MSE News: Planes or trains hit by cold snap? Know your rights

"With forecasters warning of major travel disruption to the big freeze, will you get your money back? ..."
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  • edited 22 January 2013 at 4:02AM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
    1.7K Posts
    edited 22 January 2013 at 4:02AM
    Checked out the view from Stansted.

    Noticed a bunch of delays and cancellations on Ryanair's site some labelled "ATC Delay" and some labelled "awaiting de-icing", and some due to adverse weather.

    The main rumour circulating by those who phoned to find out, and indeed as told by at least one captain to a plane load of delayed passengers was "We had some heavy snow in Stansted which seems to get handled at some airports, but caused us some problems for one reason or another." He went on to speak about the long queues for de-icing before they could leave Stansted.

    The Ryanair website says "Stansted Airport is open, but there are delays due to aircraft deicing and there may be further cancellations."

    Noticeable at Stansted the snow was so deep you could only see the top of the blades of cut grass - but it surely must have been 10cm deep in places :p Both main cargo aprons and the aprons for satellite terminals 1, 2 and 3 were completely clear and wet, around a dozen spare Ryanair planes were parked up in hibernation for the low season, there was a fleet of Stansted airport green John Deere tractors with ploughs and brushes busying themselves around the edges of the apron, and there were two, just two, Ryanair branded de-icing trucks.

    I reckon it takes around 10 minutes minimum to de-ice/anti-ice a 737-800 and move on to the next.

    Separate from delayed flights, today Ryanair cancelled these four Stansted outbounds "due to adverse weather conditions":

    FR611 London Stansted Derry
    FR205 London Stansted Dublin
    FR807 London Stansted Knock Ireland West
    FR103 London Stansted Shannon

    If we conservatively guess the number of Ryanair flights scheduled to leave Stansted each weekday morning between 0600 and 0800 at around 20*, then 20 times 10 minutes divided by 2 de-icing trucks (which allows no time for them to refill) equals 100 minutes which you can imagine might quickly lead to a 2 hour delay if it isn't organised like clockwork. A 2 hour delay as was typical today of course is not an potentially expensive 3 hour plus delay or am I being a tad too cynical? :p

    Ryanair is Stansted's biggest airline customer by far. It promotes itself as Europes lowest fares airline.

    Now - what does all indicate to us about the real reason for the "adverse weather" cancellations and delay at Stansted in recent days ?

    As a routine necessity in aircraft operations, aircraft de-icing and anti-icing is as mandatory (by law) in certain weather and temperature conditions as weight and balance and fuel load adjustments may be to comply with wet and no wind runways. So it should be managed.

    It is not good enough to say "well normally on a cold foggy morning (but no visible snow) there is not so much of a call for deicing/anti-icing, but we had snow. We keep enough de-icing equipment for "normal" operations." That might lead to more questions. Oh! So on "normal" mornings, do some aircraft ask for de-icing, but many go without? Same aircraft types? Leaving the same airport? That might be a very interesting topic to analyse.

    Weather is what gets Ryanair to its destinations faster than scheduled on some days and for less fuel expense. Weather is what aircraft fly in and take advantage of when they can. So what is "adverse" weather? I think it is nothing but an excuse artist's hindsight when, after all is said and done, you can still see the blades of grass on the finely manicured green bits of the airport :rotfl:

    * Edit: Here you go: actually it's 27 Ryanair flights by 0800 tomorrow morning, all of which will probably need de-icing - by how many de-icing rigs did we say we reckon they have on these ?? ...

    06:05 FR194 BOLOGNA SCHEDULED
    06:05 FR2644 RIGA SCHEDULED
    06:05 FR4966 LAMEZIA TERME SCHEDULED
    06:10 FR2432 KRAKOW SCHEDULED
    06:10 FR8321 VALENCIA SCHEDULED
    06:15 FR2314 BRATISLAVA SCHEDULED
    06:15 FR3002 ROME CIAMPINO SCHEDULED
    06:20 FR522 LOURDES SCHEDULED
    06:20 FR8542 BERLIN SCHONEFE SCHEDULED
    06:25 FR4184 MILAN BERGAMO SCHEDULED
    06:30 FR1836 PLOVDIV SCHEDULED
    06:30 FR205 DUBLIN SCHEDULED
    06:45 FR1021 WARSAW SCHEDULED
    06:45 FR2372 GDANSK SCHEDULED
    06:50 FR3632 BREMEN SCHEDULED
    06:50 FR964 GOTHENBURG CITY SCHEDULED
    06:55 FR9271 EINDHOVEN SCHEDULED
    07:00 FR1903 LINZ SCHEDULED
    07:00 FR2336 POZNAN SCHEDULED
    07:00 FR2466 SZCZECIN SCHEDULED
    07:00 FR468 TURIN SCHEDULED
    07:00 FR8853 MALTA SCHEDULED
    07:20 FR754 FRANKFURT HAHN SCHEDULED
    07:25 FR3252 DUSSELDORF WEEZ SCHEDULED
    07:30 FR8288 ARRECIFE SCHEDULED
    07:30 FR8739 MAASTRICHT SCHEDULED
    07:50 FR8768 KATOWICE SCHEDULED

    These are all taken from Stansted Airport's website as at 2130 on the evening of 21st January, yet at 0257 on the morning of the flights, Ryanair, the biggest airline in Europe are for some reason hedging their bets by publishing no "Live Flight Information" whatever on any of their flights in Europe beyond those leaving at 0645 which is now less than four hours away ??? If you try to search for a flight after that time then Ryanair will give you "NO RESULTS". Well that is not strictly correct - they give details currently of just one beyond 0645 - one for the evening of the 22nd:
    21:50 FR 6376 Barcelona El Prat - Tenerife Sth

    So what are they playing at? At the moment they are basically chancing their arm suggesting they can get half of the flights between 0600 and 0800 away "ON TIME". Let's see how they do later.

    Maybe the current Weather report for Stansted has made them wonder whether 2 de-icing trucks will be enough again this morning (22nd):

    Report Time : 2013-01-22 02:20:00
    Phenomena: Freezing Fog
    Clouds: N/A
    Expected CloudBase > 400 ft AGL from Temp-Dew spread
    Ceiling None
    Temp -7°C (ISA -21)
    Dew Point -8°C (93% RH)
    AAT -10.6°C
  • So, here we are at 0900 on 22nd ... how are Ryanair doing at Stansted according to their own website? Well:

    06:05 FR 194 London Stansted - Bologna 09:10 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 09:25
    06:05 FR 2644 London Stansted - Riga 10:40 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:55
    06:05 FR 4966 London Stansted - Lamezia 10:05 ON TIME
    06:10 FR 1271 Barcelona El Prat - Asturias 07:45 ON TIME
    06:10 FR 2432 London Stansted - Krakow 09:35 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:00
    06:10 FR 8321 London Stansted - Valencia 09:35 ON TIME
    06:15 FR 2314 London Stansted - Bratislava 09:25 ON TIME
    06:15 FR 3002 London Stansted - Rome Campino 09:45 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:10
    06:20 FR 522 London Stansted - Lourdes 09:15 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 09:45
    06:20 FR 8542 London Stansted - Berlin Schonefeld 09:05 ON TIME
    06:25 FR 4184 London Stansted - Milan Bergamo 09:25 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 09:45
    06:30 FR 205 London Stansted - Dublin 07:50 ON TIME
    06:30 FR 1836 London Stansted - Plovdiv 11:50 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 12:15
    06:45 FR 2372 London Stansted - Gdansk 09:55 ON TIME
    06:45 FR 1021 London Stansted - 10:00 ON TIME
    06:50 FR 3632 London Stansted - Bremen 09:10 ON TIME
    06:50 FR 964 London Stansted - Gothenburg City 09:45 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:00
    06:55 FR 9271 London Stansted - Eindhoven 09:00 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 1903 London Stansted - Linz 10:00 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 8853 London Stansted - Malta 11:20 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 2336 London Stansted - Poznan 10:05 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 2466 London Stansted - Szczecin 09:50 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 468 London Stansted - Turin 10:00 ON TIME
    07:20 FR 754 London Stansted - Frankfurt Hahn 09:40 DELAY
    atc delay eta 10:15
    07:25 FR 3252 London Stansted - Dusseldorf Weeze 09:35 ON TIME
    07:30 FR 8288 London Stansted - Lanzarote 11:45 ON TIME
    07:30 FR 8739 London Stansted - Maastricht 09:35 DELAY
    atc delay eta 10:35
    07:50 FR 8768 London Stansted - Katowice 11:00 DELAY
    atc delay eta 11:30

    You'll notice that "atc delay" has been sprinkled in there along with "de-icing" delay. I wonder if that means the aircraft simply missed their atc slot because they weren't ready because they hadn't been de-iced before the slot expired??
  • edited 22 January 2013 at 10:38AM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
    1.7K Posts
    edited 22 January 2013 at 10:38AM
    And stansted airport's own website as at 0905 gives more or less information based on your viewpoint (we might ask why the published 0600-0800 Ryanair (FR) flights seems to have dropped from 27 to 22) and I have left the (few) other airlines flights so you can see how they did against scheduled times:

    06:10 FR2432 KRAKOW AIRBORNE 0657
    06:15 FR3002 ROME CIAMPINO AIRBORNE 0655
    06:20 FR522 LOURDES AIRBORNE 0659
    06:20 FR8542 BERLIN SCHONEFE AIRBORNE 0652
    06:25 FR4184 MILAN BERGAMO AIRBORNE 0705
    06:30 FR1836 PLOVDIV AIRBORNE 0714
    06:30 FR205 DUBLIN AIRBORNE 0653
    06:45 FR1021 WARSAW AIRBORNE 0707
    06:45 FR2372 GDANSK AIRBORNE 0709
    06:50 FR3632 BREMEN AIRBORNE 0712
    06:50 FR964 GOTHENBURG CITY AIRBORNE 0721
    06:55 FR9271 EINDHOVEN AIRBORNE 0719
    07:00 EZY3001 AMSTERDAM AIRBORNE 0700
    07:00 FR1903 LINZ AIRBORNE 0734
    07:00 FR2336 POZNAN AIRBORNE 0716
    07:00 FR2466 SZCZECIN AIRBORNE 0726
    07:00 FR468 TURIN AIRBORNE 0738
    07:00 FR8853 MALTA AIRBORNE 0727
    07:15 EZY231 EDINBURGH AIRBORNE 0724
    07:20 FR754 FRANKFURT HAHN AIRBORNE 0813
    07:25 AB8893 DUSSELDORF AIRBORNE 0737
    07:25 FR3252 DUSSELDORF WEEZ AIRBORNE 0742
    07:30 FR8288 ARRECIFE AIRBORNE 0801
    07:30 FR8739 MAASTRICHT TAXIED


    Compare this list with the 0300 list and you will see that the first three flights seem to have been taken off the Stansted Airport site but are on the Ryanair site as follows:

    06:05 FR 194 London Stansted - Bologna 09:10 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 09:25
    06:05 FR 2644 London Stansted - Riga 10:40 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:55
    06:05 FR 4966 London Stansted - Lamezia 10:05 ON TIME

    Did they go or didn't they? I suppose if they did, and on a normal day then Stansted may have reason to drop them off the front of the list a couple of hours after they are airborne, but who knows?

    Remembering that the second time shown in each Ryanair line is the estimated arrival time at the destination, perhaps Ryanair didn't suffer (or create for themselves) long delays this morning on the early flights.

    Let's check again at 1000.

    My apologies for commandeering this thread with this Stansted experiment, but what we illustrate here is the typical start point of the trail when a customer asks himself "I seem to be delayed and others are too ... What are my rights?" on the day. The information available to the customer as the delay unfolds is just as shown here. Very little information is given by PA at the airport. Delayed passengers rely on websites and information boards.

    Typically you can find yourself delayed a couple of hours with no suggestion that you are owed a coffee or a sandwich (maybe you aren't?) and ultimately you'll be queueing like hungry and thirsty sheep or will otherwise have simply refreshed yourself at your own expense.
  • edited 22 January 2013 at 11:09AM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
    1.7K Posts
    edited 22 January 2013 at 11:09AM
    Here is the Ryanair website "Live Flight Info" at 0945 re: Stansted departures - I show it because the last one on the list seems to have changed from "atc delay" to "technical fault" over the past 45 minutes - it left the tarmac at Stansted at 0849 about 45 minutes late allowing for taxy time so I suppose it doesn't matter with a relatively short delay - but was it originally mistakenly reported as atc delay or ... ?:

    06:05 FR 194 London Stansted - Bologna 09:10 DELAY
    landed at 09:28
    06:05 FR 2644 London Stansted - Riga 10:40 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:55
    06:05 FR 4966 London Stansted - Lamezia 10:05 ON TIME
    06:10 FR 2432 London Stansted - Krakow 09:35 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:00
    06:10 FR 8321 London Stansted - Valencia 09:35 ON TIME
    06:15 FR 2314 London Stansted - Bratislava 09:25 ON TIME
    06:15 FR 3002 London Stansted - Rome Campino 09:45 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:10
    06:20 FR 522 London Stansted - Lourdes 09:15 DELAY
    landed at 09:35
    06:20 FR 8542 London Stansted - Berlin Schonefeld 09:05 ON TIME
    06:25 FR 4184 London Stansted - Milan Bergamo 09:25 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 09:45
    06:30 FR 205 London Stansted - Dublin 07:50 ON TIME
    06:30 FR 1836 London Stansted - Plovdiv 11:50 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 12:15
    06:45 FR 2372 London Stansted - Gdansk 09:55 ON TIME
    06:45 FR 1021 London Stansted - 10:00 ON TIME
    06:50 FR 3632 London Stansted - Bremen 09:10 ON TIME
    06:50 FR 964 London Stansted - Gothenburg City 09:45 DELAY
    aircraft de-icing eta 10:00
    06:55 FR 9271 London Stansted - Eindhoven 09:00 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 1903 London Stansted - Linz 10:00 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 8853 London Stansted - Malta 11:20 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 2336 London Stansted - Poznan 10:05 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 2466 London Stansted - Szczecin 09:50 ON TIME
    07:00 FR 468 London Stansted - Turin 10:00 ON TIME
    07:20 FR 754 London Stansted - Frankfurt Hahn 09:40 DELAY
    atc delay eta 10:15
    07:25 FR 3252 London Stansted - Dusseldorf Weeze 09:35 ON TIME
    07:30 FR 8288 London Stansted - Lanzarote 11:45 ON TIME
    07:30 FR 8739 London Stansted - Maastricht 09:35 DELAY
    atc delay eta 10:35
    07:50 FR 8768 London Stansted - Katowice 11:00 DELAY
    technical fault eta 11:40

    SO ... the worst delay seems to have been about an hour this morning so I guess we can say well done Ryanair for getting everyone off on the early flights from Stansted in reasonable time today. It is another freezing fog kind of day but today there is no falling snow:

    Report Time: 2013-01-22 09:50:00
    Visibility: 0100 m
    Phenomena: Freezing Fog
    Clouds: Overcast 001 Hf
    Ceiling 100 ft
    Temp -1°C (ISA -15)
    Dew Point -1°C (100% RH)
    AAT -6.0°C [/B]
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