Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

UA2327 LAS →IAH goes MX, "3hr Delay", All Pax Punted, then Ghosts Empty to IAH. SOP?

UA2327 LAS →IAH goes MX, "3hr Delay", All Pax Punted, then Ghosts Empty to IAH. SOP?

Old Jan 23, 21, 4:01 pm
  #1  
Moderator: United MileagePlus
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Clinging to the edifices of a decadent past. (IAH, DEN, YKF)
Programs: (ಠ_ಠ)
Posts: 8,963
Question UA2327 LAS →IAH goes MX, "3hr Delay", All Pax Punted, then Ghosts Empty to IAH. SOP?

Never seen this before - was booked on UA2327 IAH → LAS, took a MX delay, got the heads up from UA around 7am (good job on that UA - ultimately saved me a trip to the airport).

10:45am departued pushed back to ~2pm, no real issues...we've all been through a MX delay.

But here's where it gets weird: UA booted all passengers from the flight than flew the plane to IAH as a ghost flight under the same flight number.

I get there are more MX resources at IAH vs an outstation (although LAS is one of the larger outstations) and that there may be other considerations with a/c positioning and all, but in my 2mm miles with UA, I've never seen this happen where the flight still operated as a ghost flight and curious to see if anyone else has run across similar issues.







J.Edward is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 4:53 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 11,112
Seemed like they were parking some planes at LAS last year, but when I was there a couple of days ago they were gone. I’m not sure that would have mattered - not sure if planes that h ave been parked can be put into service immediately when the need arises.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 5:02 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: LAX/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, United 1K, SPG LT Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 36,384
Maybe it was a maintenance issue of significance that did not allow the carrying of passengers or crew other than pilots, and it needed to go to IAH for service.
jsloan, SPN Lifer, wxguy and 6 others like this.
bocastephen is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 5:05 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,915
Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Maybe it was a maintenance issue of significance that did not allow the carrying of passengers or crew other than pilots, and it needed to go to IAH for service.
I suspect that this is exactly what happened. There are a number of conditions (e.g., no working lavatory) that could prevent a plane from being certified for passenger travel but do not inhibit safe operation of the plane.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 6:10 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: ORD-LAS
Programs: UA MM 1K, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium Elite
Posts: 4,406
My wife, a former UA Flight Attendant, would often have flights like this. Basically itís airworthy without passengers and would fly it to a hub for repair.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.
LASUA1K is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 6:38 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA Silver
Posts: 12,202
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I suspect that this is exactly what happened. There are a number of conditions (e.g., no working lavatory) that could prevent a plane from being certified for passenger travel but do not inhibit safe operation of the plane.
I'd guess this too (though I'm not sure if working lavs would be the reason - not sure they are required - I thought they were not, and I'm pretty sure I had a [short, proabably ~1 hour] flight once where they announced the lav wasn't working, encouraging people to use the facilities at the airport if they needed first). What I'm a little more surprised about is why they would fly with the original flight number - you'd think they'd cancel the flight in the system - then fly the plane with a different flight number (ie, don't they have flight numbers set aside for ferries like this, I think it used to be 21XX or 25XX something, but I could be wrong). I don't know what additional logistics go into that, in terms of flight planning or whatnot, but you'd think canceling the flight would also make it easier for the pax to get rebooked.

On another note, I remember one time several years ago getting on a UAX short hop (probably CVG-ORD), and at boarding, figuring out my tray table latch wasn't working properly at boarding - it was loose or something and the tray table was unlatching occasionally and without me touching it. I was trying to make a connection somewhere of relative importance, and I think it was already delayed, and didn't want to affect the other 70 people (or whatever) on board. Rather then alert the FA right away and have something like this happen (or more likely, a call to maintenance with an additional not minor further delay), I held it up myself to make sure it wouldn't unlatch until after take off, then alerted the flight attendant when we were in the air so it could be fixed on the ground.
emcampbe is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 8:28 pm
  #7  
Moderator: United MileagePlus
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Clinging to the edifices of a decadent past. (IAH, DEN, YKF)
Programs: (ಠ_ಠ)
Posts: 8,963
Thank you all for your replies - appreciate the insight.
Originally Posted by LASUA1K View Post
My wife, a former UA Flight Attendant, would often have flights like this. Basically itís airworthy without passengers and would fly it to a hub for repair.
This is whatís throwing me off.

I get UAís got their MX at hubs but itís not like LAS in some small outstation either thatís unable to perform anything more than basic repairs. Is UA *really* saving money on the whole when the cheaper MX at IAH is offset off against the cost of the ferry flight?

Moreover, if UA wanted to straight up ferry the flight back to IAH, why wait 3hrs?

I guess what I canít figure out is why not have LAS do whatever MX needed to be done, even if it cost more than doing at IAH, as theyíd save the ops cost of the ferry flight.
J.Edward is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 8:32 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,915
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
I guess what I canít figure out is why not have LAS do whatever MX needed to be done, even if it cost more than doing at IAH, as theyíd save the ops cost of the ferry flight.
It depends upon what was wrong. If they were going to have to ferry in the part, that'd cost the same as ferrying the empty plane.
jsloan is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 8:33 pm
  #9  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 54,666
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
...
I guess what I can’t figure out is why not have LAS do whatever MX needed to be done, even if it cost more than doing at IAH, as they’d save the ops cost of the ferry flight.
The needed expertise or materials were not available at LAS? Some cargo was time critical tand there was no other way to get the cargo to IAH in time?

There probably a number reasons and we will never know unless a UA employee looks it up and reports

Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
... Is UA *really* saving money on the whole when the cheaper MX at IAH is offset off against the cost of the ferry flight? ...
apparently UA thought that was the best solution
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 23, 21, 11:00 pm
  #10  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 466
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
Moreover, if UA wanted to straight up ferry the flight back to IAH, why wait 3hrs?
I have no knowledge of this exact flight, but could they thought there was a fix possible in LAS? Then, it became evident that no such fix could be made, and the decision was made to ferry the plane to IAH to minimize disruption to the system?

As an aside, I don't remember the TechOps situation in LAS (inhouse vs contracted, warehouse situation)

Also, as there are not 4 seats listed as occupied, I would imagine it left without FAs aboard, though I could be wrong.
fezzington is offline  
Old Jan 24, 21, 12:23 am
  #11  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: CT/NY
Programs: UA Gold/MM, Marriott LT Titanium, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 4,780
Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
I have no knowledge of this exact flight, but could they thought there was a fix possible in LAS? Then, it became evident that no such fix could be made, and the decision was made to ferry the plane to IAH to minimize disruption to the system?

As an aside, I don't remember the TechOps situation in LAS (inhouse vs contracted, warehouse situation)

Also, as there are not 4 seats listed as occupied, I would imagine it left without FAs aboard, though I could be wrong.
Are FAs required on ferry flights, similar to staffing on cargo-only flights?
PTahCha is offline  
Old Jan 24, 21, 5:45 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PHL
Programs: AA EXP, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Lifetime Ti, UA Silver
Posts: 4,752
Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
I have no knowledge of this exact flight, but could they thought there was a fix possible in LAS? Then, it became evident that no such fix could be made, and the decision was made to ferry the plane to IAH to minimize disruption to the system?
Another possibility is that the fix could have been accomplished at LAS, but the right part(s) and/or qualified people would not be available until much later, or at very high cost. This happened on a Saturday, so 24-48 hours to get parts and people in place at a non-hub station is not unheard of depending on the nature of the fix. In that event UA knows that the aircraft can't do the flight and simply looks at what the lowest cost alternatives would be, including ferrying an empty plane to a hub.
PHLGovFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 24, 21, 5:56 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: KEWR
Programs: Marriott Platinum
Posts: 631
Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
Are FAs required on ferry flights, similar to staffing on cargo-only flights?
Ferry flights only require the minimum cockpit crew, F/A not needed.
clubord is offline  
Old Jan 24, 21, 7:47 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 229
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
Thank you all for your replies - appreciate the insight.
This is whatís throwing me off.

I get UAís got their MX at hubs but itís not like LAS in some small outstation either thatís unable to perform anything more than basic repairs. Is UA *really* saving money on the whole when the cheaper MX at IAH is offset off against the cost of the ferry flight?

Moreover, if UA wanted to straight up ferry the flight back to IAH, why wait 3hrs?

I guess what I canít figure out is why not have LAS do whatever MX needed to be done, even if it cost more than doing at IAH, as theyíd save the ops cost of the ferry flight.
They also probably wanted to have the plane in IAH for another flight.
Sleepy_Sentry is offline  
Old Jan 24, 21, 8:52 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: BOS<>NYC<>BKK
Programs: UA 4.1MM LT-GS; AA1MM; Amtrak S+; MAR LT TITAN; PC Plat; HIL DIA; HYA GLOB
Posts: 4,024
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I suspect that this is exactly what happened. There are a number of conditions (e.g., no working lavatory) that could prevent a plane from being certified for passenger travel but do not inhibit safe operation of the plane.
This. Other examples -- inoperative passenger supplemental oxygen system, inoperative emergency exits, even a non-functional PA system (and no megaphones). There are many possibilities.
jsloan, SPN Lifer and writerguyfl like this.
wxguy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: