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Trapped on an airplane for 9 hours

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Trapped on an airplane for 9 hours

Old 10th Aug 2009, 02:18
  #1 (permalink)  
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Trapped on an airplane for 9 hours

This time it's Continental doing the honors:

47 trapped in 'nightmare' overnight aboard small Continental plane

And, yes, it was an ExpressJet aircraft operating as Continental Express, but every single passenger on that aircraft booked their ticket with Continental.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 03:06
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And this is why, right or wrong, for better or worse, the "Passengers Bill of Rights" is going to pass, and any flight delayed for 3 hours or more will HAVE to be sent back to the terminal (open or not) if requested by the passengers.

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Old 10th Aug 2009, 03:32
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Alright, this has happened before, and there is always a bunch of excuses from the airlines about "why" but little or no effort to solve the actual event.

Here's what I don't ever understand: why don't the passengers simply stand up, open the doors, and move on out? That'll get the attention of the security folks who couldn't be bothered come back and deal with it. Can't very well put all 47 of them in the local jail, and even if they did, at least there's a potty in there.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 05:35
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Pilots should refuse to fly if passengers are treated like this

a nightmarish scenario..! as if passengers are undead zombie cargo
47 trapped on 'nightmare' flight to the Twin Cities

It's absolutely disgraceful and dangerous! As a pilot I would refuse to fly any jet with such a horrendoues attitude to passengers. It demeans my professional standing as a deliverer of excellent and comfortable flying experiences, full of the joy and wonder of flight ! Yes flight is a wondrous thing for mankind and every person should be entitled to partake of its vastness without having to endure fcramped cargo, broken toilet, malodorous cabin experiences like this !

let us stand united great pilots of the realm! refuse to fly if your airline ever has rules hinting at a possibility of this happening ! Never again shall we be slaves to the silly corporate exces who couldn't compute a fuel load much less maneuver one of our great birds in the sky !
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 07:44
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That 30 foot drop down to the tarmac would be interesting.

Plus - most people don't want fuss or confrontation - that's not why they boarded the plane.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 07:53
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This sounds absolutely horrendous and totally unacceptable. I am unfamiliar with Rochester airport but wonder how many ground/security staff would actually be on duty at 1 a.m.?
It seems a very strange decision to divert to an airport which is effectively closed for the night.
Also it states the crew were out of hours so did they stay with the aircraft?
very strange.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 08:26
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It sounds awful for the poor people stuck on what sounds like an Embraer 145, from the description.

Difficult to believe that a bus could not be found.
 
Old 10th Aug 2009, 09:18
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I'm sure some lawyers will be rubbing their hands!
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 14:39
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That 30 foot drop down to the tarmac would be interesting.
Did they park that Embraer 145 on a hill or something ?
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 15:57
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Air-stair is integral with the door on most RJ's.

Won't even muss your pants exiting.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 16:35
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This was a divert due to bad weather... how exactly would refusing to fly have helped anyone?
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 16:47
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And this is why, right or wrong, for better or worse, the "Passengers Bill of Rights" is going to pass, and any flight delayed for 3 hours or more will HAVE to be sent back to the terminal (open or not) if requested by the passengers.
I guess you didn't read this story. The flight wasn't waiting on the taxiway to depart, it was diverted enroute from it's destination airport due to weather. Having the right to go back to the terminal would have meant taking off and returning to Houston.

But before we decide that passengers need more rights from these awful airlines perhaps we should consider who really is to blame here. I'm just guessing here, so anyone please correct me.

1. Thunderstorms reduce capacity (all ops?) at MSP. Who's to blame? a) God b) MSP airport for lack of capacity. c) CO for overscheduling at MSP. I'm guessing b) unless all ops were suspended then it would be a)

2. Diverted to Rochester, Minn after the airport has closed for the night. Who's to blame? a) CO b) ExpressJet c) FAA? I'm guessing the FAA decided which flights to divert and where. I can't see CO or ExpressJet deciding to divert to an airport where they have no presence.

3. Ground Staff couldn't organise a bus. Who's to blame? a) CO b)ExpressJet c) AA d) NW e)Bus company f)God. Seeing as CO / ExpressJet don't have operations at Rochester it can't be there fault. They may have arrangements with AA or NW (who do have ops, but not necessarily staff on the ground at the time) and/or a local groundhandler but not clear from the story. Can't blame the nameless bus company so it has to be f). This one also implies that the passengers could have disembarked, had ground transport been available.

4. Passengers weren't allowed off the plane. Who's to blame? a) CO b)ExpressJet c) TSA d) Airport? I'm guessing again, but I can't see it being a) or b) that would make this decision. So it's either c) or d) or ?

5. TSA not available after airport closed. Shouldn't they have contingency plans for these situations? 1 or 2 supervisors could have dealt (albeit slowly) with this. This one's got to be TSA's fault, for not planning for it and not implementing any solution.

6. OK last one. The weren't let into the terminal. Who's to blame. a) CO b)ExpressJet c) TSA d) Airport. Again I can't see a) or b) having any decision making authority on this one. TSA? Maybe, but I think this one goes to d). They too had no contingency plan for this type of IROPS. Why not? Couldn't the airport manager have decided on his own (after a call from the ground handler) to let them in, perchance to dream?

So, nasty nasty airlines. Not only should they given passengers their rights, they should be made to pay big buckets of money to each passenger - just like they do in Europe!

In all seriousness this all came about with the decision to divert this aircraft to a functionally closed airport. Perhaps it was the only possible solution to a not uncommon problem, but perhaps they also lack planning.

I'd appreciate any corrections to my assumptions and/or guesses but, in this particular case, I really can't see what the airline(s) could have done differently.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 16:55
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I've seen this sort of thing happen before to me. Diverted to a regional airport as main airport closed due to emergency. Regional airport overloaded by all aircraft that had to divert. No buses, no stairs, no fuel for three hours.
But what can you do? Land in a field? Send pax onto the dark apron without escort?
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 16:59
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PIC decides where to divert.

Rest of your points - only ExpressJet can answer and they won't do so publicly.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 19:25
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Better on the ground, safe and alive, than in the air, being bounced around in a thunderstorm, running out of fuel, and running out of options.

Rather down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 19:50
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Grrr

I think engaging with the passengers, telling them the truth, giving them refreshments, what was once normal customer service might actually have placated some of them?
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 20:07
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Better on the ground, safe and alive, than in the air, being bounced around in a thunderstorm, running out of fuel, and running out of options.

Rather down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.
Absolutely agree, from a flight deck perspective, but from an ops POV surely it is not beyond the wit of an airline operating in this area of the US to have a contingency plan to at least find a coach?

Its not as if heavy convective weather is unkown in summer

I experienced a similar diversion some years ago, being dropped in Richmond, VA, instead of La Guardia.

Having seen the of the cells blocking our path (seemed to go up to space), I was completely happy with the divert from the perspective of being the right decision.

On the ground, the airline had one staff member processing 6 diverted flights - that is just amateurish.

I lucky enough to be saved by some friendly locals who had local knowledge and booked me a hotel room, whilst the queue of people waiting for assistance must have been 50-60m long.

The airline subsequently paid me a substantial ex gratia payment for the costs of hotac and other consequential expenses.

Last edited by Final 3 Greens; 10th Aug 2009 at 20:19.
 
Old 10th Aug 2009, 21:25
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There's a thread with more info under the SLF section.........

What beats me about this one is that the crew appears to have stayed with the plane as well as the passengers & so far, no-one is bitching about them apparently being stuck in the cockpit etc. for 9 hours.
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Old 11th Aug 2009, 00:40
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Well awesome pilot, you're going to have a short career.
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Old 11th Aug 2009, 02:28
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ExXB, I guess YOU didn't read the story... A LOT of misconceptions on your part:

1. Thunderstorms reduce capacity (all ops?) at MSP. Who's to blame? a) God b) MSP airport for lack of capacity. c) CO for overscheduling at MSP. I'm guessing b) unless all ops were suspended then it would be a)
This one is pretty close. Nothing you can do about weather...

2. Diverted to Rochester, Minn after the airport has closed for the night. Who's to blame? a) CO b) ExpressJet c) FAA? I'm guessing the FAA decided which flights to divert and where. I can't see CO or ExpressJet deciding to divert to an airport where they have no presence.
PaperTiger has this one right. PIC choses where to divert. Continental, Expressjet, or the FAA have little to no say. Check the thread in R&N about he UA pilot who diverted to MIA to offload the purser for more info (than anyone needs) on that subject.

3. Ground Staff couldn't organise a bus. Who's to blame? a) CO b)ExpressJet c) AA d) NW e)Bus company f)God. Seeing as CO / ExpressJet don't have operations at Rochester it can't be there fault. They may have arrangements with AA or NW (who do have ops, but not necessarily staff on the ground at the time) and/or a local groundhandler but not clear from the story. Can't blame the nameless bus company so it has to be f). This one also implies that the passengers could have disembarked, had ground transport been available.
Can't be Expressjet's fault? Are you sure about that? It's their plane, their pax, and their chosen diversion point. According to AP news (I know, jouros, but still...), this was how it went down:

"Kristy Nicholas, a spokeswoman for ExpressJet Airlines, said passengers couldn't go to the Rochester terminal to wait out the storms because they would have needed to redo their security screening and screeners had gone home.

The airport's manager, Steven Leqve, said that wasn't true. Leqve said passengers could have waited in a secure area until their plane was cleared to leave."


Sounds like Expressjet is blowing smoke here...

4. Passengers weren't allowed off the plane. Who's to blame? a) CO b)ExpressJet c) TSA d) Airport? I'm guessing again, but I can't see it being a) or b) that would make this decision. So it's either c) or d) or ?
See above. Nothing to do with the airport or TSA. This is strictly Expressjet's deal.

5. TSA not available after airport closed. Shouldn't they have contingency plans for these situations? 1 or 2 supervisors could have dealt (albeit slowly) with this. This one's got to be TSA's fault, for not planning for it and not implementing any solution.
Goodonya for seeing this one. If a lack of TSA presence was an issue, then TSA needs to have a contingency for such happenings. What, no one was on call? But then again, flying every week myself, I've seen how TSA operates at some airports. And all I can do is wonder...

6. OK last one. The weren't let into the terminal. Who's to blame. a) CO b)ExpressJet c) TSA d) Airport. Again I can't see a) or b) having any decision making authority on this one. TSA? Maybe, but I think this one goes to d). They too had no contingency plan for this type of IROPS. Why not? Couldn't the airport manager have decided on his own (after a call from the ground handler) to let them in, perchance to dream?
Once again, see above. The airport manager DID have plans in place. Matter of fact, from the same AP article:

"The Rochester airport took in another diverted flight, a Northwest plane from Phoenix, just before Flight 2816 landed. The more than 50 passengers on that plane were placed on a bus and made it to Minneapolis by 1:30 a.m.

Leqve said the Delta manager in Rochester offered space on the bus to Continental, which declined."


According to NBC news today, CO and Expressjet are NOT denying this. Rather, they're apologizing, and giving all the pax vouchers for free flights in the future. This doesn't look like the actions of an innocent party.

So, nasty nasty airlines. Not only should they given passengers their rights, they should be made to pay big buckets of money to each passenger - just like they do in Europe!
See just above... It's already been done. Before you make a remark like that, you may want to get ALL the facts in place.

In all seriousness this all came about with the decision to divert this aircraft to a functionally closed airport. Perhaps it was the only possible solution to a not uncommon problem, but perhaps they also lack planning.

I'd appreciate any corrections to my assumptions and/or guesses but, in this particular case, I really can't see what the airline(s) could have done differently.
I agree, a lack of planning. But more on Expressjet's part than anything else. Hopefully now, you can understand how much differently it could have been handled. If Delta can get THEIR pax off the plane and into MSP by 1:30am, why couldn't Expressjet?

'Nuff said...
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