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Can UA really continue to operate a flight that is 100% delayed?

Can UA really continue to operate a flight that is 100% delayed?

Old Jun 30, 2023, 6:39 pm
  #1  
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Can UA really continue to operate a flight that is 100% delayed?

I've been watching UA 64 EWR-LIS as I'm taking it in a few weeks. It has been delayed 100% of the time for the 3 weeks I've been watching. This is not simply due to the recent EWR meltdown. It has been typically 2 hours delayed every day for weeks before that. The app always comments "we're waiting for a gate to be available." But somehow it's never a problem for the other TATL flights in that same time bank (LHR, FRA, CDG, etc.). And it's hours delayed even when the inbound is on the blocks 2-4 hours before the departure. Does UA simply hope that no one will notice the long term record? Can it truly take 3 or 4 hours to turn a 787 at EWR?
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 6:44 pm
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Can they just shift the schedule time two hours? I assume there's a slot limitation
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 7:12 pm
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The answer to the thread title is "Yes"

There can be a number of reasons -- if the inbound is international, even if the inbound is on the ground especially if it's coming from somewhere known for certain issues, CBP may take longer to release the aircraft back to UA.
But even if that's not the issue there are resource constraints at EWR and local management may be prioritizing getting the other international flights off (I'm guessing LHR, FRA, and CDG have larger numbers of passengers with onward connections and -- perhaps ignorantly -- perceive that they are probably a higher fare value than LIS)
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc
The answer to the thread title is "Yes"

There can be a number of reasons -- if the inbound is international, even if the inbound is on the ground especially if it's coming from somewhere known for certain issues, CBP may take longer to release the aircraft back to UA.
But even if that's not the issue there are resource constraints at EWR and local management may be prioritizing getting the other international flights off (I'm guessing LHR, FRA, and CDG have larger numbers of passengers with onward connections and -- perhaps ignorantly -- perceive that they are probably a higher fare value than LIS)
I'm sure you're right about prioritizing. But it's disappointing that they would knowingly publish a schedule that they know they can't operate.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Starman
I'm sure you're right about prioritizing. But it's disappointing that they would knowingly publish a schedule that they know they can't operate.
Its entirely possible/likely that the people in scheduling believe(d) -- at least until the next major schedule shuffle -- that it was possible to operate it. Then operations at the airport has to deal with the realities -- it's a giant machine and the people at the front end (schedule/route planning) can't necessarily control/predict what all of the cogs along the way are going to do/be able to do when it comes to executing that schedule.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 10:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Starman
I'm sure you're right about prioritizing. But it's disappointing that they would knowingly publish a schedule that they know they can't operate.
That is pretty much what United has done unapologetically for the last six days.
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Old Jun 30, 2023, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Starman
I'm sure you're right about prioritizing. But it's disappointing that they would knowingly publish a schedule that they know they can't operate.
When it was scheduled that way, the plan was to operate it that way.

multiple things can happen that change the outcome. Anything from UA or partners being short-staffed, unplanned disruptions to operations (say, a gate unexpectedly becoming unusable), a change that requires re-scheduling of staff that operate the flight, CBP delays in inspecting aircraft from previously arriving flight, etc.

Flightstats does indeed show that from Apr. 15-Jun 15, the flight has a horrid OTP - on time only 29% of the time, but not the 100% late you quoted. Average delay time is ~55 minutes. Anything is possible, of course, and the overall OTP doesnt matter much - because while interesting to note for patterns, on your flight on your date, its going to either be on time 100% of the time, or late 100% of the time. Theres not much you can do about it at this point.

In fact, Id say the best thing to do is have alternate schedules ready, and what youd prefer, so you can feed to an agent if things do go pear-shaped on day of travel. But until they announce a [long enough] delay on your flight, you wont really be able to do anything.
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by emcampbe
... on time only 29% of the time, ....
Meaning arriving with 15 minutes of scheduled time, The OP was referring to departure time/D0. Last 30 days looks worst than prior 30.
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 8:23 am
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Ironically, on the same day as this discussion, UA 64 set a new recent record, departing EWR 5 hours late, at which point the inbound aircraft had been on the ground for 7 hours. The first 3 hours the app explanation was waiting for a gate. For the last few, it was waiting for cleaning. (That is, waiting for cleaners at 1 am local time when I guess the airport must be really busy). I guess as suggested upthread, local management has just decided that this route will be the last one serviced every day. While it's true that there are probably very few onward connections from LIS, the return LIS-EWR UA 65 Is 3-5 hours late almost every day, surely generating a hundred or more missed connects almost every day, day after day, at EWR, just from this one flight alone.You'd think that financial hit would annoy the company, but perhaps it is still cheaper than hiring more minimum wage cleaners
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Old Jul 1, 2023, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by Starman
You'd think that financial hit would annoy the company, but perhaps it is still cheaper than hiring more minimum wage cleaners
The financial hit doesn't really register a blip -- sure someone is probably mildly annoyed but I'm for the corporate entity it probably doesn't even register -- at least not in real time. It may be considered come the next schedule update where route profitability, etc. may demand a change.

In any event the airline does not turn on a dime -- what you're seeing operationally today was planned at months ago. Maybe UA's cleaning contractor in EWR (IIRC, "Lisbon Cleaning, Inc." -- for a bit of irony) had a rash of resignations or just needs to hire more cleaners for the volume. Posting, hiring, interviewing, and then getting a background investigation/security clearance for airport security badges to be issued is a process that doesn't happen quickly.

Once UA publishes the schedule (with significant updates happening +/- quarterly) even if reality doesn't match expectations it isn't practical to expect that they would just change the published departure time for a variety of reasons internally and externally, e.g. changing the scheduled departure time may impact crew (pilot and flight attendant) scheduling which is usually bid and awarded around a month prior.
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