But there's a whole empty plane here!
January 3, 2014 2:28 PM Subscribe
So, a general question based on an anecdote. Yesterday we were supposed to fly from Tampa to Chicago Midway. Because Midway was crazy, we left really late and eventually got diverted to Memphis. A few hours later, our flight was cancelled due to a (fixable, but not at midnight) mechanical problem, and now Southwest has to figure out how to get 143 people to Chicago. So...why not just put them on that same airplane tomorrow when it's fixed?
posted by goodbyewaffles to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
All of today's flights from Memphis to Chicago were sold out, and Southwest only offers a handful of other outbound flights from MEM, so it's not like you are rebooking 140 people on those. BUT: now there is this extra plane sitting around! Couldn't they just...put all those people back on the plane tomorrow and send it home? Presumably the airplane needs to get there anyway. (We ended up renting a car and driving home from Memphis, but not everyone has the wherewithal to do that, plus lots of people were connecting through Midway.)
Obviously there were a lot of Midway-specific problems this week, but I am looking for more general answers to these questions:
1. I'm sure there's an FAA regulation that explains why a commercial airline can't run an unscheduled flight, but what is it, and what does it say? (And why wouldn't they just "delay" the flight overnight instead of cancelling? Is that a thing?)
2. What on earth did they DO with all those people?! I used to fly little United Express planes from Chicago to Green Bay a lot, and they'd just stick us on a bus, but that has to be harder to do with 143 people (not to mention an 8-hour drive). Do people really just hang around Memphis for days and days waiting for a flight?