Friday, August 24, 2007

Airborne Today

Heading back home... this post from St. Louis Airport, where the gate display says that my flight is departing on time (at 6:50PM). As it is now 6:49PM, I asked the nice AA gate attendant if the flight is going to be late. She says "we're waiting on the pilot to let us know if we're going to be late."

At 7:00PM the multimillion dollar airport display system still has the flight departing at 6:50PM. Someone notices and it goes black.

At 7:12PM the announcement is made that the flight will depart at 9:30PM. The reason: "We're waiting for the captain."

Usual translation: the crew for this flight was re-scheduled on the go to another flight whose crew didn't show up on time, but has a higher priority to depart on time because of arrival time restrictions, and as there are no back-ups in today's austere flying environment, which somehow manages to lose money in spite of filling every seat on the flight, the airlines now has to gather a "new" crew from those on break, or re-assign another crew as the arrival time domino effect begins to take place.