UA Waiver: Chicago Center (ATC) damaged and temporarily shutdown

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Rob, Sep 26, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    From https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/news/Pages/travelnotices.aspx#ExceptionPolicies
     
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  2. chrislacey
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    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    I'm guessing this gets extended. Do we have any MPers @ ORD?
     
  3. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    It did indeed, now:
     
  4. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    You do almost haev to feel bad for the airlines. This is a logistical nightmare. It's good that they are accommodating
     
  5. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    And now updated for tickets from the 26th to the 29th rebooked free through the 3rd of October:
     
  6. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    It's really unacceptable for the feds to be in day 3 of this nightmare. UA must be fuming.
     
  7. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    And AA and WN.
     
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  8. Olton Hall
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    Olton Hall Gold Member

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    The FAA is saying 7 more days before they get the new temp. facility operational. The room is listed as a biohazard as there's blood all over the place.
     
  9. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    It is a mess, my sister flew to LA for work last Friday on AA and got stuck in ORD for over 7 hours. Original flight was canceled and she got rebooked twice and both canceled as well then finally hit jackpot on the third attempt. All in all, she got out and that is what matters.

    I only expected this to last several hours tops and I still can't believe they do not have the situation under control. Developing a proper BCP that addresses total facility shutdown is probably going to be # 1 on their agenda once this mess settles.
     
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  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Really?

    They're keeping the aircraft running as best they can by leveraging the surrounding resources and expanding the coverage areas each operates in. And they have already started the process of rebuilding the infrastructure to bring things back online. But it isn't like they just drop a couple new laptops in a temp office space and start working again. There is serious specialized (and ancient) hardware involved which has to be replaced.

    I'm sure they could have full redundancy of everything everywhere but the costs to do so are ridiculously high relative to the likelihood of needing it.
     
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  11. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Yes, really. It's unacceptable that the actions of one can cripple one of the busiest air traffic regions in the world. If they can't have redundancy there, they should have the ability to have a back-up location take on the load at least on a temporarily basis. With technology today, it is shameful that delays and cancellations continue days after the incident.
     
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  12. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    I'm surprised by how manual some parts of the process sound - like no ability to electronically transfer flights between other centers (because that was handled by ZAU), or ad hoc routes being devised only after the fire to more efficiently flow aircraft through to ORD/MDW instead of using tower to tower enroute. The first seems like infrastructure that would've needed to have been built, but the second seems like a bit of contingency planning that could've been done ahead of time. At the very least, I'm pretty sure that over the next year or two, every ARTCC will be updating their contingency plans to include the possibility of the facility going ATC zero with the physical facilities completely inaccessible. No need to build fully redundant systems, but at least acknowledging that a scenario is possible means that easy groundwork can be laid in case it does actually happen.
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    They do have redundancy. Systems overflow out to surrounding areas. But it is not instantaneous and not fully automated. As for the contingency routes, those are mostly well known and planned as I read it but they get tweaked over time based on the ability of the controllers in the surrounding areas to increase the flow through.

    The ATC system is ancient and controllers are not routinely trained to run multiple different areas; they focus on the one they work in on a daily basis. I think that's pretty smart.
     
  14. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    I'm not suggesting that things don't overflow to surrounding centers, and not suggesting that the entire system should react automatically. I'm suggesting that the ability to electronically handoff a single flightplan would be useful. Also, it sounds like a lot of procedures were only thought up after the fire. (You might want to read https://www.facebook.com/NATCAfamily/posts/10152399740238061)
     
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  15. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Yet 40% of ORD and 25% of Midway is cancelled today. Crazy. Forget messing with planes, if terrorists want to hurt the economy and air travel, they should just take out 2 ATC centers. We'd be down for months.
     
  16. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    And who exactly do you want to pay for building a redundant system (which could never be designed in such a way to insure 100% uptime)? Pass another pax tax (which would impact the airlines) or a tax against everyone whether or not they use the system?

    It's great to armchair quarterback something but there's really no simple solution there. And, unfortunately, it all comes down to money, of which there's far better uses in the realm of aviation than building a completely redundant system for very infrequent one-offs.
     
  17. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    If my travels this year have taught me anything, it's that the U.S. does things much better than most (not all things; not every country; just generally). If this happened at GRU, for example, they'd probably shut the whole thing down for 3 months. If it happened in LHR, I can't imagine the chaos that would ensue. (You think USGOV is full of bureaucracy? Try western Europe!)

    The fact that planes are flying and we have a 7-14 day inconvenience speaks well of our country. Even if, for the poor souls victimized by one guy's asshole-ry, it feels like the system sucks.

    Just my 2 RDMs.
     
  18. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    They should tap into the incredible taxes they collect from to reinvest in aviation. Or divert from useless TSA investments into things that actually keep us safe like ATC.
     
  19. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Waiver updated:
    Now original travel dates through October 3, completely free changes if rescheduled on or before October 8.
     
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  20. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I agree it could be worse but you'll see some push against the idea that the US does things "much better than most." Take transportation system design and management. Although the US aviation system is generally safe and well-managed compared with other countries, there are plenty of transport system counterexamples in other areas. Compare the US rail "system" with e.g. the Japanese shinkansen service with its earthquake-resistant infrastructure, active management, outstanding safety record since 1964 etc. JR was of course a state operation with EK-like access to resources - some argue in some hidden ways it still is - and a total design focus on safe and reliable operation in challenging environmental conditions, but the point is, there are examples of highly-redundant, efficient and proven transportation infrastructure all over the world. If you compare AmTrak's operational reliability/safety record with JR Shinkansen, they are in two different worlds.

    As a visitor, certain aspects of system functionality are not evident. But as a resident, you see deeper into the systems. I am not a fan of over-regulation in general but I liked the Japanese bureaucracy in certain ways and one key aspect was the requirement for the station master to write personal notes of apology for every pax on a train delayed more than 5mins. For the bosses of the workers so that they don't lose face, but the rail network does. This level of personal responsiblity encouraged efforts to manage the system and avoid such delays. Evidence proves, it works. I took several hundreds of trains during the three years I lived in Japan. Sometimes four or five rides a day. Not once was any of them late, and not once did we experience a maintenance/safety issue.

    Imagine Supreme Leader Jeff doing the same thing for pax affected by issues within UA control (not the ATC outage, but the usual operational shenanigans masked as "Weather" and "late inbound" on the UA.COM status page)....
     
  21. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I think it's really difficult as an outsider to judge how the current funds are being spent. There's always continuous pressure on governmental entities to spend less and be more efficient, but at some point, you reach a point where you can only do so much with what you have. If existing tax revenue is redirected from what it is currently spent on to help build redundancy into ATC, then something else that may also be critical suffers. And, who says that money spent on useless TSA initiatives (and I don't disagree that the TSA does some really asinine stuff) is sufficient to fulfill the needs of the FAA for ATC. There's also the part where those entities are separate federal departments funded under different mechanisms.
     
  22. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    It's all public record.
     
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  23. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Waiver updated:
    Now for original travel dates through October 13.

    (Thanks to @Mackieman for pointing out the update)
     
  24. HeathrowGuy
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    Not really...current funds collected in the name of US civil/commercial aviation are so horribly misused that in a more accountable world people would be thrown out of office/jailed for it.

    The FAA is woefully behind target on nearly every major aviation infrastructure upgrade, improvements which themselves are now outmoded in some instances (research the Next Gen debacle, which was purportedly supposed to remedy the congestion that causes ATC delays). FAA also lacks the ability to effectively oversee the certification process of a new commercial aircraft, relying on manufacturers to design, test, and assure that the plane and its parts/processes are A-OK (research the 787 battery debacle).

    It's sad to think about the lost productivity and stunted potential of US air carriers (and their passengers) resulting from an out-of-date, misfunded aviation system.
     
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  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How many read the public record and how many of those are qualified to analyze it? ;)

    (posted from my cushy armchair CEO barcalounger)
     

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