Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Misc. Forums > Passengers & SLF (Self Loading Freight)
Reload this Page >

Delay due to Operational Reasons

Passengers & SLF (Self Loading Freight) If you are regularly a passenger on any airline then why not post your questions here?

Delay due to Operational Reasons

Old 14th Dec 2021, 10:45
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Blighty
Posts: 4,785
Delay due to Operational Reasons

Yes, we all know and love/hate the "operational reasons" excuse for anything
Sometimes, it's cover for "I do not know" while other times it means "I do not want to tell you"
Has anybody found an effective way of cajoling info out of gate staff to get some idea as to what is the true cause of a delay ?
davidjohnson6 is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 10:53
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northumberland
Posts: 6,431
Does knowing the reason for the delay get you to your destination any faster? I prefer to keep quiet and let them get on with their job.
SWBKCB is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 11:03
  #3 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Blighty
Posts: 4,785
If I know the true cause, I have better information, and can make decisions accordingly.
Maybe I should tell somebody not to wait for me, because I know the delay will be long... perhaps I should rearrange future travel while I can... maybe I should cancel a hotel booking because I won't get there in time
If captain is frantically trying to get an aircraft fixed... he/she needs to be left alone. Gate staff who are just playing with their phones while they wait are fair game for cajoling for info. The question is how to cajole that info out of gate staff...
davidjohnson6 is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 11:22
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: EHEH
Posts: 42
Quite often gate staff don't know much more than the pax. They can only pass on what they are told, which is often not all that much. Don't blame gate staff but blame those further up the chain. Then again, such as the length of the delay, that cannot always be determined. If there's a tech issue it may depend on multiple factors. Just as one example, assuming the problem has been identified and the part is available, a repair might only take 10 minutes but sourcing an engineer (or engineers) during a busy period may take much longer. Yes, it's all very frustrating for us, the pax, but just as frustrating for the gate staff and the crew.
FUMR is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 11:29
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northumberland
Posts: 6,431
Agreed - my experience is that Sod's Law applies in aviation delays far more than any other area - it's a fair bet that once you've found the engineer, the part will then turn out to be the wrong one.

Nothing like telling a gate full of pax the latest bit of information and then it changing as soon as you put the mic down, just after everybody has changed their plans based on the info you've given them...
SWBKCB is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 11:41
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 13,827
Originally Posted by FUMR View Post
Quite often gate staff don't know much more than the pax. They can only pass on what they are told, which is often not all that much. Don't blame gate staff but blame those further up the chain. Then again, such as the length of the delay, that cannot always be determined. If there's a tech issue it may depend on multiple factors. Just as one example, assuming the problem has been identified and the part is available, a repair might only take 10 minutes but sourcing an engineer (or engineers) during a busy period may take much longer. Yes, it's all very frustrating for us, the pax, but just as frustrating for the gate staff and the crew.
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.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 12:25
  #7 (permalink)  
I REALLY SHOULDN'T BE HERE
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: TOD
Posts: 1,658
The company I work for have a rather enlightened policy of being totally up front as to the reasons for a delay and this is usually “pushed” via app to the customer.

In my experience, customers are much more understanding the sooner and more completely you give them information. Drip feeding of negative news is the worst situation - I prefer to outline worst case and everything from there is an improvement.

Ultimately I think it is an organisational culture thing whether ground staff, operational staff and HQ communicate well with eachother and with the customer. If the gate staff are having to be cajoled then there is already a problem. It goes without saying that treating all colleagues with respect pays far greater dividends in terms of extracting accurate information than going in like an ill tempered hippopotamus.
speedrestriction is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 12:36
  #8 (permalink)  

PPRuNe Handmaiden
 
Join Date: Feb 1997
Location: Duit On Mon Dei
Posts: 4,449
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.
redsnail is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 12:50
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: uk
Age: 72
Posts: 90
The airline I worked for had software which calculated the cost of delay and/or cancellation of every flight it operated. Sometimes a flight was delayed because they wanted "my" aircraft to cover for another one for which the cost of delay was much more expensive (think missed connections). So the message was, we're delaying you because it's more expensive to delay someone else. Always good fun with those PA's...

I was even once instructed (by the company) to divert, even though I had enough fuel to stay and hold so that "my" landing slot could be used by another company aircraft for which a diversion would have been a much more costly affair. Sir Humphrey would have been proud of that PA.
36050100 is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 12:57
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: France
Posts: 1,007
I'm actually fairly relaxed about delays. As in, for example, the aircraft needs a de-ice that hasn't been planned, someone needed had called in sick, there is a technical problem. Whatever. I'm in a nice warm terminal (or nice cool terminal) with a book to read. If it goes on a long time then I will probably get a meal and maybe a room.
All of that is a lot better than a crash due to ice on the wings, an exhausted pilot, an EFATO.. Lets remember no company wants to lose passengers because of poor on time performance. The staff are under stress, and nagging them won't fix thing one. Same applies to buses and trains. Relax.
Piper.Classique is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 13:26
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,932
I am sure we have all stopped at the back of a queue of traffic that we cannot see the reason for and waited for a while, thinking oh well, it will move in a minute. I am happy to wait without knowing the reason, but after maybe 5 or 10 mins with no movement, I suddenly go "what the hell is going on"; I sometimes get out of the car to try to see the reason for the hold-up. It might be a lorry reversing into a tight gateway or whatever, and when I can see or know the reason, I relax and accept the delay. (Or turn around and try to find a way around the obstruction).

Problem with a tech aircraft is that even the engineers cannot always predict how long a fault will take to fix. If a wheel or brake pack needs changing, that will be 30 mins or so, (and normally won't delay the flight), but if there is a computer fault or hydraulic fault, say, they won't always know until they are well into fixing it.

In my first career as a (non aircraft) engineer, it was a pain when people kept asking how long something would take to fix, and sometimes you wanted to say "if you stop asking me questions and go away, I will get it done a lot quicker than if you hang around getting in my way and bugging me".

None of which helps the OP. You might be happy to know exactly what has gone wrong, but some might be nervous to know if there is a fault with the flight controls or engine(s), And most will have no clue and be none the wiser if, say, an ELAC or an ADIRS is faulty.

Perhaps passengers should be told what the technical fault is, or it's a de-icing problem, or the baggage truck has just driven into the side of an engine or whatever? I used to apologise on the PA if I did a heavy landing - it's only polite - but it was pointed out to me that some people might try to claim compensation; having been told of a pilot's mistake, so that was quashed.
Uplinker is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 14:35
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: WAW
Age: 47
Posts: 59
Originally Posted by SWBKCB View Post
Does knowing the reason for the delay get you to your destination any faster? I prefer to keep quiet and let them get on with their job.
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.

&
Sholayo is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 16:15
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,310
Originally Posted by Sholayo View Post
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.

&
I think as Uplinker points out “You might be happy to know exactly what has gone wrong, but some might be nervous to know if there is a fault with the flight controls”….

It just so happens the last major delay I was involved before I hung up my headset was due to a warning that popped up just before we closed the doors that there was potentially a Flight Control system problem on our trusty fly by wire aircraft….Specialist engineering opinion was that fix might be found by rebooting the entire aircraft, if that failed re-racking the relevant boxes, perhaps using a little force, if that failed….

Bearing in mind we had over 200 people on board, with a mix of languages, I wasn’t about to go into details (initially at least) with an announcement that the computer system that helped us keep the aircraft right side up had potentially got a glitch…that might have been the honest thing to do but it would probably have guaranteed some movement to the exits….

I think I came up with some BS excuse about a monitoring system not working, and we needed working it to go flying… FWIW that bought us enough time and things calm and in order long enough for the engineer to realise it was a really big snag…so off we all got..

Last edited by wiggy; 14th Dec 2021 at 17:42.
wiggy is online now  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 17:50
  #14 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,644
Reminds me of a good excuse I heard although, at the time, I did not know it was an excuse.

HKG January 1995 (Kai Tak ) Sitting on a VS A340 (a -300 I think but someone will know) and the flight was full as it was last out before Lunar New Year. Waiting around and flight deck warned of having to power down to reset the entertainment system. "We don't want you to not have your films and music during the long flight" It was extra long at 15.25 hours as we had to divert north almost to Beijing, to get around a cyclone, before turning West.

A couple of years later I learnt of the early computer sync problems on the 340. If, on start up, the 5 computers could not agree that they were all in the same place and on the same line of code - you had no choice but to power down the WHOLE aircraft. A classic, "You have to switch it off, wait a couple of minutes and then on again"

It worked and it was prob best that 99.9% of the pax did not know that there was nothing wrong with the IFE ...
PAXboy is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 21:05
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: UK/OZ
Posts: 1,802
Years ago as a passenger on a BA flight from Kenya to UK I was targeted by crooks who concocted a story our hotel bill had not been paid. This required me to be removed from the aircraft for 30 minutes. When I reboarded, the captain announced that due to our delayed pushback, we had missed our takeoff slot and being last flight of the day, contractors were scheduled to be on the runway so we couldn't taxi without compensating the contractors. Negotiations failed and the 747 edged back to the gate and disgorged it's pissed off cargo into hotels for the night. Thankfully the Captain announced the delay to pushback was due to a "medical emergency" and not connected to me. The skipper was aware that my removal was part of the extortion plan. I was chosen as I had many bags and so couldn't have been quickly booted off the flight. In principle I think flight crew should inform passengers of what is going on. The captain did relay a blow by blow description of the negotiations but wisely decided to fudge the cause of the delayed pushback thus removing me from being the target of any potential aggression from other passengers with whom we shared bus and hotel and re-checkin..

On another occasion, my camera crew were booked on a commuter flight in USA on an ATR. It was delayed as the aircraft had a tech issue with pressurization so it required more fuel to fly at a lower altitude. I was aware of the issue because I had demanded an answer from ground crew as to why our camera cases were being removed from the plane. He explained the tech issue and they had to remove bags as they would be bumping passengers from the flight as they had to take on more fuel. As we were sitting on the bus adjacent the aircraft other passengers who were not aware of the pressurization issue, were watching the cargo hold being emptied and began to blame us for the delay, claiming we had too much baggage and that we should be bumped off the flight! (we were easily identified as camera crew as we hand carry the camera)
Fearing we would be the easy target to be bumped I announced to the bus the reason for the delay and informed them that we had notified informed the airline of the weight of our baggage. When I slowly and clearly stated that there was a *tech issue* with the plane, you could hear a pin drop. Then the fuelling truck had its own tech issue, so it was a pretty uninspiring scene being played out infront of passengers.
When ground crew finally boarded the bus and asked for volunteers to be bumped, a dozen grateful hands shot up, which created enough capacity for us to continue, with our baggage.
This was a case where communications between airline and passengers were not timely.

Mjb
mickjoebill is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 21:30
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Location: Location!
Posts: 2,142
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.
Interesting - I was sitting in the BA Lounge at Boston last Wednesday evening, waiting for my flight back to UK after a month in the US and, as Redsnail suggests, watched the incoming flight on FR24 some 30 minutes adrift. After the doors closed on my flight, we pushed back and underwent deicing, allegedly the first flight of the winter to do so hence it perhaps inevitably took longer than expected. However, although we then took off 73 minutes late we arrived at Heathrow nine minutes early with a flight time of only five hours nine minutes after a very bumpy ride and a strong tailwind!

Incidentally, noted both that Rapid PCR Tests are available at Boston Terminal E Arrivals - albeit at $250! - and that the BA Arrivals Lounge at T5 is currently closed following last week's change in the rules.

Jack
Union Jack is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 22:00
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Out in the sticks in DE56
Age: 83
Posts: 560
Originally Posted by Sholayo View Post
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.
A few years back the notification for our flight LGW - YYR went from 'boarding in 2 minutes' to 'delayed'. A series of new and later etd's were offered and we eventually departed eight hours late.
Turns out that someone doing the pre-flight had noticed a small burnt hole from a lightening strike last night. No panic; send for the engineers who quickly applied the requisite patch. Then the wait for Toulouse to approve the repair, and wait, and wait... Meanwhile the flight planning chappies realised that our crew would be out of hours by about Greenland. No spares in London, but a crew in Glasgow, who arrived, another walk-round and off we went.
There was some muttering, and the purser made a quick pa that the Capt would be on soon. He made a full explanation - much longer that above - and we were all relieved that were on an aircraft with no un-designed holes in it.
jimtherev is online now  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 22:33
  #18 (permalink)  
Son of Slot
Super Senior Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: London
Posts: 1,051
Thank you for the great 'war stories' that make fun reading from the comfort of my sofa! I particularly liked the Kenya extortion plan from mickjoebill.

For Union Jack, you probably benefitted from the reduced number of movements at LHR. Friends who have travelled recently mentioned the shorter taxi times outbound and not the usual holding circuits on the way in.
S.o.S. is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2021, 22:42
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: terra firma
Posts: 146
Why should anyone bar the pilots and engineers need to know exactly why a flight is delayed?

'Tech issues" is a perfectly satisfactory response for cabin crew and ground staff to impart to passengers. Beyond that.....nada.
MissChief is offline  
Old 15th Dec 2021, 08:22
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 1,534
Don't make the mistake of thinking that the members of this forum are a reflection of the standard passenger. Most, though not all, on here have worked in the industry and have a good understanding of far more than your average passenger, even regular flyers. The most important piece of information you can give passengers on a delayed flight is the new departure time. For the majority of passengers the reason can be as simple as 'a slight tech problem that won't take long to fix' to 'Our engineers will need x minutes/hours to rectify the problem'.
'Operational reasons' is a bit too vague and when possible some fill in information should be provided, but I have known occasions when the full explanation was so long winded that the passengers would probably have fallen asleep by the time you'd finished, and many still wouldn't have understood why there was a delay.
On one flight delayed by weather, heavy snowfall, I was called down to talk to a gentleman wearing a dog collar who was haranguing the check-in staff and demanding to know exactly when the weather was going to clear and the flight depart. All explanations that we could only give estimates based on information received from the Met Office fell on deaf ears. Eventually I took him to one side and very politely asked him if he could perhaps use his connections to the big boss and let us know the answer.
Guesstimating weather delays was always fun, especially when asked 'When will the fog clear'

surely not is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.