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Don't fret about crowded skies

I'd like to share with the FlightAware community one of a handful of educational articles I've written for In these articles I address the most common questions as well as concerns that I hear from my passengers. Thanks for reading! ( More...

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Marcus Pradel 0
Good article. I get asked once a week about getting 'close' to other aircraft.

It's hard to believe that other than in the Terminal Area, traffic is mostly unseen for the duration of a cross-country trip.

There's always the annual trek to Sun-n-Fun & OshKosh.. but that's a different game.
This is a good article for passengers who flying is a mystery to them and would help if I was one of them. Good detail, interesting note about ATC and good tips at the end. Though living in SF I would highly recommend, if traveling to the southeast or the eastern seaboard, to take the redeye flights, not to have to deal with delays once you get to Newark for example at 3PM after leaving CA at 6AM. Yes overnights are tiring, but are always on time. What concerns me Captain, not sure about the others, is boarding Pax and waiting on the tarmac for excessive hours in a seat to small for most people. For example, I just heard a Jet blue flight delayed 11 hours on the tarmac, and a few other stories like that on the east coast this fall. Not directing this at anyone, but I would be really curious to have this topic pointed out especially if I was going to Chicago or JFK this holiday, understanding how far an airline can go holding Pax on the tarmac and what rights Pax have, and what is demanded from ATC and Crew during these delays. Me, I'm only a Passenger with a Private Pilot Certificate, so I don't know much about rules regarding this. Like everyone else, I usually don't know what's going on during these delays. This is a big issue during snow and when airports are crowded.
Daniel Fahl Staff Writer 0
-FedExCargoPilot- Those are some valid points and great questions. I'll address them in order. The articles I write for CNN are limited to a short word count. I have to drive in major points, often omitting things I'd like to discuss if given more space. Each part of the U.S. deals with its own dynamic issues that effect delays in different ways. The East coast, particularly the Northeast, is drastically hampered by airspace congestion. Too many airplanes, too little airspace. And that's on a nice day. Throw low visibility, high winds, etc... into the mix and it's a recipe for massive delays. The West Coast is subject to early morning delays often times due to morning fog banks. Arrival delays are primarily effected, but if your outbound flight is awaiting one of the delayed inbound flights, you become a victim as well. Red-Eyes headed east-bound are a great way to avoid delays on both coasts. Tarmac delays are certainly a hot-point these days. With the advent of the customer bill of rights, airlines now can incur steep fines if tarmac delays exceed 3 hours. If that situation occurs, we must attempt to return to the gate inside of the 3-hour mark. However, sometimes, despite the best effort of flight crews and airline operations, it's not logistically possible to make that happen. For example, this past summer in Philadelphia, we were number 1 for departure as a huge storm drew close to the airport. Long story short, we were stuck by the runway until multiple storms passed as there were more than a hundred aircraft gridlocked on the tarmac. We had every reason to expect that we could beat out the storm intiially, but ATC put a last minute stop on departures. Nothing we could do. These cases are rare, but trust me, the airlines DO NOT want to pay the steep fines and DO make every effort to adhere to the passenger bill of rights. I agree that there is a lot of curiosity with regard to delays and I have written articles in the past about them. I plan on writing many more - I could honestly write a book on the topic. It's very complex. I look forward to working with FlightAware to educate more on this topic through these Squawks and other future projects. Feel free to ask more questions. My goal is to educate!
Thank you for your response, that clears it up, look forward to upcoming posts! Hopefully good weather will be in affect this holiday season in the country for flying.
Tally-Ho Capt Daniel.

I'm one of the few who don't work (homemaker), so I don't fly any for business but plenty for leisure. My point is that I don't worry about delays too much since I know I'll "eventually" get where I'm going. Getting all worked up and getting into a tizzy when you're gonna be delayed for several hours just makes the day get worse and worse until finally everyone is in a bad mood. I'll be heading out west this week and look forward to another holiday trip with my family and I know it sounds kinda cheesy but the time when I'm delayed or just waiting for boarding to start is always fun for me to catch up on the latest gossip from my family ;-)

I know, way off topic but in a nutshell, just sayin' crowded skies won't "ground" my enthusiasm for flying.
ATCguy1 0
Great article Daniel. It was well written and honest..thank you for not blasting ATC! (like some I have read in the past)

I look forward to your future posts.


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