What do you mean, the plane hasn't left Detroit?!

OK, I think this turned out sort of lame, but oh well. I can’t believe it will be, IIRC, the only holiday flying rant in the Pit.

Two days ago, I left my cozy little apartment in Boston, Massachusetts and headed towards Logan Airport. I had a 6:45 PM flight arriving in Amsterdam at 7:35 AM local time, where I would make a connection to fly to Birmingham at 10:00 AM, arriving there at 10:20 AM local time. I hadn’t flown in 2 years, and it was an international flight, so I left for this 6:45 PM flight at 2:00PM, so that I would be extremely early and thus have plenty of time for the lines, security measures, general incompetence, etc. I got to the terminal early, I checked in, I went through security, I changed money, and I sat down to read, listen to music and wait for boarding.

Around 5 PM, anticipating boarding in about 3/4 of an hour, I stopped reading, looked up and saw something odd on the screens above my head. “Hmmm,” I thought, “that doesn’t look like the words ON TIME next to my flight #.” It was not. It was the time 9:45. The flight had been delayed 3 hours. OK, I figure, they must’ve said why but I was listening to music and didn’t hear the explanation. Surely they will soon have a gate agent available to help rebook connections, answer questions, that sort of thing.

At 7 PM, a gate agent who will answer questions about our flight finally appears. She cannot rebook any connections, apparently the policy of this airline is to rebook everyone’s flights while they are in the air. OK, that should work just as well as individual rebookings at this time, no big deal. And she does make an announcement explaining the delay. It seems the plane that is here in Boston has serious mechanical problems, and they are sending a new one from Detroit, which should land around 8:40 PM. OK, DC-10’s don’t magically appear out of thin air, so I can understand that it will take a while to get here. I have some dinner and settle down to wait for 8:40.

At 8:40 PM the gate agent makes an announcement: she will make a further announcement in 15 minutes. Uh-oh. I seriously doubt that this further announcement will consist of “Your plane has landed.” I am correct. The 9PM announcement is that the new DC-10 has not yet left Detroit. They’re pushing off from the gate now, though, so they should get here around 10:30, and then our flight can leave for Amsterdam at 11:30 PM. Five minutes later, a new announcement: The plane in Detroit has gone back to the gate, but they’re sure it will push off again soon.

The plane finally arrived at 10:45 PM. We got off the ground around midnight. Thankfully there are many flights a day between Amsterdam and Birmingham, so I managed to catch one (just barely), unlike the many people who were going to more exotic locations with only one flight a day. I feel especially sorry for the girl who missed being the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding.

Now for the rant:

You stupid, shit-for-brains, incompetent fools in Detroit! You knew since AT LEAST 5:00 PM EST that there were a great many people in Boston in need of a DC-10. OK, you can’t make one appear out of thin air, but you’d think you’d be trying to find one and send it out ASAP. Which apparently was around 8PM EST. Or so you said, not just to the passengers, but to your own gate agents. So why did you fucking lie? If you couldn’t get a plane until 9PM, you could have said that to begin with. And if you really could have sent the plane out at 8PM, why the hell didn’t you??? Do you want us to never fly your airline again? Were you hoping we would rise up in a massive riot and turn on the poor innocent gate agents here in Boston, against whom you perhaps had a vendetta? If I could’ve, I would’ve rebooked my flight for a little side trip to Detroit to personally throttle you for your inability to send an airplane in a timely manner. But I didn’t have the time. Because I had just wasted five and a half hours of my life in Terminal E of Logan Airport.

And to top it all off, the TVs in the terminal were all showing the Patriots-Jets game, and we were stuck just long enough to see them lose.

  • cough *

Oog. Me choke on potato chip.

LOL! They’re gonna push it all the way from Detroit to Boston?

6.0 on the rant, not bad, but seriously lacking in passion and creative invective.

Airlines always lie about the extent of delays. I think it is to reduce the chances you will rebook with someone else.

Of course the plane didn’t leave Detroit on time. There is so much to do here, so many sights to see, so much culture to absorb, that it only makes sense that the flight crew refused to leave Detroit. (Or ‘The Paris of Michigan’, as we like to call it)

Who is still flying DC-10’s?

I believe it was supposed to be a DC-10-30, if that’s somehow more up-to-date, but any way, it was Northwest. I kept it out of the original rant, but I don’t think it’s essential not to mention it.

My flight out of Detroit (about a month ago, so it wasn’t your connection) was delayed for an hour and a half. We were told it would be leaving, boarded the plane, and then sat on the runway for 90 minutes.

Why? Because somehow the first class food cart had crashed, spilling broken china and glassware all over the galley. They had to wait for maintenance to clean up the mess, and then order up and load (properly) a new first class food cart before we could take off.

So it’s possible that the agents weren’t lying, but some ridiculous unforseen problem delayed the plane’s takeoff from Detroit. It’s frustrating and annoying, but it’s just the way the wonderful world of airline travel works. Still sucks, though.

Um, this is a slight hijack, and perhaps I’m an idiot at geography, but did you fly to Birmingham, Alabama, from Boston by way of Amsterdamn? Really?

And by that I mean Amsterdam. Sorry, I must be in a snarky mood.

I think she means Birmingham, England.

::: stupid American :::



When planes return to the gate, it’s because there is something wrong with either the plane or the crew.

You don’t want to get on a plane with known problems, or an incapacitated crew.

(I’d avoid DC-10’s, but that’s another matter).

Unless you are Al Gore’s press secretary, in which case you can get the plane back to the terminal to return a phone call. :rolleyes:

In defense of the airlines, when they have mechanical problems with a plane, it ain’t so easy to scrounge up another one. Their fleets are actually quite a bit smaller than most people realize. In 2001, Northwest, for example, had a fleet of about 400 aircraft (that’s the most recent number I could dig up). When you consider all the routes they’re covering, including some long-haul killers (like Detroit to Tokyo), that’s not all that many planes.

Still doesn’t excuse the lying, of course.

In not defense of airlines, aside from birdstrikes and such random, unforeseeable events, they should damned well be able to field airworthy craft and crews, or adjust the schedule accordingly. Too many times, the plane is pulled from service because inadequate maintenance has rendered it unfit for service.

A whole lot of in-flight failures result from poor maintenance - TWA 800, the Alaska Air MD-83, the cartwheeling DC-10 in 1989, a United plane blowing out the tires because the tires had been recapped too many times - people routinely die because somebody neglected to do something they should have (retro-fit the 747 belly tank, grease the stablitor jackscrew, replace the #2 engine compressor rotors, buy new tires, respectively).



Ha- ha- ha- ha- ha!

Tell me another one!

This is the same crowd who kept passengers 12 hours on airplanes double-parked at Detroit Metro, with food and water running out, not to mention overflowing toilets during New Year’s a couple years ago. The guys running the outfit require a proctologist to find their heads.

Next time - don’t fly Northwest.

OK, in the true spirit of the season:

Fun with Northwest (not the best story, but a nice sample nonetheless):

NTSB Identification: CHI02FA289

14 CFRPart 121 operation of Air Carrier NORTHWEST AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Sunday, September 22, 2002 at Minneapolis, MN
Aircraft:McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, registration: N941N
Injuries: 85 Uninjured.


The airplane departed from gate D3 and was taxiing on taxiway A to runway 30L when ** the right main landing gear collapsed. The airplane came to rest on taxiway A abeam gate F10. ** The right main landing gear outer-cylinder was found fractured into two pieces near the upper end.

more fun can be had at: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp#query_start