Airline Operational melt downs

Posted on 03. Apr, 2007 by in Featured

I was chatting with my brother, Gregg, the other night as he settled down on a stained carpet, stretched tightly over the concrete floor at Miami International Airport. Needless-to-say he was not a happy camper! Nor were the other marooned travelers. In fact, I detected a certain amount of hostility directed toward me and my industry of employ.

He queried as to why a previously wide open flight became oversold from the time he left Key West to arriving in Miami (approx 45 mins.). I responded, “Bad storm in Dallas.” His response was understandably un-printable.

Here is my over simplified explanation: Because the storm disrupted a major hub in the system, passengers were being redirected system wide. A large percent of passengers take multiple legs to get to their ultimate destination. With a large network carrier, there are numerous ways to get from your departure point to your ultimate arrival point. Obviously, most people want non-stop; a one leg flight. The economics make that impossible so the majority are routed through a hub to get from point A to point C. The point B hub can be changed. Also, a formerly non-stop passenger whose flight has been canceled can be re-booked through a hub. An empty flight can very quickly be filled by Agents desperately trying to get passengers where they want to go.

Aircraft being trapped in the weathered-out city can affect the crew and aircraft availability down line. Even if the aircraft makes it out, if it is significantly late then the crew goes illegal (FAR’s). Which means they cannot fly all of their scheduled legs for the day. This causes a ripple effect that can impact every single base as reserve pilots and flight attendants are used up.

The “New Reality” is that airlines are very leanly manned. The low cost impact on the industry dictates that airlines manning is as lean as possible in order for the airline to survive in a cut-throat industry. The result being, that if there is a major disruption caused by Mother Nature, there will be issues! The first one to an agent by phone, internet or in person wins. Large reserves of aircraft and crews simply put; are a casualty of de-regulation and subsequent low fares.

When airlines flew around at 70% load factors, booking on a rival was available. Unfortunately, with load factors in the 80’s it really isn’t an option anymore. This has also made non-reving (travel by stand-by, non-revenue passes for family and friends) almost impossible; thus my brother’s predicament.

As he rests his head on his lap top, with TSA announcements going off repeatedly at full volume in the background, I bid him “Good night sweet Prince”. His response was again, understandably, unprintable. chip

No Responses to “Airline Operational melt downs”

  1. gman 4 April 2007 at 22:05 #

    It wasn’t that bad,big brother,as i have had “much experience” passing out on filthy floors.., It was the $8.00 samual adams beers that was the real downer !!!
    I look forward,again,to drinking..,err..,flying the friendly skies!

    Mr. Al Kihada

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