Lately, I seem to have a losing streak while flying American. Well, it’s actually a winning streak…but you’ll see why I say “lose” in the second.
My last several flights have actually arrived early at the destination airport – and when I say early, I actually mean upwards of 30 minutes+ early, which is absolutely fantastic. I can think of two occasions on my mind recently where this huge arrival difference happened, and as we taxied to the gate, we suddenly stopped short…and waited…and waited…and waited.
The problem? The ground crew wasn’t expecting the plane so early, so no one ever bothered to come out and guide the plane in, and begin the process of offloading luggage.
I find this not only frustrating, but peculiar, given how savvy traveler’s have become to find flight data, incoming information, and what was previously “airline only” information. Now, with the tap of a button, I can find out the information of the incoming route of the aircraft that’s scheduled to fly my route, know the loads of the flight, and track it’s progress enroute via interactive maps. So, for us to arrive that early at a gate and no one be there is rather interesting.
To add more interest to this story, my last trip from La Guardia to Atlanta, resulted in us sitting at our gate for 25 minutes before someone showed up. The Captain, trying to keep us informed, actually told us that there was no other plane being serviced at the time, and that the ground crew had simply gone on break, not expecting us so early. So, it seems like the ground crew would have been there, but wasn’t told any updated information as to expect our early arrival. So odd.
I find it interesting that:
- Ground staff isn’t as aware of the flight arrivals as it seems. In fact, on my last several trips, they’ve been down to the minute to the scheduled arrival time, and not the actual arrival time.
- When these planes land early, the airline can’t report it as “arrived” until it’s actually at the gate, and the door has opened. So, when these planes sit on the Tarmac, while it could essentially boost their early/on-time arrival numbers, it’s instead hindering them, as crews wait till the up-t0-the-minute arrival time.
I’m hoping as American continues to improve their on-time arrival numbers that they’ll take this into consideration. When the plane lands early, it’s frustrating for passengers to then sit longer and longer, so getting in well-ahead of schedule isn’t necessarily a good thing…
Has this happened to you at all?
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