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Holding flights for connections - New UA system FYI

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There have been some spirited discussions about airlines holding flights for inbound connections.  Recently, United has developed an automation tool to assist with those types of decisions.  It might be informative to read these two articles on the rationales behind decisions to hold or not hold departures to accomodate connections.

 

This link takes you to the United announcement of the system:

 

https://hub.united.com/united--makes-connecting-easier-connectionsaver-2638762086.html

 

A review of the system, along with a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts comes from Cranky Flier:

 

https://crankyflier.com/2019/06/20/a-more-detailed-look-at-uniteds-connectionsaver/

 

Interesting stuff.

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Interesting concept. I assume it only applies to those pax on late arriving or  tight connections and not those who don’t allow enough time to arrive at the gate on time? 

Also wonder how the software determines “walk” time between gates. This can vary depending on so many factors not the least of which is that some folks are able to walk much faster than others. 

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13 minutes ago, purduemom1 said:

Interesting concept. I assume it only applies to those pax on late arriving or  tight connections and not those who don’t allow enough time to arrive at the gate on time? 

Also wonder how the software determines “walk” time between gates. This can vary depending on so many factors not the least of which is that some folks are able to walk much faster than others. 

 

I'm not sure how any software could be programmed to deal with people who just "aren't where they should be" for whatever reason.  That includes getting stuck in traffic before arriving at the airport or stopping at a restaurant within the airport after having checked in, etc.

 

As for "walking speed", presumably the software is programmed to account for at least some variability.  They could also account (if the programming is planned to do so) for those requesting special assistance such as wheelchair help.

 

Also, airlines can arrange for those little electronic carts to be waiting for arriving passengers to take them to connecting flights with tight connections, etc.  (This could be done long before this special program, of course, but could also be used in conjunction with it.)

 

GC

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Posted (edited)

Also, airlines can arrange for those little electronic carts to be waiting for arriving passengers to take them to connecting flights with tight connections, etc.  (This could be done long before this special program, of course, but could also be used in conjunction with it.)

Wouldn't that be wonderful! 

Edited by Alaskanb

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Those carts can be a real time saver-if the airport has them.  I’ve never seen them at SLC and I frequently connect there. Minneapolis, on the other hand, has pretty decent cart availability.  I remember making a connection at phx only because there was a cart waiting four four of us. 

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This could be a money saver for the airlines.  Two years ago my first flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue.  They put me on a later flight that was also delayed due to a mechanical issue.  We landed in PHL Terminal F and I had to get to A for my connection.  I ran to the shuttle and ran to my gate--just as they were closing it.  Too late by one minute. It was the last flight of the day and there are no connections at 10:30 pm in MCO, so no one wold have missed a flight when they got there.  Had they held the flight for less than five minutes, they wouldn't have had to pay for hotel rooms for about eight people while inconveniencing no one. 

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Posted (edited)

Excellent.

 

On one Lufthansa tight connection in Frankfurt we were met at the gate.  We were escorted down the stairs to a van and transported to another gate.  We went up the stairs and boarded our flight to Rome.  Alas, our checked bags did not make it so we had to wait for 2.5 hours in Rome. 

 

BUT....to Lufthansa`s credit when we arrived in Rome there was actually a board telling us specifically that our bags did not make it and advising us of the flight that they would be coming in on.  Far better that not knowing, filling out forms etc.  Took away the uncertainty and allowed us to determine what changes we had to make to our onward rail journey to Cinque Terre.    This is one of the reasons that we switched to carry on only.

Edited by iancal

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15 hours ago, purduemom1 said:

Those carts can be a real time saver-if the airport has them.  I’ve never seen them at SLC and I frequently connect there. Minneapolis, on the other hand, has pretty decent cart availability.  I remember making a connection at phx only because there was a cart waiting four four of us. 

I'm an SLC traveler.  For now, it's one of the best airports for connections.   It's a pretty quick traverse from one end to another.  When the new terminal opens up starting in 2020, well that could change things. That said, there are little carts around, don't know why you haven't seen them.  And, they just don't have old folks on them...

I've had a car waiting for me a few times at LAX when my flight was late coming in and there were a few of us on that flight trying to make that same connecting flight.  

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On 6/22/2019 at 1:34 PM, Alaskanb said:

If only American would follow this model! 

 

I'm an AA/OneWorld frequent flier and have been highest tier for over 10 years now. However, AA really ticked me off one time because of something like this. I was flying HKG-SFO-ORD-MCI (don't ask why) and my SFO-ORD flight was about 25 minutes late, which was tough when you have a 45 minute connection on to the last ORD-MCI flight of the night. It was an AA-AA same ticket connection, yet when I got to the gate for my MCI flight, it had already pushed back early. I was polite, but very angry because I just wanted to get home. I will never understand why they pushed that plane back early, knowing a passenger (whether it be a OneWorld Emerald or not) is coming on a delayed but feasible connection.

 

But I digress.

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Zach - it's because AA has made "D0" one of their significant metrics for operational performance.  They are focused on on-time departure, believing that is critical for passenger satisfaction.

 

It's said that one big difference among airlines is that AA focuses on "D0" while DL focuses more on "A0".

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2 hours ago, Zach1213 said:

 

I'm an AA/OneWorld frequent flier and have been highest tier for over 10 years now. However, AA really ticked me off one time because of something like this. I was flying HKG-SFO-ORD-MCI (don't ask why) and my SFO-ORD flight was about 25 minutes late, which was tough when you have a 45 minute connection on to the last ORD-MCI flight of the night. It was an AA-AA same ticket connection, yet when I got to the gate for my MCI flight, it had already pushed back early. I was polite, but very angry because I just wanted to get home. I will never understand why they pushed that plane back early, knowing a passenger (whether it be a OneWorld Emerald or not) is coming on a delayed but feasible connection.

 

But I digress.

It's quite frustrating that's for sure! We have what I now think is a tight connection on October 28 ELP-DFW-FRA-LCY. If the ELP-DFW is on-time things should be fine with a 70 minute connection. I'm hoping for some beneficial time changes --they are AA award flights. 

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3 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

Zach - it's because AA has made "D0" one of their significant metrics for operational performance.  They are focused on on-time departure, believing that is critical for passenger satisfaction.

 

It's said that one big difference among airlines is that AA focuses on "D0" while DL focuses more on "A0".

 

And Delta also pads schedules a fair amount to get their A0 numbers. Ask any regular Delta in the small metro Southeast, and they can tell you exactly how long the usual and expected hold at origin at your home outstation due to ATC congestion over ATL can last (in my case 22, minutes)  and you still somehow manage an on-time arrival to your gate in Atlanta. 

 

But hey, I 'd rather have a more predictable A0, even if it means schedule padding, because it lets me feel confident taking cheaper ticket options that might have a bit of a tight connection time on the surface. 

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On 6/23/2019 at 11:46 AM, slidergirl said:

I'm an SLC traveler.  For now, it's one of the best airports for connections.   It's a pretty quick traverse from one end to another.  When the new terminal opens up starting in 2020, well that could change things. That said, there are little carts around, don't know why you haven't seen them.  And, they just don't have old folks on them...

I've had a car waiting for me a few times at LAX when my flight was late coming in and there were a few of us on that flight trying to make that same connecting flight.  

Yes, I agree it is easier than many airports and the walk is certainly better than some I could name. Since SLC is the only choice from my home airport when flying Delta, i have connected there more times than I can count over the years(8 times in the past 6 months alone) and have never seen any carts. Must not be many of them or I certainly would have noticed when trying to get out of their way. 

 

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What's DO and AO for the great unwashed like me,cheers,Brian.

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7 hours ago, brian1 said:

What's DO and AO for the great unwashed like me,cheers,Brian.

My best guess is Departure on-time and Arrival on-time. 

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18 minutes ago, Alaskanb said:

My best guess is Departure on-time and Arrival on-time. 

So you weren't too sure either,lol.I did Google it to no avail,trying not to expose my ignorance.

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Sorta like the old days of the space program, where countdowns had announcements like "T minus 8 minutes" and the like, with "T" indicating take-off.

 

You can't see them from the terminal gate areas, but from the aircraft side one can spot large electric signs called "Ramp Information Display Systems".  They give information about the flight that will be departing from that gate for the benefit of the ground and flight staff working that aircraft.  Different airports display different info, but one thing that is always present is a countdown clock until scheduled departure time.  That's the "D zero".   In addition, some carriers even have a version inside their jetways.

 

Next time you are flying, you can take a look for this at various gates as you go taxiing past.

 

Here's a sample to see the countdown clock at the bottom row:

 

safedock-ramp-information-display-system

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The answer was so obvious,hidden in plain sight,lol.How about a sticky with all the air related abbreviations,not airport and airline codes,they can be looked up easily.Every time someone posts air jargon they can put it on the sticky.Saves guys like me wedged in the back shouting at you guys thru the curtains "WHAT'S THAT".Just saying,lol.

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43 minutes ago, brian1 said:

The answer was so obvious,hidden in plain sight,lol.How about a sticky with all the air related abbreviations,not airport and airline codes,they can be looked up easily.Every time someone posts air jargon they can put it on the sticky.Saves guys like me wedged in the back shouting at you guys thru the curtains "WHAT'S THAT".Just saying,lol.

 

Nice idea.  One problem is that CC doesn't give a poster the ability to edit after a certain timeframe.  Or to delete a post.  Thus, we could start with a post that has say 20 common ones, but to add to the list we have to make new posts to generate an updated consolidated list.  That issue could be handled by a big "Please go to the last post in this thread for the latest info" at the top of the first post -- but I suspect many would never even look or consider that.

 

And for a bit of fun for the pilot side of acronyms:

 

 

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11 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Nice idea.  One problem is that CC doesn't give a poster the ability to edit after a certain timeframe.  Or to delete a post.  Thus, we could start with a post that has say 20 common ones, but to add to the list we have to make new posts to generate an updated consolidated list.  That issue could be handled by a big "Please go to the last post in this thread for the latest info" at the top of the first post -- but I suspect many would never even look or consider that.

 

And for a bit of fun for the pilot side of acronyms:

 

 

No worries,it was just a thought,cheers,Brian.

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On 6/25/2019 at 11:48 AM, brian1 said:

The answer was so obvious,hidden in plain sight,lol.How about a sticky with all the air related abbreviations,not airport and airline codes,they can be looked up easily.Every time someone posts air jargon they can put it on the sticky.Saves guys like me wedged in the back shouting at you guys thru the curtains "WHAT'S THAT".Just saying,lol.

 

I'm pretty sure you can ask a moderator to pin a thread like they did with the acronymns for first time cruisers, see a few posts in to this thread:

 

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3 hours ago, CruiseDigits said:

 

I'm pretty sure you can ask a moderator to pin a thread like they did with the acronymns for first time cruisers, see a few posts in to this thread:

 

That looks good.I'm not a regular here.The more knowledgable regulars would have to instigate the process.Hope I haven't opened a can of worms,lol.

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