Delta Fiasco

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Jul 13, 2018
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#1
I'm not sure you can help. We had the worst experience and no resolution. Last month we flew from Boise, Idaho back to Las Vegas, NV. There was no direct flight so we had a connecting flight back through Salt Lake City. My Husband and I are both disabled, but he requires a wheelchair. We requested one but , but we waited 45 minutes to get one, fortunately we were early. We were waiting and but we did not see a plane, they finally told us there was a delay due to a maintenance issue, and would be there as soon as possible. another 45 or 50 minutes later we boarded the plane. They said we will get it in the air as soon as possible and rushed everyone on the plane. Had I known they did not have time to fully fuel the plane, I never would have gotten on that plane.
The maintenance issue caused the staff to rush the plane which did not leave the plane time to fully fuel. This resulted in the plan diverting to Pocatello, ID to refuel which caused another hour delay, then we circled a bit until we could land in Salt Lake due to the residual bad weather that passed through, but our flight had left before we started our diversion and we were promised on the plane by the captain that we would be put in a hotel, he acknowledged it was Deltas fault. When we landed no one wanted to follow through with things, not only was there another 30 minute delay waiting on a wheelchair, we went to the service counter and were told that they were blaming the issue on the bad weather so therefore we had to pay for a hotel or sleep on the floor. There was no access to food because the airport closes at 11 pm in this area. Our medication was inaccessible. We had to lie on the floor for 10 hours. We finally got home after that but I tell you was the worst thing. They offered us a $100 voucher but I don't think that is adequate, seeing how my husband is unable to travel anymore due to his deteriorating health. They said they would look into the issue, but that was 2 months ago.
 
Jul 13, 2018
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#3
https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/
Read the information carefully about how to write to companies.
Then use that to write to Delta. Your first question will have to be why the flight was canceled because if it truly was weather, they don't owe you a hotel.


https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/delta-airlines/
It wasn't weather related. It was because the plane had mantenance issues. We were late lea ing, they rushedbirding, didnt fuel upproperly, had to have a detour in another city. To refuel, that cause us to miss our flight. Then we flew into some rain, and because of that they blamed it on the weather... but the original problem was as a result of them.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
Many people refer to their travel problems as a fiasco, but yours definitely was. I think you have a good chance of compensation by writing to Delta, as my colleagues advise. The incorrect fueling of the plane caused all the rest of the problems. Be concise and polite, state the facts without emotion. The person reading your letter did not cause your problem and is in a position to help you. Your job is to make that person want to help you. Wheelchairs are furnished by the airport itself, Delta can only request them. Mention the disability, but only as one of the facts. These people read every single excuse in the book every day, and you need to come across as businesslike and clear. Often a list of the facts is more effective than a narrative. If you want to post your email here, we'll be glad to review it before you send it to Delta.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#6
Pocatello is only 190 miles from Boise, while Salt Lake City is only 290 miles from Boise. That's a difference of only about 15 minutes of flying time. If there really was a fueling mistake, it seems highly unlikely that they fueled just enough to get to Pocatello + a reserve, but not to get to SLC + a reserve. Given that you said there was weather in Salt Lake City, what seems much more likely is that they fueled enough for Boise-SLC, but not enough for a very extended holding pattern around SLC to wait for a landing, and hence had to divert to Pocatello because of weather.
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#7
@Losharpers I'm a student pilot. I ran some quick numbers on your trip.

Did someone specifically say they didn't fuel the plane correctly or are you assuming they didn't fuel the plane because you had to divert?
In order to take off, a commercial airliner has some specific fuel targets they have to meet. They have to have enough fuel on board to fly to their intended destination, attempt to land, fly to their closest divert airport and still have 45 min of fuel in tanks. Considering that your flight was only 45 min ish (310 nm @ 470 knots), I doubt they took off with not enough fuel. That mistake would be a FAA report someone looks for a new job mistake.

Based on what you discussed about weather, its more probable that when they contacted SLC they were going to placed in an extended hold due to the weather. Once they completed those calculations, the pilots weren't happy with where they were going to be fuel wise.

As another note, very rarely do planes fly with full tanks. Fuel is heavy (approx 6.8 lb/ gallon). Most pilots calculate their required fuel (not the FAA standard but something like a hold plus a couple attempts and then a divert with a fudge factor) and then only carry the amount. Its cheaper for everyone.

Short answer is that I honestly believe it was probably weather-related that caused the divert.

The answer on compensation is then... Would you have made your flight if the weather delay hadn't happened even if with the maintenance issue? If the answer is "yes," the delay is weather based. If "no," it's maintenance based. Without knowing the exact timing of all your flights, its hard to say.

Good Luck

EDIT: So everyone's clear (I just realized that my statement could be read a different way)... Pilots carry more fuel than the FAA requires.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#8
@Losharpers I'm a student pilot. I ran some quick numbers on your trip.

Did someone specifically say they didn't fuel the plane correctly or are you assuming they didn't fuel the plane because you had to divert?
In order to take off, a commercial airliner has some specific fuel targets they have to meet. They have to have enough fuel on board to fly to their intended destination, attempt to land, fly to their closest divert airport and still have 45 min of fuel in tanks. Considering that your flight was only 45 min ish (310 nm @ 470 knots), I doubt they took off with not enough fuel. That mistake would be a FAA report someone looks for a new job mistake.

Based on what you discussed about weather, its more probable that when they contacted SLC they were going to placed in an extended hold due to the weather. Once they completed those calculations, the pilots weren't happy with where they were going to be fuel wise.

As another note, very rarely do planes fly with full tanks. Fuel is heavy (approx 6.8 lb/ gallon). Most pilots calculate their required fuel (not the FAA standard but something like a hold plus a couple attempts and then a divert with a fudge factor) and then only carry the amount. Its cheaper for everyone.

Short answer is that I honestly believe it was probably weather-related that caused the divert.

The answer on compensation is then... Would you have made your flight if the weather delay hadn't happened even if with the maintenance issue? If the answer is "yes," the delay is weather based. If "no," it's maintenance based. Without knowing the exact timing of all your flights, its hard to say.

Good Luck
Thats is exactly what I think happened. It has happened to me flying into NY and being diverted from landing. We had to land in Atlantic City once to refuel because we were held up in a holding pattern too long and were close to running out of fuel.
 
Likes: Just A Guy
Jul 13, 2018
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#9
Do you think the pilot spent more fuel because he was trying to make up for lost time fluing faster and burned up quite a bit of fuel doing so? In doing so needed to refuel
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#10
Do you think the pilot spent more fuel because he was trying to make up for lost time fluing faster and burned up quite a bit of fuel doing so? In doing so needed to refuel
If we're talking about a 4 or 5 hour flight, maybe. In your case, probably not. Pilots look at performance profiles when you look at fuel burn (its why I couldn't actually do the specific calcs for your plane). Climb out is one, followed by cruise and decent. In your case, he probably wasn't much into cruise (when he could make up time) before making the divert decision. There just wasn't enough time for him to burn up the fuel.

Think about it like your car... You burn gas at a certain MPG getting to the interstate, another MPG on the interstate and a third from the interstate. If it never takes more than 1/2 a tank to get to Molly's house and you have to get off to get gas almost right away, it could be that you didn't start with enough or that you went faster than normal or you heard something on the radio about the road ahead. So, if Molly's is only 45 minutes away and you're going to spend 10 min getting to the interstate and 10 min going from the interstate to Molly's, the odds are you can't go fast enough on the interstate to burn enough fuel to have to stop that quickly. If you have a boss that can check your fuel level before you left, odds are that you didn't leave with too little. So, the most probable answer is that something was happening ahead (think about an accident that has the interstate closed in winter where you don't want to run out of gas and can't turn off your car).

Now on a long trip, wind direction and strength can significantly effect fuel burn in addition to throttle position. If its from an unforecast direction or stronger that forecast, you can quickly end up on the wrong side of the fuel curve but that normally is on flights lasting hours (I've been on intercontinental flights that had to stop at Gander due to unexpected winds over the Atlantic).
 
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Jul 27, 2016
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#11
Do you think the pilot spent more fuel because he was trying to make up for lost time fluing faster and burned up quite a bit of fuel doing so? In doing so needed to refuel
How long was the flight from Boise to Pocatello?

Looking at the Delta options BOI-SLC-LAS, the last SLC-LAS flight is 845PM, so to miss that by quite a bit, you'd have either been on the 6:27PM BOI-SLC or 3:25PM BOI-SLC flight. The former is an hour connection in SLC, so you would have missed that, even without the diversion. Given that you're talking about being in the SLC airport after 11PM, I presume the 6:27PM is the flight you were scheduled on, since otherwise you would have, even with a three hour delay, made it to SLC in time to catch the flight to LAS.

That's actually good for you, since (assuming you were on that flight), you can argue that the diversion (for whatever reason) isn't relevant, since the late departure, which was due to a maintenance issue, meant you were going to miss your connection anyway.

Assuming I'm right about your flights, that's what I would focus on - your flight from BOI-SLC was delayed for a maintenance issue, so you couldn't have made your connection, even if there hadn't been a weather issue.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#12
Do you think the pilot spent more fuel because he was trying to make up for lost time fluing faster and burned up quite a bit of fuel doing so? In doing so needed to refuel
So you are guessing at why you had to refuel - you don't really know what you originally claimed as fact? They would not use up that much more fuel flying fasterf. It is more likely that you were circling and couldn't land and thats why they had to refuel.
 
Likes: Just A Guy
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
Do you think the pilot spent more fuel because he was trying to make up for lost time fluing faster and burned up quite a bit of fuel doing so? In doing so needed to refuel
Was this a flight in late May? It would be helpful to have the flight numbers and dates.

If this was the May 21 the airplane was forced to circle around from looking at historical flight date, and there was no unusual speed, it was air traffic control.
The flight tracking looks as if the plane got close to Salt Lake City but was put into a circling pattern and then flew to Pocatello to refuel.

Also if this was the 21st the connecting flight to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City was also delayed on the outbound, about 40 some minutes because of weather, so had it just been the mechanical delay you would have made the connection.

It looks as if Air Traffic Control did not allow the flight on the 21st to land because of congestion owing to weather.

If it was the flight on the 21st it looks as if weather was really the problem. If not that flight then let us know so we can research.