06 July 2007

Bein' A Passenger

All of us "news junkies" saw the story-
A JetBlue airliner full of folks were held hostage on the tarmac for hours and hours...
denied food and beverages, the lavatories got filled to the point the passengers were complaining about the smell. I'm afraid of what I might have done under those circumstances... those folks were being held against their will, in some very uncomfortable conditions. The term "illegal arrest" comes to mind. There's no question that I would have been in touch with an attorney immediately upon getting off the airplane.

Frontier Airlines offered the best rates to Phoenix this trip. I hadn't flown Frontier in years. Back "in the day", Frontier was known for serving the best meals in the industry. I was interested to see how they compare with the other lines we have used lately.

If you fly Frontier, I hope you want to go to Denver.
All Frontier flights go to Denver. Want to Fly from Indianapolis to Memphis? You'll fly from Indy to Denver, then from Denver to Memphis. The only direct city-to-city flights are to tourist cities in Mexico.

We were loaded onto an Airbus 318... I'm surprised because it's July 4th... the airplane is full.
I prefer flying Boeing products, but the Airbus is a fairly comfortable airplane to fly in. We didn't push away from the gate at our designated time. Over the P.A. system we are informed that there is a problem with the toilets and they hope to resolve the problem quickly. We have a two hour layover in Denver before we leave for Phoenix, so this is no problem for us... we decide to sit back and enjoy the show. A diverse group of workers make their way back and forth down the aisle. Various P.A. announcements attempt to keep us informed... apparently there is an indicator that is showing a problem. They find the indicator is giving false information, then start work on replacing the indicator.

Forty-five minutes later we're on our way. I'm glad for our two-hour layover, but feel sorry for those that may miss their connections because of this delay.

The flight takes less than two hours. No food, but the attendants are attentive and insure we are happy with our beverages. I drink Tomato juice, then ask for coffee... no problem.

Denver is hot. The long walk up the Jetway is a little uncomfortable until we begin to feel the flow of cold air coming down from the terminal. The gate for our connecting flight is an easy three minute walk from our arrival gate.

The Denver to Phoenix flight boards uneventfully. We are departing at 5 P.M. Denver time, and there are many empty seats on this airplane.
We push away and taxi out on time, but before reaching the runway we hear the P.A. system once again:
"ATC has put us on a hold. There is a pile-up of arrivals at Phoenix, and we will be waiting 30 minutes or so for takeoff clearance."

I can understand the traffic jam and delaying the takeoff, but I ask the question:
"Why didn't they find out what the traffic situation was before loading us all onto this aircraft?"
We'd all have been much more comfortable in the terminal- Restrooms and food catering right there. Couldn't someone have checked the traffic situation before forcing all the cattle into the corral?

No, I guess not. It's too logical.


Jason said...

K and I experienced the same thing with United going to Canada a few weeks ago. At first they let us leave to go back in the terminal. 30 mins later we were told to board again only to be told we had to sit there another 45 mins. Fun stuff.

john said...

I once heard a captain say he'd keep us on board because it took too long to heard the chicken back on board. He'd probably miss his clearance void time. Sound reasonable to me for 30 min but 2 Hours? Thats insane
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Jim Howard said...

On many airlines the pilots pay doesn't start until they back away from the gate.


I've heard it said that the stats for departures (on-time) begins when the plane leaves the gate. Not sure if it's true, though. At any rate, I agree with you that someone should've checked out the situation prior to boarding.

Enjoy the heat!!