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Delay due to Operational Reasons

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Delay due to Operational Reasons

Old 15th Dec 2021, 09:55
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F/o managed to deploy the rubber jungle on departure on a 747/400 started off with 4 of us re stowing offending items but this was occurring with passengers still onboard .... majority of passengers were ok & were mostly worried is the aircraft safe, exactly what was said about delay don’t really know!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 11:09
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Originally Posted by redsnail View Post
If it's a technical issue, it's either a quick fix or it'll take hours/days. The thing is, you don't know until the engineers open up panels etc.
De icing can also create delays down the line. You just don't know when the aircraft will leave, hence the top tip of using FR24 is a good one.
I recall that there used to be three reasons for delays:-

Operational reasons
Technical reasons
Air traffic control reasons

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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:14
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Most of the people including me, are have more patience and understanding if they know what is going on. Besides, I paid for being delivered at specific time to agreed destination. If something does not work it's basic duty of airline to explain why.
Imagine same on the bus or better on a taxi. The driver parks in the middle of the road, sends some text messages here and there and waits staring at the horizon.
After thirty years of commercial flying as a requirement to earn a living, I've never seen a flight delay solved by fuming, foaming and demanding to know what is going on. Much the same as when one finds oneself in an inexplicable traffic jam. Age and experience have taught me it all gets sorted out in the end - without my assistance.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:14
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I remember a technical issue where the pax could see it being fixed, the VC10 has an engine air start valve that sometimes used to stick due to a little bit of carbon build up.
We were doing a pushback with the pax onboard and the pilot announced he was having a technical issue as they couldn't start No 2 engine, I pushed a safety raiser under the engine, dropped the cowling open, then taking the safety raiser jacking handle gave the valve a little whack, at which point I heard the satisfying sound of the valve motor open, shutting the cowling and stowing the jacking handle, I looked up to see all the passenger faces glued to the windows ( RAF rearward facing seats) who had been watching me beating the engine with a jacking handle. Shortly afterwards the captain announced the technical issue had been rectified and they were pushed back,

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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:23
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Ah yes, I remember a time when ATC delays were common enough that they became the standard and convenient excuse for delays whatever the real reason was. One crew got caught out when I was on board. Quick call to my mates at Flow who confirmed (as I had suspected) that the flight I was on was not subject to any restrictions! I had a friendly chat to the FD afterwards and they admitted that it was a convenient way of taking pressure off the company for tech or operational issues. Pax just muttered "ATC again"
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:30
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
I remember ... then taking the safety raiser jacking handle gave the valve a little whack...
The technical term is "percussive maintenance".
Flight delayed due to the need for a little percussive maintenance...
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:32
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When I was flying 747s, we had a hard to fix technical problem in New York which was dragging on and on. The ground staff told me the passengers in the terminal were getting restive so I decided, as captain, to put on my cap and go into the wating area to explain. I picked up the PA and said, something to the effect that none of us knew exactly what the problem was but we were doing our damndest to fix it as quickly as possible. I didn't know how long it would take but we would ensure that everything was safe before we left for London. It was surprising how well this was received!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 12:53
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
If you're somewhere down the line (as opposed to one of the relevant airline's bases) then it's often easy to work out from FR24 whether it's a delay to the inbound flight (and if so, how long it's likely to be).

That may already put you in possession of more information than the gate staff have been given.
I've often found the company website or App gives far more information than the airport information boards or gate staff. In fact, I'm quite sure that airports hold back the information from customers, as I've often known of a delay several hours ahead, but the departure boards show 'Boarding at.......'.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
If you're somewhere down the line (as opposed to one of the relevant airline's bases) then it's often easy to work out from FR24 whether it's a delay to the inbound flight (and if so, how long it's likely to be).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davef68
That may already put you in possession of more information than the gate staff have been given.
I've often found the company website or App gives far more information than the airport information boards or gate staff. In fact, I'm quite sure that airports hold back the information from customers, as I've often known of a delay several hours ahead, but the departure boards show 'Boarding at.......'.
I am definitely of the opinion that passengers can be usefully kept in the dark ... after all, how often has one checked in for an 'on-time departure' to discover once having fought one's way through security and into the pre-boarding area (whatever title it enjoys!) to discover that your flight will be delayed ... or even worse ... 'wait in lounge' whilst all the flights below yours show gate information and eventually disappear from the information screens!

If I know that my flight is a 'return sector', I tend to log onto the Departures section of the outgoing airport to see if 'my flight' has left or if it too is showing a delay. Sometimes even looking at the Arrivals section of the airport I'm in can give me a clue as to the real status of 'my' aircraft. Flightradar24 and FlightAware can also be useful sources of information that your local staff cannot or would prefer not to share with you!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:25
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I do that too Alsacienne, however, the inbound flight can be on time but develop a snag en route which will need fixing prior to your departure.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 13:39
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
I recall that there used to be three reasons for delays:-

Operational reasons
Technical reasons
Air traffic control reasons
There are 100: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IATA_delay_codes

In my experience, having worked in ops at four different airports in the UK, less is more. If you start to engage pax in a conversation with a specific delay reason, it simply leads to yet more questions, with the questioner believing that he knows better than you how an airline is run. I once explained to a pax that a delay was owing to the autopilot being u/s.
'Well don't they have a spare one on site?'
'No they're bringing one from another base'
'How long is that going to take?' (It was being flown in).
Then, 'How long will it take to fit it?'
'Will they have to flight test it after it has been fitted?' (Thus, in the mind of the passenger, delaying the departure even more).
'No.' He clearly was about to ask further questions, but at this point, fortunately, a call came over the radio to go and deal with something else. but I learnt never again to engage pax in a detailed conversation about delays.
.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 15:04
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I delayed a flt once due to thick fog at the destination which would eventually clear later in the morning but no point in flying the hold and then diverting back as it would take ages to clear. Much better to sit on the ground, have a proper breakfast and then, when the destination starts to clear, head off. I personally briefed the Pax in the Departure Lounge but, as I did, another Companies aircraft taxied out to the same destination. A rather irate businessman accosted me in front of everyone and loudly demanded that, if they were going, why weren't we? In the end I said (politely but firmly in front of the now, audience) that, if he wished to Charter the aircraft privately, I'd happily take him to see the fog and that, no, we were going nowhere until I, as Capt, was happy. Much grumping from said businessman!

Anyway, after quite a while, things finally started to brighten up at the destination so back to let the Pax know the good news. As I did so the other aircraft reappeared. Businessman once again loudly pointed out the fact that they had gone and were now back - so I explained to all the Pax that the aircraft was simply returning for more fuel (and a Pax leg stretch!) having flown round and round and round in circles over the destination for about an hour and that the same Pax were still on that aircraft. Off we went and, sure enough, as we approached the fog lifted and in we went off the first approach. As the businessman de-planed he stopped and sheepishly apologised and said that my suggestion that we stayed on the ground was, by far, the more civilised one and that he'd "listen to the experts in the future!". Seemed he'd even phoned the other Airline to verify my story of them not getting in!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 15:39
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Hot 'n' High, How very satisfying!!!!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 16:36
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Originally Posted by Alsacienne View Post
I
If I know that my flight is a 'return sector', I tend to log onto the Departures section of the outgoing airport to see if 'my flight' has left or if it too is showing a delay. Sometimes even looking at the Arrivals section of the airport I'm in can give me a clue as to the real status of 'my' aircraft. Flightradar24 and FlightAware can also be useful sources of information that your local staff cannot or would prefer not to share with you!
The Easyjet App shows you the FR24 data, I'm reminded of the time, when waiting at Bristol for a delayed flight, I followed the inbound progress on the App. There were high side winds at BRS that night, and I watched as it did an approach, then abandoned the landing and tootled off to Gatwick!
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 16:43
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
I recall that there used to be three reasons for delays:-

Operational reasons
Technical reasons
Air traffic control reasons
In my time, there were only two:

a) those that were blamed on us in Engineering; and
b) everything else


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Old 15th Dec 2021, 18:58
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It is quite easy being based in BER: simply blame everything on the airport, and everybody believes it...
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 19:10
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I think one of the best explanations I ever had was not for a delay. A very firm landing at O'Hare followed by heavy braking. The captain then told us that the plane in front for landing had been a Chinese 747 and he thought we might like to get into the international terminal before them. I couldn't argue with that! True or not I think the whole plane was smiling.

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Old 15th Dec 2021, 19:46
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I once experienced a delay at Gatwick. Flight STD 3pm, info screens say go to gate xx which was right at the end of pier 4 (near the wavy wall) so a long way but partly using moving walkways. Looked out of gateroom window to see a couple of booked airline's aircraft but with no activity going on. Last call had been announced by gate staff. By 2.45pm some fellow pax started to enquire with gate staff if flight was delayed as no boarding announcement had been made. About 10mins later staff announced there was a delay but it shouldn't be long as the the crew allocated for the flight were transferring from another inbound flight. After about another 15mins a general announcement was made for all pax to return to the departure lounge. Moving walkways were moving the other direction so a very long walk. At departure lounge the flight details were missing from the info screen. They appeared again after about 10mins showing go to gate xx (different from before). I was told afterwards that when a flight is displayed as last call it automatically disappears from the info screen after a certain time period. Went to new gate and gate staff started boarding process soon after. Got on bus and then to aircraft but driver didn't open the bus doors as he was checking situation with dispatcher. It was obvious there was no crew on the aircraft. It was a very warm day and driver reluctantly opened the bus doors but we had to remain on the bus until the crew turned up. They eventually did and after carrying out their pre-boarding aircraft checks allowed us to board. Once all on the aircraft the captain announced that they were a standby crew who were called to do the flight as the airline had experienced some aircraft tech problems during the day. He also said don't be angry with the crew.

Clearly the ground handlers had no idea as to the cause of the delay but were only interested in getting the pax to gate on time. As for the airline operations team, they must have had some idea but were maybe struggling to find a crew to do the flight, so were not able to provide the ground handlers with accurate information.
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Old 15th Dec 2021, 20:30
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We did a pushback and I was on the long lead, as we disconnected the tow bar from the tug we found the pin had frozen in the other end, explaining over the intercom to the pilot we were having trouble getting the tow bar off, I heard him relay to the passengers that they were experiencing technical problems.
One of the guys took tow hitch pin out of the front of the tug and began to carry out some "percussive maintenance" on the said frozen pin, over the intercom you could hear the dong..dong..dong echoing through the cabin like some bell tolling a death knell, suddenly the pin shifted and we got the bar off, calmly the pilot goes back on the cabin announcement and informs the passengers as you can probably tell the engineers have rectified the problems..

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Old 15th Dec 2021, 21:24
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NutLoose That is a GREAT story and certainly made me laugh out loud. Thank you.
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