet bridge to be moved into position, knowing that each second could be the one that we need in order to make the connection. The ground crew knows when the plane arrives; they should always be ready. Usually they are; sometimes they're not.

Finally, that reminds me -- one other suggestion to the people who have said "now I know not to bother running after T-15." I run/hurry anyway. Not only is it possible that I'll be the lucky one who did get the flight held; it's also possible that they've got just enough of a delay that I'll make your connection anyway. More often than not, I've ended up walking back to customer service to be re-accommodated, but I've also been the last person aboard the plane on more than one occasion.

Originally Posted by ExplorerWannabe View Post
I find most of your posts cogent but you overstate things when you say NO passenger cares. I've actually watched to see when the jetway was pulled off or the plane started pulling away from the gate. I've also timed the actual lift-off time for momentous trips. I agree that most people are more concerned with A:0 but f no one cared, airlines wouldn't use "on time departures" as an advertising point.
Mea culpa. Generalities are never true, as they say.

I stand by the main point, minus the hyperbole. Almost nobody cares. And I'd wager that even the people who do care about D:0 still care more about A:0. (I've actually never heard anyone use 'on time departures' as an advertising point, but I don't pay that much attention to advertisements so maybe I've missed it).

Lift-off is different: I knew someone who, before the advent of on-board wifi, would regularly check his watch at lift-off, because he knew that lift-off time plus announced flight time was generally a pretty good estimate of landing time; throw in X minutes for taxi, depending on the airport, and he had a pretty good idea of the arrival time. But lift-off is only marginally related to D:0 -- sometimes you get a 3-minute taxi, and sometimes you get a 20-minute taxi.

Last edited by jsloan; Jan 30, 18 at 9:13 am Reason: added new response
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