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Flight delays into Houston in the past 2 weeks

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Dec 29th, 2008, 08:15 AM
  #1
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Flight delays into Houston in the past 2 weeks

Hi--

I'm hoping rkkwan picks up on this. We leave before the crack of dawn on Wed. on Continental for Nicaragua with a connecting flight through Houston. We have a horribly tight connection in Houston that rkkwan had given me some advice on when I first bought the tickets.

Because I've been so concerned about making this connection (I really don't want to spend 8 hours in the Houston airport waiting for the next flight), I've been watching the performance of my flight for the past month. Up until 12/15 my flight from MSP to Houston was early nearly every single time, so I was feeling really good that we'd be able to make the connection. However, in the past 2 weeks this flight has been late 80% of the time, and sometimes the delay wasn't in leaving MSP it was in arriving in Houston. But, the flight from Houston to Managua has left pretty close to being on time (never more than 1/2 hour late departure).

I can't figure out if something has been going on with Continental or the Houston airport or if it just the result of holiday air travel, and maybe things will be settling back down now. Does anyone have any thoughts? Thank you.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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It must have been the weather up in your part of the world. Just because the airplane left the gate on time, it does not mean that it could not have waited on the tarmac in MSP because of weather, de-icing, etc...

The on time performance is counted from the time the doors close, so just because the plane appeared to leave on time, it could have been an hour or so waiting for deicing, open runway, a go ahead from ATC.... so it very possible that it was your end that was having problems, not Houston.

I realize that this explanation does nothing to minimize your connection fears, but I thought I would throw it in.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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On-time performance of all airlines all across the US has gone down the drains the last two weeks with all kinds of wintry weather.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Minneapolis has had some slowdowns due to the weather. I put a relative on a plane on the 20th to go up to the Twin Cities for Christmas. The plane was delayed on the ground in Omaha for about an hour and a half due to the weather at MSP. Coming back the 27th the plane left the gate on time, but was 45 minutes late taking off.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Problem with first flight of the day in the winter is having it de-iced. If there's a thick layer of ice accumulated overnight, it can take over half-an-hour to deice. And they only do it after closing the doors, not before you board.

If you're still worried, pay the $50 fees and change to a flight on Tuesday, and stay at a hotel in Houston.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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Thanks all. You've explained a lot of things I didn't consider or understand. I can't believe I never though of the de-icing part and that having to be done after a plane leaves the gate. I've lived in MN nearly all my life and am well aware of the need to de-ice. I guess I just never put 2 and 2 together. We are still tossing around what to do.

Our only realistic option for leaving on Tuesday (other flights with times that would work for us are full)is a 7:00 pm departure that get in to Houston at 10:00. I also know that taking the last flight of the day, which this one is, can also sometimes be a nightmare.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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julies - my family travels between IAH and MSP a LOT. I think everyone has given you some good explanations on delays in the last few weeks, especially the need to deice the early morning planes. IAH has pretty much been delay free, but the weather in the rest of the country can reek havoc on those schedules. And note that some flights to IAH from MSP originate in EWR - which is notorious for delays even in good weather.

As you may know, there is a Marriot Hotel on site located between Terminals B & C which is very convenient if you decide on the 7 pm Tues flight. Many other hotels are located nearby with shuttle service.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 04:59 PM
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J62
 
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Websites like www.flightaware.com show the actual flight times (& routes). If you do a little digging you can find out what time the flights have actually departed.

A quick check shows that over the last week CO2017 departed (takeoff) anywhere from 5:40am (today) to 6:21 on 12/23. The flight duration lasted from a short of 2hr 22min (today) to 2hr 51min on 12/24, which would suggest either weather, air traffic, or both enroute leading to flow control (speed) or routing changes for a longer flight.

It looks like the longest flight slowed down and zig/zagged around Texas before landing.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/B...151Z/KMSP/KIAH - click on 'track log' to see details if you wish.

Since it is an early am departure the plane will be on the ground overnight. If MSP weather is dry as forecast Tue night / Wed am then you have a very good chance of leaving quickly in the morning. Houston weather looks good for Wed as well.
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Dec 29th, 2008, 05:43 PM
  #9
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Wow! Some of you guys are really experts at this. I didn't even know one could find these things out about exactly how a flight has gone. I'd just been watching the Continental site. Thanks again.
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