Thursday, 30 September 2010

Reasons for a Flight Delay

有没有再准一点...when I was flying like 10 flights a month as a stewardess, I've hardly encountered flight delays. Not that they don't happen. In adverse weather conditions like when it was snowing, they had to de-snow or de-ice the wings before we can take off. You'd think it's normal for ice or snow to form on the wings cos the plane flies at such high altitutes and up there it's freezing cold right? Wrong. The plane flies above the clouds so that it is not at risk of frost accumulation during flight. And it is not the weight of the ice/snow which causes the problems, but the surface roughness caused by accumulation of these things. You only need roughness of a fine emery board to destroy the aerodynamics of a plane. Particles of frost or ice as fine as a grain of table salt and distributed as sparsely as one per cm square over an aircraft wing’s upper surface can destroy enough lift to actually prevent it taking off. Scary? I think so.

 De-icing can delay a flight by 2 hours.
But we all know that neither Penang nor Singapore the problem is not this la...

So I've decided to see what kind of reasons I could think of, or have heard of, from other cabin crew...

  • Passenger checked in cargo bag, but that particular passenger did not board the flight.
Now. In aircraft security terms, this is as good as someone possibly planting a blomb onboard. They MUST make sure that when the aircraft door closes, all passengers who have checked in their cargo bags are on board. If not, they will manually go to the cargo hold, and offload THAT particular bag. And this takes time.

  •  Weather conditions which make visibility very bad for the pilots. 
Haze? Fog? Very heavy rain? They cannot see clearly, they better not fly. I'd rather keep my life and be late, thank you.

  • Loose animals.
I remember this ridiculous incident this crew told me. On one flight, this passenger had her cat checked into the cargo hold. (If you're transporting animals, they go into the cargo hold. I didn't mean that she locked her cat up in her lugagge by accident.) She kept asking the crew to check with the security staff if her cat's in the cargo hold and if she's safe. After much pleading (and possibly causing distress in other passengers), they let her go down physically to the cargo hold to see her cat. Now this woman had to be so damn itchy-handed that she had to open the cage for god-knows-what-reason (Let her cat stretch? Air her cat? WHAT?), the cat sped out of the cage and got lost. We cannot afford to let the cat kide itself in the wheels or something and cause an air crash can we? Letting a cat run loose on the tarmac is just as hazardous (to the planes. The lives of more than 200 passengers more important? Or one cat's?). So there was a few hours' delay while safety and security crew tried to find the cat.  -.-"

  • The airport is too busy. 
I remember in New York's JKF Airport, there are too many planes wanting to take off/ land, and not enough runways to cater to the high traffic. So the planes gotta queue up to take off. And land. So if u find your plane circulating and going round and round up in the air, they're just waiting for instructions telling them they can (finally) land.

  • Pilots overslept.
You can't fly with just 1 pilot. As with all commercial flights. I don't know about the budget airlines' small planes. But I remember there's always 2. Just in case. And if any one of them, for some reason (clubbing???) overslept and reported late for work, everyone is held up lor. Unless the airline can suddenly activate another pilot to come fly the plane. They damn dua liap hor.

  • They found something wrong with the plane. 
Once, during very bad snowy weather, I had to fly a Milan-Barcelona-Milan shuttle. And the snow only got worse upon landing in Barcelona. So much so that we had to wait until the weather is better before we can fly. Then they still have to desnow the wings leh. Okay that took like 2 hours. Then just before we were ready to fly, it was detected that there was something wrong with the brakes. Either that or the brakes broke or something (they wouldn't disclose it), and they had to change that particular part. Worst part was - that part was not available in Barcelona, so they had to wait for that part to be flown in from somewhere else. Close to 6 hours' delay.... That was madness...

The crew had fun on the plane was a 777-300ER plane, and the interior was woot chio!!!! So the crew,while waiting, took plenty of pictures which we would otherwise have had no chance or time to take. We board, prepare the aircraft, board pasengers, work, say bye to passengers, handover the aircraft, and out we go. There's hardly time to do things like hip xiong without someone giving you dirty looks....

I still don't know why my plane was delayed. Hopefully they'll let us know then I'll share with you guys.
Got a thousand other reasons la...but I need to go board my plane (if it's here). Share with you all these interesting flight details another time k? =D



  1. Great to know that you reach penang safely. See u soon

  2. What flight company is that? Don't tell me is Airasia hahaha.

  3. 如果改天飞机一再延迟,谁要博一下?

    农民‘包’客机狮城返江苏 16空姐伺候1人