awhorto1
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:59 pm

Delay Coding

Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:43 pm

Interested in hearing from any Ops folks out there across various airlines as to how their delays are assigned.

At one of the US3, delays are broken down into about 19 different "buckets" ranging from weather to ATC to Maintenance, with each bucket being further broken down into numerous subsets. Airport Customer Service (ACS) for example has 10-12 subsets including ramp, gates, and airport vendors (fueling, wheelchair pushers, etc...). IT has their own bucket with a plethora of codes for any issue imaginable.

Operations agents are responsible for coding every delay, based on a set of timestamps including turn time, cabin cleaning, and passenger and cargo door close times.

This is where it gets a little hairy - if a flight sustains even a 1 min delay, some entity will be tagged and held responsible for that delay. This code (at least in the hub stations) is discussed ad nauseam, often with management intervention, to ensure that the code is assigned to the "right" entity. Some are straightforward (ATC, late eqpt, mtc), while others are what amounts to a toss-up between multiple departments.

With vendor contracts, staffing levels, corrective action, and management bonuses attached to the number of delays, it can be quite challenging to determine the accuracy of the data. Managers who may be at their "quota" for delays can have them changed to better their numbers.

How do other airlines cope with having to make high-level decisions on delay data that may not be 100% accurate? Who is responsible for coding delays at other airlines? Do vendor contracts that stipulate the number of allowable delays encourage management to "scrub" delays from a given department?
 
Newbiepilot
Posts: 2173
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:52 am

Most airlines have a form of arbitration for delay coding. You are correct that it can get contentious, but everyone usually has the goal of reducing delays. There usually conflicts between maintenance, airport operations, flight operations, especially when a delay is multifaceted
 
DTWorld
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:34 am

Re: Delay Coding

Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:37 am

awhorto1 wrote:

This is where it gets a little hairy - if a flight sustains even a 1 min delay, some entity will be tagged and held responsible for that delay. This code (at least in the hub stations) is discussed ad nauseam, often with management intervention, to ensure that the code is assigned to the "right" entity. Some are straightforward (ATC, late eqpt, mtc), while others are what amounts to a toss-up between multiple departments.



Very true. It's why I was taught from coworkers to ALWAYS document every little instance on a flight I work at the gate, and even take pictures of things so that there are timestamps to help cover your ass if God forbid they call you into the office. You can never be too cautious with that.

Sadly there are times where vendors try and cheat the system in modifying the timestamps for such things as security sweeps or cleaning where unless you had a second agent helping you work a flight, you would never know they did a half-assed job with cleaning or the like. Thankfully management has been cracking down on that as such incidents really skewed our statistics.
 
LAE320
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:40 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:11 am

awhorto1 wrote:
Interested in hearing from any Ops folks out there across various airlines as to how their delays are assigned.

At one of the US3, delays are broken down into about 19 different "buckets" ranging from weather to ATC to Maintenance, with each bucket being further broken down into numerous subsets. Airport Customer Service (ACS) for example has 10-12 subsets including ramp, gates, and airport vendors (fueling, wheelchair pushers, etc...). IT has their own bucket with a plethora of codes for any issue imaginable.

Operations agents are responsible for coding every delay, based on a set of timestamps including turn time, cabin cleaning, and passenger and cargo door close times.

This is where it gets a little hairy - if a flight sustains even a 1 min delay, some entity will be tagged and held responsible for that delay. This code (at least in the hub stations) is discussed ad nauseam, often with management intervention, to ensure that the code is assigned to the "right" entity. Some are straightforward (ATC, late eqpt, mtc), while others are what amounts to a toss-up between multiple departments.

With vendor contracts, staffing levels, corrective action, and management bonuses attached to the number of delays, it can be quite challenging to determine the accuracy of the data. Managers who may be at their "quota" for delays can have them changed to better their numbers.

How do other airlines cope with having to make high-level decisions on delay data that may not be 100% accurate? Who is responsible for coding delays at other airlines? Do vendor contracts that stipulate the number of allowable delays encourage management to "scrub" delays from a given department?


The data is often inaccurate. As a licensed engineer, I usually focus on doing my job to the correct standard and disregard the politics of delays.

Let the management fight it out for their bonuses, safety comes first every time.
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 2672
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:16 am

DTWorld wrote:
awhorto1 wrote:

This is where it gets a little hairy - if a flight sustains even a 1 min delay, some entity will be tagged and held responsible for that delay. This code (at least in the hub stations) is discussed ad nauseam, often with management intervention, to ensure that the code is assigned to the "right" entity. Some are straightforward (ATC, late eqpt, mtc), while others are what amounts to a toss-up between multiple departments.



Very true. It's why I was taught from coworkers to ALWAYS document every little instance on a flight I work at the gate, and even take pictures of things so that there are timestamps to help cover your ass if God forbid they call you into the office. You can never be too cautious with that.

Sadly there are times where vendors try and cheat the system in modifying the timestamps for such things as security sweeps or cleaning where unless you had a second agent helping you work a flight, you would never know they did a half-assed job with cleaning or the like. Thankfully management has been cracking down on that as such incidents really skewed our statistics.


Ramp and gate agents always try to pin delays on the flight crew. Flight crew always look for someone else to blame. It's literally a pin the tail on the donkey game, see who you can pin it on.
From my cold, dead hands
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 625
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:07 am

I remember having a HNL/ATL nonstop on a DL Tristar held at the gate in HNL while the FE's seat was replaced (the seat controls were broken). Who would have been responsible for that delay?
 
User avatar
LAXintl
Posts: 22019
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:36 am

Generally, the station ops agent inputs the code based on information they gather from the various local departments. If a delay is assigned to a dept, then they are responsible to write a report.

For reference, while US airlines like to endlessly customize codes, IATA has a standard set of them which most foreign carriers utilize.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IATA_delay_codes
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
7673mech
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:10 am

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:05 pm

I have seen some contentious negotiations too.
It's usually a management - bonus - metrics driven fight.

I have been called to the gate because the forward cargo door wouldn't close. I went out and closed the door. Nothing wrong - must have been some fight I wasn't in leadership at the time.

At another airline - we would always call into Maintenance Control so they could log the times, after the plane was repair safely - I would get with them with the play by play for the report.
 
jetmatt777
Support
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Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:14 pm

WPvsMW wrote:
I remember having a HNL/ATL nonstop on a DL Tristar held at the gate in HNL while the FE's seat was replaced (the seat controls were broken). Who would have been responsible for that delay?


At United that would be a Makntenance Delay.. code TA. Doesn't mean maintenance was responsible though.
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 625
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:36 am

To fix the seat, some techs brought in a new seat. I remember thinking... a spare FE seat for an L1011??? ... not an ordinary spare to have at HNL. My guess is that the seat had been written up but mx forgot to replace it until the FE sat in it. I guess the FE seat was not a MEL item on the TriStar. ;)
 
alasizon
Posts: 1091
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:52 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
WPvsMW wrote:
I remember having a HNL/ATL nonstop on a DL Tristar held at the gate in HNL while the FE's seat was replaced (the seat controls were broken). Who would have been responsible for that delay?


At United that would be a Makntenance Delay.. code TA. Doesn't mean maintenance was responsible though.


Internally, our MX would probably try to charge that to Flight Crew Damage which "excuses" MX of some of the responsibility. Or they would go for the Unknown Source of damage which makes it not chargeable to them at all.

As the person that handles all of the delay challenges for the Regional side, there aren't actually as many challenges as you would believe. There are pretty set timelines in piece and some things are relatively clear cut for 99% of the flights.
Manager on Duty & Tower Planner
 
nws2002
Posts: 748
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:20 pm

Where I work the gate agent codes at outstations and the ops agent at a base. However, that is not the end of it. Departments can challenge delays and it goes up the management chain until they figure out what happened. Station agents have an interest in not using anything that is considered station controllable or influential, so they will try to find an alternative reason.

You can also only assign one delay code unless the aircraft was late arriving or maintenance was involved, then you can have two or three. So sometimes a delay involves multiple factors but only the largest cause of the delay is actually coded.

The question about the FE seat, where I work we would code it to 41(TD), which is the code used for most mx write ups.
 
diverted
Posts: 1156
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:17 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:47 am

nws2002 wrote:
Where I work the gate agent codes at outstations and the ops agent at a base. However, that is not the end of it. Departments can challenge delays and it goes up the management chain until they figure out what happened. Station agents have an interest in not using anything that is considered station controllable or influential, so they will try to find an alternative reason.

You can also only assign one delay code unless the aircraft was late arriving or maintenance was involved, then you can have two or three. So sometimes a delay involves multiple factors but only the largest cause of the delay is actually coded.

The question about the FE seat, where I work we would code it to 41(TD), which is the code used for most mx write ups.


Yep, the old 041 - Aircraft Defects.

You can only use one delay code unless it's a late inbound aircraft or maintenance on top? Seems tough. Say a gate agent gets boarding authority 10 mins late, rushes to board the flight, has a headcount discrepancy, and ends up taking a total 20 min delay. If I was a gate/ops agent I'd code it as 10 mins - 063 late crew departure procedures and 10 mins to 015 - boarding, discrepancies.

Anyways, all anecdotal and it differs airline to airline obviously. But yeah, it can get convoluted when people are playing pin the delay.
 
stratosphere
Posts: 1289
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:45 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:08 am

DiamondFlyer wrote:
DTWorld wrote:
awhorto1 wrote:

This is where it gets a little hairy - if a flight sustains even a 1 min delay, some entity will be tagged and held responsible for that delay. This code (at least in the hub stations) is discussed ad nauseam, often with management intervention, to ensure that the code is assigned to the "right" entity. Some are straightforward (ATC, late eqpt, mtc), while others are what amounts to a toss-up between multiple departments.



Very true. It's why I was taught from coworkers to ALWAYS document every little instance on a flight I work at the gate, and even take pictures of things so that there are timestamps to help cover your ass if God forbid they call you into the office. You can never be too cautious with that.

Sadly there are times where vendors try and cheat the system in modifying the timestamps for such things as security sweeps or cleaning where unless you had a second agent helping you work a flight, you would never know they did a half-assed job with cleaning or the like. Thankfully management has been cracking down on that as such incidents really skewed our statistics.


Ramp and gate agents always try to pin delays on the flight crew. Flight crew always look for someone else to blame. It's literally a pin the tail on the donkey game, see who you can pin it on.


They may do that but I can promise you the flight crew will push it to Maintenance they will just call MX out for some BS item then just push it to them I have seen this for over 30 years. Now management then fights to see if they can get the delay off them. Crazy
 
opticalilyushin
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:23 am

When I work on flights that don't have systems like ACARS, we have an unofficial agreement with the flight crew that a delay of just a few minutes or so will always end up ontime. With ACARS etc. there is no cheating the system, though I know crew who have released the brakes while the aircraft is chocked and still boarding! Typically we (dispatchers) will decide with the crew what the delay will be, but airline management love to change them all the time.

It's also interesting that there are certain delay codes that often go under the radar because of the nature of them, like weather delays. As an example i remember some staff in Manchester getting caught using de-icing and snow clearance delays..in the summer!
 
awhorto1
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:59 pm

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:59 am

This may warrant a new thread but it does correlate with delay coding -- Turn Times!

The U.S. has (IMO) archaic and useless policies regarding security sweeps for international flights and domestic flights turning off international arrivals. Of course, most carriers employ cheap(er)labor in the form of contract vendors to perform these tasks...which in turn brings lackluster performance and a general apathy towards on-time operations.

Here's the rub: Most narrowbodies are only allotted 60 mins of turn time when a security sweep is required. Keep in mind that the gates are supposed to receive 35 minutes to board most aircraft. Network loves to schedule turns right at the MSGT (Minimum Standard Ground Time) of 60 minutes. That leaves us with quite the challenge. International arrivals require all passengers and cabin baggage to be deplaned prior to any servicing of the interior of the plane.

An A321 with 200 inbound passengers takes around ~20 mins to deplane. Cabin service then has to perform the required sweep, which can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the crew. This leaves the gates (if they're lucky) with around 15 minutes to board the 200 passengers for the outbound flight! That's obviously not a recipe for success, but yet we continue to see these scheduled turns....and the resulting delays. Just FYI - turn time for A321 on a domestic turn is 55 minutes.

As an Ops agent, .it's obvious to us that the turn times are a stretch goal, however Network and Fleet Utilization don't see it that way. I'd love to hear from people with other carriers and any ops folks about whether they face the same struggle with short turn times and how long security sweeps may take at other locations.
 
geologyrocks
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:05 am

Re: Delay Coding

Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:21 am

Honestly all the delay coding is rather stupid. I worked at a station where above wing was mainline, below wing was contract, and there was a contract maintenance facility on site as well. Nobody actually cared if a flight was late so long as it wasn't charged to them. But hey, that's the system that was created. One great team, one great airline until it comes to pay and compensation. You get what you pay for.

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