Blame It on the Ramp?

Art at ISP

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
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Dix Hills NY
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Yesterday I had an interesting experience which I would like to share with my friends here. I was on a flight from MIA to PHL. After a slightly delayed departure from MIA, we arrived in PHL ahead of schedule, and we were told we'd be arriving at B-9. The airplane was guided instead to B-11 (I think these changes always happen on B concourse), and it was stopped and chocked about 30 feet short of the actual gate!!!. The captain, who had already begun to pack up and move, then had to return to his seat, and they had to have a tug pull us up the final distance so the jetway could be brought up.

The flight attendant just shook his head, and told me this was due to the fact that ramp workers rather than mechanics were now responsible for marshalling and guiding aircraft at the gates. I raise this point not to complain but to ask if this is in fact the case, weren't the ramp people properly trained in marhalling? There appear to be markings for the nosewheel of each aircraft type on the ground and these B gates appear to be used mostly for 757/767 types anyway. This incident resulted in nothing more than an additional 5 minutes on board, but I wonder if something else could have happened with an untrained marshalling crew; were safety concerns properly addressed in training?

The flight itself was also a bit unusual as I was the only revenue passenger in the F Cabin of a 757, and had the F/A's undivided attention during the flight--the only other person up front was a deadheading captain.

Other than the gate arrival, another great job by US--I never needed that survey to tell me you folks are the best in the business!

Thanks and best wishes to all for a happy holiday!
 

Atlantic

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Sep 2, 2002
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Hi Art,
I don''t know what happened with your flight. Maybe there was carts, bag loaders,etc. in the way before the a/c could reach the proper hash mark. If that was the case, he did the right thing. He stoped the a/c. I don''t know why the C/O got out of his seat. In PHL, no matter what a/c we fly, we all know, by just looking outside, pretty much where we should be to have the jetway pull up.
In the last 3 or so weeks, the rampers have been doing a great job. I had no problems at all. No waiting at all to be led in. It''s a shame it''s taken this long.
Happy flying.
 

a320av8r

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
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There are several spots painted on the ramp. Each spot is where the nose wheel for an aircraft type is to stop so that the Jetway will line up with the entry door. If the ramp agent was new to parking the aircraft he/she may have parked the aircraft on the wrong line. This is embarassing at most, not dangerous. I''m sure that it takes a very short time before everybody is up to speed. I have not had any problems whatsoever and, indeed, have not yet had to wait for a park or pushcrew since the agents have taken over the receipt/dispatch functions.
 

gilbertguy

Senior
Aug 29, 2002
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On 4/17/2003 9:32:12 AM Atlantic wrote:

Hi Art,
I don''t know what happened with your flight. Maybe there was carts, bag loaders,etc. in the way before the a/c could reach the proper hash mark. If that was the case, he did the right thing. He stoped the a/c. I don''t know why the C/O got out of his seat. In PHL, no matter what a/c we fly, we all know, by just looking outside, pretty much where we should be to have the jetway pull up.
In the last 3 or so weeks, the rampers have been doing a great job. I had no problems at all. No waiting at all to be led in. It''s a shame it''s taken this long.
Happy flying.

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I have to agree....many pilots are very good at parking and some can get up to that jetway without hand signals.....equipment in the way is a possible cause.
 

delldude

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Oct 29, 2002
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Downrange
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On 4/17/2003 9:24:04 AM Twinotter wrote:

It use to happen when the Mechanics were parking the Aircraft also.....

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i find this shocking and hard to believe.
 
OP
A

Art at ISP

Veteran
Aug 20, 2002
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Dix Hills NY
www.ffocus.org
Thanks for the responses. I do not think this was due to equipment being in the way--this has happened before and we just wait for the equipment to be moved. This airplane was blocked and chocked in this incorrect position.

What I found unusual was not that it happened, but that the personnel on board made it sound like it was completely due to the change in job assignments and improper training. They were clearly annoyed.

I also note that gate assignments change very frequently between B-9 and B-15. Lately I almost always wind up at a gate other than the one originally disclosed.

Anyway, on to the next trip--keep up the great work folks!!
 

Hope777

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Aug 19, 2002
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I was not there so it would just be a guess. But, the agent could have messed up and parked the aircraft on the wrong line or the jetway was not placed properly in the safety zone so the ramp agent thought the aircraft may be in danger and stopped it. Or, it could have been a shut down tow in gate due to construction or activity behind the aircraft. Many things could have been a factor but one thing for sure, the Flight Attendant should learn to keep his mouth shut. We dont complain when they only make one beverage service or just sit in the jumpseat reading a paper.
 

pitguy

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Aug 21, 2002
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Sounds like nature of the beast and sometimes an error may happen.

--I don''t know how much the company will save though since a ramp worker only makes about $5 and hour less than a fully licensed Mechanic. One would think there would be more of a pay spread between the two positions than $10k a year.
 

Atlantic

Senior
Sep 2, 2002
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Gil,
Don''t get me wrong. In the cockpit, I can''t tell when i''m balls dead on on the hash. On my a/c, the nose wheel is 20 ft. down and 10 ft. behind me. We all need someone to tell us when the nose wheel is on the hash. No matter what a/c.What I was trying to say is that if i''m stoped 10 or 15 ft. short, just by looking out the windscreen, I know i''m not there yet.
 

justanadd

Advanced
Jan 20, 2003
211
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On 4/17/2003 12:45:02 PM Hope777 wrote:

the Flight Attendant should learn to keep his mouth shut. We dont complain when they only make one beverage service or just sit in the jumpseat reading a paper.

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Maybe that flight attendant just couldn''t think of anything else to say? While I agree a simple apology would be better, I think "keep his mouth shut" is a little harsh. I know even when your early a delay at the gate irrates a lot of passengers. Not everyone is as nice as Art. Usually it only happens when the flight is already late with lots tight connections, now thats embarassing!