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UA 2, SIN-SFO, 3 Dec 2018, with planned stop in HNL

UA 2, SIN-SFO, 3 Dec 2018, with planned stop in HNL

Old Nov 30, 18, 9:46 pm
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UA 2, SIN-SFO, 3 Dec 2018, with planned stop in HNL

While I was looking for my outbound B789 on Sunday to AU-NZ, I found something interesting that I had not seen before. Ship #3962 , N36962, looks like it is planned to go SIN to SFO via HNL on Monday the 3rd. I have never seen this before. Is this an indication they plan for high winds and need to stop for fuel, or a special stop?

I imagine if it is weather related, they could easily refile for a non-stop once they know they are good. I have done UA1/2 a few times before and not seen this. Normal?
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Old Nov 30, 18, 10:17 pm
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Not the only odd thing, UA Flight Status has, for UA 2 on 3 Dec 2018
Status: We want you to know your flight is departing late because we're working to find a new flight crew. We value your time and we're sorry for the inconvenience. (Estimated Departure 4 Hours Late)
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Old Nov 30, 18, 10:22 pm
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I don't know the details of that specific flight - but HNL is not anywhere near a normal flight path for SIN-SFO. not even close.

This is a stretch on my part, maybe one would consider that routing if ANC isn't available for a diversion due to the earthquake.
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Old Nov 30, 18, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I don't know the details of that specific flight - but HNL is not anywhere near a normal flight path for SIN-SFO. not even close.

This is a stretch on my part, maybe one would consider that routing if ANC isn't available for a diversion due to the earthquake.
Good point, lost of ANC could create an ETOPS gap in the SIN-SFO flight path. But aren't there some military airport options.
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Old Nov 30, 18, 10:44 pm
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flight status indicates that's related to crew, guess crew member illness or duty time related so have to stop at HNL for new batch of crew?
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Old Dec 1, 18, 3:32 am
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Stopping in HNL for a re-crew of pilots and FAs. Family emergency is all I know.
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Old Dec 1, 18, 4:07 am
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Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
Stopping in HNL for a re-crew of pilots and FAs. Family emergency is all I know.
And if the flight has to make a stop, the crew will have to be changed. I cannot imagine UA has a lot of flight crew sitting around ANC, HNL has got be a better bet.
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Old Dec 1, 18, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by uanj View Post
And if the flight has to make a stop, the crew will have to be changed. I cannot imagine UA has a lot of flight crew sitting around ANC, HNL has got be a better bet.
They wouldn’t have 787-qualified crew in either location, but given that they’re planning this two days in advance, it’s easy enough to get a reserve crew positioned to HNL from another base.

Also, the great circle route doesn’t go *that* close to ANC. Looking at some FR24 tracks over the past week, it appears that some of those flights actually took a more southerly route and were closer to HNL than to ANC anyway, so it’s probably also dependent on weather conditions, winds, etc.

Combine that with the recent earthquake, and it makes sense to use HNL as the planned stop.

Last edited by rmadisonwi; Dec 1, 18 at 7:22 am
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Old Dec 1, 18, 9:26 am
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Distance-wise going via NRT would make far more sense (it is literally 2 miles further on a great-circle basis), but I'm presuming going via a US airport probably makes the paperwork easier...
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Old Dec 1, 18, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by rmadisonwi View Post
Also, the great circle route doesn’t go *that* close to ANC. Looking at some FR24 tracks over the past week, it appears that some of those flights actually took a more southerly route and were closer to HNL than to ANC anyway, so it’s probably also dependent on weather conditions, winds, etc.
Agreed. Depending on the winds, sometimes these flights take a very flat route back from SIN. SIN-LAX in particular would sometimes drop pretty far south.
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Old Dec 1, 18, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Distance-wise going via NRT would make far more sense (it is literally 2 miles further on a great-circle basis), but I'm presuming going via a US airport probably makes the paperwork easier...
Probably nothing to do with paperwork, but the fact that they have to dispatch a relief crew.

If the report from earlier in the thread is correct (family emergency for a crew member), then presumably that pilot turned around and deadheaded back home on the next flight. That puts them one crew member short for being able to fly SIN-SFO nonstop when that crew makes their normal turn (I’m guessing two days later), so three pilots instead of four. With those three pilots, they can make it as far as HNL, and UA then only needs to dispatch two pilots from the mainland to HNL, on a (relatively) short deadhead.

If they did the stop in NRT, then they’d need to dispatch three relief pilots to fly NRT-SFO, and those three pilots would need not only a longer deadhead to get to NRT, but probably longer on-ground rest time. There’s a good chance they wouldn’t be able to arrange that in enough time to avoid further delay on the NRT-SFO segment. So, stopping in HNL makes the most sense, both operationally (fewer pilots needed, easier to get them to HNL on a ton of flights, less rest needed) and financially (pay two pilots instead of three, and pay them for fewer hours). International paperwork doesn’t even need to enter into the equation.

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Old Dec 1, 18, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Juventini View Post
flight status indicates that's related to crew, guess crew member illness or duty time related so have to stop at HNL for new batch of crew?
My money is on this.
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Old Dec 1, 18, 10:42 pm
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I'm on this flight!!

So I'm on this flight tomorrow, and it happens to be a very special flight for me. After 19 years of flying on United, this flight will take me over the million mile mark. A little back-story. I used to be very active on FT, from way back in 1998. I actually suggested to Randy the idea of starting the Mileage Run forum! Back then, I was just known as PremEx2000 (and later ChicagoBound). I did lots of mileage runs to Singapore and elsewhere over the years. This trip is actually a mileage run to get me over the 1MM mark. My days of mileage runs ended in 2003 when my wife and I had twins. But once I explained to my wife that with this mileage run, she too could become Premier Gold for life, she was okay with me going. I bought my ticket in October for $767 round trip from ORD-SIN. Not bad for a trip that's nearly half way round the world. Last week, I decided to bring my 11 year-old commercial aviation buff son along (on a separate PNR)--an important point for later in this story.

So we are in Singapore for two and a half days total. His school friends are understandably jealous, and his teachers were surprisingly cool with him missing 3 days of class. Yesterday, on my way to Lau Pa Sat, I get a flurry of texts from United about unusual operations. The texts didn't really explain much. And first, they moved me to a flight leaving the next day but kept my son on the flight tomorrow (Dec. 3). Obviously, that's a little bit of a problem given that he's 11 and probably shouldn't be traveling without me. So I call United and explain the situation. I even told them that this was a very special flight for me--pushing me over the 1MM mark. The first agent I talked to never even apologized about the flight delay, etc. He didn't even say, "Hey, thanks for being such a loyal United customer". Really shockingly bad customer service. He also was totally incurious about possible work-arounds--like getting us to HKG or NRT on non-United metal and then on to ORD on a United flight. He basically knew nothing and cared even less. I was unfailingly polite throughout. He then said he was going to get another agent for me. When she came on, I explained the whole situation, the two different PNRs, the 11 year-old traveling with me, etc. And I told her that this was my milestone flight. Again, no apology. No thank you for my loyalty. No nothing. She didn't even confirm that the flight is actually going out tomorrow.

Later in the day, I called again and got a very helpful agent. She didn't know much about the flight, just that it was leaving and going to SFO and leaving 4 hours late. She didn't know about the whole HNL thing. But she set things right (and thanked me for my loyalty). But in SFO, they had us with a long layover and a morning flight on December 4, getting in in the afternoon. This was problematic for me from a work standpoint and from a school standpoint for my son.

Later last night, my amazing wife called United and confirmed that we are indeed going through HNL. (No reason was given about a flight crew family emergency or anything (which is understandable). She asked if we could get on the HNL-ORD nonstop. The terrific agent said "yes."

So long story short, we get 11 hours in Honolulu--a first for my son. That's enough time for me to rent a car, take him to Pearl Harbor four days before the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack. And perhaps enough time to take him to Waikiki or maybe Ewa Beach for some quality HNL plane-spotting. So in the end, it will be a great way to mark my milestone flight. If only I hadn't had to deal with a couple of terrible UA phone representatives. Oh well.
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Old Dec 1, 18, 11:29 pm
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Don't they have 4 pilots SIN-SFO.
SIN-HNL would allow them to go with 3, correct?
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Old Dec 2, 18, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by rmadisonwi View Post


Probably nothing to do with paperwork, but the fact that they have to dispatch a relief crew.

If the report from earlier in the thread is correct (family emergency for a crew member), then presumably that pilot turned around and deadheaded back home on the next flight. That puts them one crew member short for being able to fly SIN-SFO nonstop when that crew makes their normal turn (I’m guessing two days later), so three pilots instead of four. With those three pilots, they can make it as far as HNL, and UA then only needs to dispatch two pilots from the mainland to HNL, on a (relatively) short deadhead.

If they did the stop in NRT, then they’d need to dispatch three relief pilots to fly NRT-SFO, and those three pilots would need not only a longer deadhead to get to NRT, but probably longer on-ground rest time. There’s a good chance they wouldn’t be able to arrange that in enough time to avoid further delay on the NRT-SFO segment. So, stopping in HNL makes the most sense, both operationally (fewer pilots needed, easier to get them to HNL on a ton of flights, less rest needed) and financially (pay two pilots instead of three, and pay them for fewer hours). International paperwork doesn’t even need to enter into the equation.

This seems like the likely explanation.
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