Hey everybody, all is well here at AirTran Airways. The company has brought back all of our pilots who were on furlough and they are all back flying the line. We are expanding to several new cities such as Cancun, Knoxville, Atlantic City and Branson to name a few. AirTran was number one for the second year in a row in the airline quality survey and best of all we are making a profit.
When your base is Atlanta delays are a common thing when the weather hits. A few days ago we had a ground stop holding us on the ground in West Palm Beach as we were trying to depart to Atlanta. We told the passengers that the delay was caused by weather in Atlanta. A few minutes later we had a passenger come up and say that she called her sister in Atlanta and that the sun was shining brightly with no clouds. Remember, all people need is an explanation and very few know how the system works
I showed her a radar summary of the Atlanta area and explained to her that we have arrival routes that we fly into Atlanta. There are arrivals from all four corners surrounding Atlanta and the thunderstorms that are causing our delay were 80 miles SE of Atlanta and they were over one of our arrivals so we could not use it. I asked her what would happen if she were in a car on a busy four lane highway and they closed one of the lanes so you had to merge into three lanes? Traffic would slow down and begin to back up. That same thing happens to airplanes but we do not have the luxury to wait it out in the air because we are time limited by the amount of fuel we can carry. So air traffic control deals with the planes that are already in the air first, and does not let anyone on the ground take off until they work out a landing slot for that aircraft. After we have that landing slot we can estimate a departure time.
Delays happen occasionally because of weather or maintenance and people get frustrated. Make it a point to make yourself available to your passengers and give them as much info as possible. I have found over the years that it means a lot to the passengers and they become much less aggravated with the situation.
Until next time, be safe out there and more importantly BE SMART.