USAirways "Operational Disruptions"

Dec 25th, 2004, 08:39 PM
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USAirways "Operational Disruptions"

From the USAirways website:


"We sincerely apologize for the operational disruptions that have impacted holiday travel. Our efforts to recover from the severe weather on Thursday were complicated when some of our employees chose to call in sick at record numbers over the weekend. We are embarrassed by the situation, especially given the holidays and how important travel is to our customers at this time of the year.

We're addressing this by operating extra flights to transport customer's baggage to Charlotte where we have additional staff. We have also deployed additional managers to Philadelphia to handle baggage, and qualified managers are working as Flight Attendants. Other frontline employees are volunteering to work on their day off to help resolve our staffing issues.

Please be advised that our call centers are experiencing long waits for customers to get through, especially regarding baggage. Customers will be contacted by our delivery companies once they have the customer's bags in hand, to coordinate delivery.

We have kept officials at the Transportation Department briefed regarding the situation and our efforts to help our customers."

This is interesting in the light of an article in our local newspaper on Friday which reported that reservations and gate agents at the airline approved a new contract that included paycuts. The article said that the cuts would provide some of the relief the airline says it needs in order to avoid imminent liquidation. Ratification of the contract was said to be very important to the airline's future in that it demonstrates the ability to work collaboratively with its employees toward common goals and solutions. Seems as if the airline's optimism was short-lived!
Betsy is online now  
Dec 25th, 2004, 08:46 PM
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I gave up on US Airways in September of 2003 after a badly botched trip to Ireland that took us a full day plus longer than expected.

We got shafted not only going over, but also coming back trying to connect out of Charlotte. Two commuter flights in a row, one in the evening and one the following morning were cancelled. The first one was for "weather" reasons so that we had to pay our own lodging at non discounted rates. The next morning the flight was cancelled for flimsy reasons.

I flew US Airways last year mainly to clear my account of frequent flier miles. I had them, so spend them before they went in the tank.

After this display of confusion and mismanagement, US Airways needs to call it quits and let another airline fill the gaps. A better business model to the rescue in the guise of another company.

I guess the people calling in sick don't need a job.
brookwood is offline  
Dec 25th, 2004, 09:40 PM
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I've never flown US Air and never will. This latest fiasco is just another reason why they've been on my list. Primarily, their safety record is the main reason.
rj007 is offline  
Dec 25th, 2004, 10:55 PM
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Although I am upset with USAirways and the way they are handling their financial difficulties, I am uncertain as to why you, rj007, cite their safety record as a cause for concern. It is an understatement to say that the crash in 9/94 was terrible, but statistically speaking, the airline ranks very well in terms of safety. I checked it out online before I responded to this post based merely upon my memory.
Grandmere1 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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"Operational Disruptions" is a euphemism for "job action." The employees of USAir might want to consult with those of another airline to see whether extortion is a valid strategy.

The carrier I have in mind is Eastern Airlines.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 12:41 PM
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I am so tired of these attacks on US Airways. There are many good things about this struggling airline. To pick something that's relevant to this board, if you're flying to Paris on a U.S. flag carrier, would you prefer a brand-new A330 -- or a 15-year-old 767 or, worse yet, a 30-year-old DC-10? Though old planes are subject to rigorous maintenance and are quite safe (well, I'd hesitate on the DC-10/MD-11 because it had serious design flaws), there's a definite difference in comfort. US Airways has a great transatlantic fleet.

According to FAA data, US Airways' domestic baggage handling performance is average, with about 4 lost luggage reports per 1000 passengers in the December, 2004 report (covers October, 2004). The best of the majors was just below 3 and the worst, just below 5.

The claim that US Airways differs significantly from any similar U.S. flag carrier in terms of safety is questionable. (Here, similar means long-standing, and with intercontinental operations.) For accident rates, see . (Of course, there are other measures of safety, such as incident reports.)

Let us hope that US Airways can iron out its labor-related and financial problems. The airline has a great fleet, and until a year or two ago, used to have great last-minute winter specials to Europe. I remember fares of $300-$400 from the US West Coast, including taxes and fees.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson
Santa Cruz, California, USA
marcelin is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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I'll take the 767. You've already covered the DC-10, and the Airbus's fly-by-wire system scares the bejeezus out of me.

It is an axiom of systems science that when systems reach a certain level of complexity, they manifest behaviors that their designers cannot anticipate. I don't like any airplane that interposes software between the pilot and the control surfaces.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Actually, we fly 777's from DFW.
The USAir's crowd - union members all -have only accelerated the date of their final paycheck.
mikemo is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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I agree with Robie. Not only can the engineers not predict all data mixes and usage loads that will cause problems, but any one who has worked with computers knows that re-creating precisely the conditions that caused a failure is very, very difficult if not impossible.

Systems can fail, and no one ever knows why. If you cannot reproduce the problem, you cannot analyze what caused it to start with.

I once wrote a program that stayed in use, with modifications, for six years. One day in the 5th year, the right combination of the wrong data triggered a wild assed result.

The situation was somewhat amusing because the result did not get off my desk. I reviewed the source code and found the condition. I was lucky because the results were captured in print, and I knew the inputs.

Unfortunately and all too often the precise timing inputs are unknown and the results are disasterous to outside users.

A unit of software can be 99.999% correct but that .001% of error can cause a disaster. Totally bug free software that really does anything is not in common supply because extensive, exhaustive testing does not necessarily test every last possible eventuality.
Those grow at wildly exponential rates with each line of code.

If profit margins were not so difficult to come by, perhaps some of the recent trouble could have been more quickly corrected had redundant systems running in parallel been in existence. But those cost money, too.

I feel for US Airways. I have flown that line more miles than all the others combined. But I am not willing now to go out and buy a ticket to fly one of its planes when past experience tells me I am buying trouble. A burnt child is afraid of the fire!!

brookwood is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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It seems that a lot of US Air passengers had a ruined Christmas and I feel quite sorry for them. Not to mention people who were traveling for weddings and funerals.
The luggage handlers should be ashamed of themselves, and so should management.
elaine is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 04:53 PM
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I agree with Marcelin, where are all the bashers in regards to Comair canceling over a thousand flights this weekend?????

I fly over 100 times a year with US Air and prefer them over most.

To the union members who were "sick" this weekend, GO FIND ANOTHER JOB IF YOU DON"T LIKE YOURS......
steve is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Er, Comair had a computer fiasco. USAir is being dismantled by its people.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 26th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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In addition to the 1994 crash, there were crashes in 1991,1992 and 2003. That is the point I was making, in that I remember several crashes - it seemed to me I was hearing US Air on the news for these sad events. Of course, there are thousands of flights everyday and this is an extremely minute amount. And I hope US Air survives its current financial difficulties.
rj007 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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I used to work for a major airline and my experience is most of the employees DON'T want to work. They know how to play the system and have the union to back them so it's almost impossible to let anyone go. I worked customer service one summer when the pilots refused to work any overtime and caused major cancellations. It was a nightmare for us and the passengers.
jlillberto is offline  

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