So flight to Chicago touches down, and there's a plane occupying our gate. Mechanical problems; hey, it happens. Scheduling thousands of flights is a lot harder than it sounds, when you can't program in 20% overcapacity. Overcapacity costs, and none of the airlines can afford that, with folks like me flying cross country for $200.
So we wait while they try to get another gate. And wait. No extra capacity. Like I said, this sort of thing happens, and I put my Big Boy trousers on this morning.
But riddle me this, Batman: why the communications breakdown - the one so bad that the pilot came on the PA to appologize for the fact that while the other plane had been fixed and had indeed departed the gate, there was no ground crew and so we had to wait some more. He said that he had exhausted the radio comms options, and had no idea when we'd actually park the plane.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Who's directing traffic? Who's organizing the pipeline? You reduce overcapacity by better organization of resources, and you organize by better sharing and using information. The fact that the pilot spilled the beans speaks to a very high frustration level, which says this happens a lot.
Corroborating data: I asked the gate attendent where my flight to Albuquerque was departing from. Gate K11, she said. Being late, late, late I hoofed it PDQ to Gate 11. The monitor said the flight was heading to Miami. Back to Gate Agent, who explained rather curtly that the Miami flight was delayed, but that was indeed my gate.
So why didn't she tell me that in the first place? Why didn't the monitor display "Albuquerque delayed"? Why couldn't the pilot find out when the ground crew would be there?
It's the Information Age, people. We're living in the future. Please make a note of it. Kthanxbai.
Sigh. Now the Miami passengers are looking for their gate, which has changed. The monitor doesn't say where. Communication, people - it's not just a good idea.