Houtson IAH


#1

Been mostly following nascar planes on here after stumbling onto the site but have recently been using it to track my own trips for business purposes.
On Wed the 22nd I was en route from Detroit to Aguascalientes Mexico via Houston for work on CO flight #1612. On our approach into IAH we were re-routed to Hobby for what the pilot told us what airport closure at IAH to a storm. Apparently we needed more fuel. So, after making an approach to Hobby we were once again re-routed to College Station because as we were told, Hobby also “closed”.
After landing in College Station we sat on the tarmat with about 10 other planes while the pour guy who was manning the place had to refuel all the planes by himself and run shuttle service to all planes that had passengers that wanted to get off. There were only a limited number of gates to we could not de-plane. We sat there for 4 hours and what became an arrival time of 5:03PM became 11:40PM.
Here is where I get confused…we were told the airport was 'closed" We sat in College Station for over 4 hours before moving. So how could I possibly miss my connecting flight when the airport was "closed?"
Also, when I track the activity of IAH during that period of time it appears that not only were flights landing but taking off as well. But, I can not even find a history of either my arrival flight or my departing flight. I was just checking because I was curious as to by how much I missed the connecting flight.
As a side note, because I missed the connecting flight I also missed the meeting that I was to attend as there is only 1 flight a day into Aguascalienets. So, after sleeping on the floor of the airport (along with about 500 other stranded travellers) I elected to return to Detroit on the 7AM flight the next morning.
I guess I am having a hard time believe that the airport was “closed” for that long of a period of time. I mean, I don’t recall it being “closed” that long for the last Hurricane, although I know alot of flights were cancelled but the airport remained open for the for most part.
What i am missing here?


#2

From the airport activity graphs it looks like the traffic volume was halved due to the thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon/evening.

As I was driving home on Wednesday about 8PM there was ~3" of water flowing across many of the streets in midtown, which slowed traffic down quite a bit.


#3

OK so I have my first confirmation that it rain was heacy there and I buy into cutting down on the amount of traffic. But, it makes me madder than hell that my flight was chosen as one of those to get the ax and am not too happy about but I can understand it.
Now, on the other hand what I was told was that the airport was “closed” Closed means no traffic in and no traffic out and I was lied to. Nothing I can do about but man I hate people who lie.
Can you help me track my actual flight though? I have not even been able to see when it landed?


#4

Just enter your flight number into the flight/tail# box and click “track any flight.” You’ll get the page for that flight number. then look at the flights for the 22nd:
flightaware.com/live/flight/COA1 … /KDTW/KCLL
flightaware.com/live/flight/COA1 … /KCLL/KIAH

It’s quite possible the airport WAS closed at the time of landing. I wouldn’t go jumping on the “they laid to me bandwagon” just yet.

All-in-all, I think I would rather be diverted than having my aircraft attempt to land in very bad weather. Much safer, whether they lied or not.

I’m pretty sure they picked your flight specifically because you were on it and they knew you had to get to a meeting.


#5

Without a doubt this was a total conspiracey to keep from attending my meeting!
All kidding aside, I agree I would much rather be diverted and delayed than to crash…I have no bones about it.
I just could not understand why I missed my connecting flight when the airport was “closed”. In my mind I am thinking "hey, if I am delayed there is a good chance the aircraft that is arricing to take me to Mexico is also delayed. I was scheduled to arrive almost 2 hours before that flight left and having taken this trip many times, if I recall right this aircraft always arrives 30 minutes before we depart Houston. So when I landed, I was confused on how I could have missed the connection if the airport was closed and no flights landed. This led to my research of what time that flight left and by how I missed it. It was only delayed 1 hour in leaving for those that are interested.
I guess when I read your statement “the airport could have been closed at the scheduled time of landing” I would buy into that but did I mention I sat on the plane in College Station…not too far away, for 5 hours?
Perhaps the airlines do this on a regular basis…lie to the passengers to prevent a total revolt? But to me, I would have rather been told the truth so I knew what my plan was going to be. Instead, with each passing hour I continued to be on the phone making alternative plans.


#6

Looks to me from David’s link, you were on the ground for 3 hours, not 5. Still sucks. I understand the diversion, but they were low on fuel because they are so damn worried about every extra pound of fuel.


#7

I agree.

While the majority of people are sane and would accept what the airline says, there is that minority who are nothing but suit-happy idiots. It’s because of these idiots that the majority doesn’t get the truth.


#8

Here’s what probably happened: the pilot told you the airport was “closed”, but a better word might be “unavailable” or “pointless to try to land there”. The most likely situation was that planes were having difficulty making it around the storms and into the airport, and the storms will likely move over the airport, making it pretty much pointless to head there in the first place.
BUT the flight you missed may have been flown with one of the last airplanes to land there before the storms closed in.
AND, think about what the air traffic situation was like after the storms cleared out. You’ve got your regular stream of 30 or 40 IAH arrivals coming in for, say, their 9pm arrival time. But there are 20 or 40 or 60 other aircraft that are still waiting in the air (in holding patterns) or on the ground (diverted, like your flight), that also want to get back to IAH. Well, all 50-100 of these airplanes can’t land at the same instant. It may take an hour or more to get every last airplane in. By the time the last arriving jet parks at the gate, the jet that arrived first may have already pushed back, taxied out, and taken off. The intent is to allow the holding and diverted airplanes in to land first, but it doesn’t always work out that way in practice. Fuel loads, time each one has been holding, where the storms moved to, etc. all can warp that plan.
So I don’t think anyone lied to you…either they didn’t have all the information, or just simplified it, so they didn’t have to explain what I just tried to say in the last two paragraphs.
Clear?


#9

Let me rephrase what I said…I was suppose to land at 5PM and I did not land until 10:40PM. Call it what you want but that is over 5 hours.

“So I don’t think anyone lied to you”…Yes they did lie to me. The piloy cleary stated that the airport was closed. They did not tell me that they did not have all of the information or that the airport was “unavailable” They said it was closed.

And, my connecting flight left at 7:30PM, 1 hour later than scheduled and a full hour and 1/2 after I had been sitting in College Station. This means that while I was being told that the airport was closed, planes were taking off and landing.
Not trying to create an arguement as I understand why they don’t tell everyone the truth. I saw plenty of pissed off passengers once on the ground that were taking this whole thing out on people who had no control over it. I am just making a statement that me personally, I would have rather been told the truth so I did not waiste my time even trying to make alternative plans. I was already on the phone to Mexico making alternative plans, etc. I then had to call them back around midnight and tell them that I was not coming.
And did I mention sleeping on the floor because the hotels were full? I probably would have had a much better chance of getting a room had I know at 8PM or so that I would not egt out of Houston.


#10

I certainly understand your frustration…trust me, I deal with this on a daily basis. Thunderstorms on or near an airport creates a very dynamic situation…there’s a lot changing rapidly for ATC and the airlines, and the flow of information can be slow, wrong, or simply gets lost. The pilot may have been told by ATC, his dispatcher, or a gate agent that the airport was “closed”, so he may have gotten wrong information. It was bad info for sure, but where it originated is anyone’s guess.
One thing I’d recommend would have been to call Continental’s reservation or flight information line, or visit continental.com to check on your departure flight’s status while you were still in CLL. If it left while you were still on the ground in CLL, you would have most certainly been able to find that out, and made alternative plans. (Though I have discovered that, during severe weather events, in rare cases, the flight status info on the website (and in the gate agent’s own computers!) is just wrong. Wires get crossed somehow. But it’s rare.)


#11

You are kinda of proofinn my point about why I am upset about being lied to.
Had they told me that the airport was still open on a limited basis I would have checked on my outgoing flight while in College Station. However, this is not what was told to me. I was told the airport was closed. Closed means no flights in and no flights out so there should not have been any worry about missing the connection. Whether it was the ground that lied or pilot, to me it does not matter.
And I know the weather was not the airlines fault so I am not even going to attempt to take it out on them.
In order to make the best possible decision you must first have accurate information. I am sure that I was not alone either. And, if they provide us with accurate information while in College Stattion, I am sure that they would have freed up alot of their agents time in helping answer questions once we did get to Houston.


#12

All good answers for why your outbound connection left without you. One additional possibility is the aircraft used came from the hangar and not another airport. They may not have been able to hold it any longer it because the gate was needed for late arrivals once the weather improved.
If the airline has, say, 50 gates but weather delays the arrivals of 49 aircraft for 45 minutes the next 50 aircraft that may already be airborne need to go somewhere. Hence the airport is closed excuse. The aircraft that divert are now at the back of the queue as far as getting a gate at IAH so they sit on the ground in CLL!
The phrase “airport closed” is almost never 100% true. The weather may be below landing minimums but takeoffs are still happening. Too much standing water will stop transport category aircraft (max 3/4") but light aircraft can takeoff and land at their discretion.

John, bored in Saudi


#13

Airports very rarely “close”, in the sense of a business that turns off the lights and everyone goes home. For major events, such as an aircraft accident or major weather event ( a hurricane, for example) an airport might shut down, but only after a long bout of soul searching.

A thunderstorm or “normal” bad weather probably wouldn’t close an airport. But, it can definitely slow it down. I live close to the Long Beach airport, and this morning the ceiling is 100 and the fog has the visibility down to 1/8th of a mile. The airport is open in every sense, but the weather has prevented takeoffs and landings. (I’ve heard a couple of go- arounds already this morning).

This is a link that takes you to a page from the Air Traffic Command center in Washington DC. Apparently, the combination of thunderstorms, wind and runway selection, and traffic demand, caused a huge problem for ATC on the 22nd. The advisories move through the day from the bottom to the top of the page. Click on the links on the left for IAH/ZHU and see how many times they issued Ground Stops for IAH…

This first link is for the 22nd…the next link goes to the 23rd…( the next zulu day…)

fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_list.jsp … ther=Other

The 23rd…note the problems at IAH were not resolved until about nine PM…and they started about 9 hours earlier. The controllers earned their money on this day…

fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_list.jsp … ther=Other

Edit: And, as far as the “lying” goes, why can’t the airlines just be honest and post this type of information for the passengers? Everyone on the plane would be able to see exactly what was going on at IAH, and how hard everyone was working to keep everyone safe. Why keep on with the “closed” charade? Its comically stupid.


#14

YO Long Beach- The convection Y’all get on the West coast is nothing like the Mid West of the South. They close Airports all the time do to thunderstorms out here, BUT they are usually only closed for a VERY short period of time.

So to answer the guy that posted this- The plane might have already been sitting on the ground when you diverted to Collage Station (Aggies SUCK) OR while you were sitting on the ground in Collage Station the connecting flight landed, filled up and took off.

Also a Thunderstorm can really throw a monkey wrench in the ATC system. So they start handing out numbers before you arrive at the “gate” it’s a term ATC uses for a fix in the sky that aircraft are routed to fly through to keep a flow of traffic. You should see Memphis durring a FedEx push and a storm over the airport, or ATL. Rome GA is a thunderstorm factory in the summertime an Rome is one of the arrival gates.


#15

Convection is convection, Flykid.

The only person who can close an airport is the airport manager.

Air traffic control may ground stop, delay, slow down, and manage traffic in many different ways, but a controller cannot close an airport.

As pointed out in several other posts, the closing ( as in, the airport manager issuing a NOTAM that officially bars any aircraft from landing and departing from an airport) is exceedingly rare. Airport managers don’t “close airports all the time.” I’ve stood in the OKC tower ( as a visitor) and watched a small tornado go by the southwest side of the airport. Airport stayed open.


#16

Tomato/Tomato. I’ll be sure to call you the next time I can’t land in MIA, and have to hold, or FXE or FLL.
I’ve never seen cells that go to FL510 on the west coast (not saying they don’t happen) the TS here are much worst.


#17

“Can’t land” is not the same thing as “airport closed”.


#18

Okay dude.


#19

Seems like we’ve lost the plot here. Does it really matter WHY you can’t land? Whether it’s a monster thunderstorm that moves through in 20 minutes or ground fog that hangs around for hours, or a ground crew that didn’t finish it’s runway work by 0600 like they promised, do you really care when you are locked in the back of an airplane in College Station, Fort Lauderdale or Bakersfield?
I’ve tried to explain them all, trust me, the passengers don’t really care why they can’t takeoff/land when you try to explain it to them.
neener neener, my weather is worse than your weather.


#20

Trying to delete the double post.