FlightAware Discussions

Why do airlines nickle and dime us on departure times?

Am I the only one who can’t understand why the airline people will delay your flight by 10 minutes when your plane isn’t even at the gate yet? Sometimes the inbound flight hasn’t even landed yet. And they nickle and dime you in 5 and ten minute increments instead of providing reasonable estimates of when departures will occur.

I have been stuck more than once, patiently waiting, calling my wife to tell her that I am delayed…again and again…never knowing if I will leave. I have spent more than one night stranded where I wasn’t supposed to be.

Tonight its Delta. And I am annoyed because it isn’t me. It is my daughter. She was supposed to leave 6 hours ago and they have been nickle and diming the departure time in small increments all night long. I am just waiting to go pick her up at the airport when she gets here, and right now we are looking at 3:30am, 45 hours ago she was leaving Africa, and she’s tired. I’ve put up with it when it is me. Like I said, now its my kid.

I get it. Weather delays, maintenance delays, military casket on the plane delays, routed back to the gate to pick up a transplant organ that has to get to the hospital at the destination delays. I’ve had them all. Not everything is under the airline’s control, and delays often arent their fault. I don’t complain. I’d rather find out there is an issue with my rear end in a seat in the terminal than at 30,000 feet.

What is under the airline’s control is the estimates they come up with. It doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out that a plane cannot leave in ten minutes if it still has to land, taxi to the gate, unload passengers and luggage, refuel, restock, load new luggage, and board.

This is my biggest complaint about traveling. Incompetence in the area of planning. It can’t be that complicated. There has to be some common sense in there somewhere. Being nickle and dimed with inaccurate and clearly unrealistic scheduling times is something that should not be tolerated.

We who travel a lot all have examples. We need to stand up and make it known that we don’t think it is acceptable.

Done Ranting. Have a good evening to all :slight_smile:

Basically, because if they overestimate the delay, either because the issue is smaller than they thought or because they do an aircraft swap to prevent the delay, there are big negative consequences for the airline. Once a delay is posted that means that pax will miss their connection, they will all automatically be rebooked, sometimes with really bad flights way in the future. If their flight ends up being on-time they could arrive and find that they no longer are booked on the connection they thought they were.

It also prevents passengers from leaving the gate area or staying away from the gate area. If the flight is ready to go, they want everyone there ready to board. They don’t want to overstate the delay, end up wrong, and then just wait because joe schmo thought he had time to go grab a smoke outside security.

Give me a break. It all about total control by the airline and a total lack of concern for passengers. As you have noted, they can post any number of delays and there are no consequences to the airline.
Imagine if they told the passengers they were facing a 3 hour delay…people would look for alternative flights.
Basically, this is simply an extension of how they used to keep passengers hostage on the plane by pulling away from the gate and then sitting on the runway for hours.
They did that until it became illegal and they faced LARGE fines!!!
Now it rarely ever happens.

So just boil it down. The airline will lie to you and tell whatever they want until such time as they are required to provide accurate data and there are financial consequences.
The delay tactics are just business as usual for most airlines.

Welcome to the wonderful and enjoyable world of airline travel.
And another thing, the planes don’t sit on the “runway”, try taxiway or ramp, how would anyone take off or land if that were to happen?

This to me seems the more logical reason, but all valid points.

My pet peave is when as a passenger I know when the plane takes off that we will arrive late. This is based on the airline’s app, and confirmed by the captain in flight. Then some 4 hours later, we arrive at the gate, only to have to wait 15 minutes for the ramp agents to show up to flag us into the gate. How is it that the passengers and the flight crew know of our delayed arrival time hours earlier, but yet the ground crew at the arrival airport are the last to know?

Perhaps they’re servicing another aircraft.

That can also happen if you arrive on time. Really depends on the airport rather then the airline.