Passengers Boarded For Good On-Time Rating

April 8, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

I was traveling from San Diego to Montreal in summer 2006 when I experienced this nonsense. I was traveling with a couple of colleges for a conference. We arrived a bit late at the gate. I was hungry and needed some coffee, but before I could find a café, the flight attendant announced boarding and we boarded with our group. We found our seats, as did everyone else. We were all squared away and ready to go when the captain made an announcement. There was a problem with one of the brakes and they were replacing it. He stated that there would be a 45-50 minute delay before takeoff.

I flagged down a flight attendant and asked if I could go back to the terminal to get something to eat and maybe use the restroom. She said that once boarded a person could not deplane. So everyone just had to sit there. Now I can understand if this was a problem that was just discovered before takeoff, but they were already planning to fix it when we boarded. So they made us board just to have us wait. Later I found out that the airlines routinely do this so that they have a good “on-time departure” rating. This rating is not based on actual on-time takeoff, but is based on the time the plane is boarded. So our flight was listed as on time. Lame.

– Sarah

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Salamandra April 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Surprise? I'm not. They do it all the time.


Cheran April 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

On-time departure ratings are based on when the brake is released and the plane pushes away from the gate, not when they begin boarding the flight.


Kad April 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

"I was traveling with a couple of colleges"…I know you meant colleagues. A reason why the ability to edit our posts would be nice.

As far as 'departure rating', I think that matters less than the extra 20-30 minutes it would have taken to board everyone after the plane was fixed. The flight crew may have been running up against possible flight time limitations and didn't want to risk being forced to wait another day themselves.

As far as the passengers are concerned, flying in another flight crew could take hours, as my parents found out in Dominican Republic in February. They ended up boarding the last possible airplane of the day (3am) and had to run (with 200 other people) to the plane before the airport shutdown for the night.

It seemed you survived your hunger pangs though. This doesn't really qualify as a flight from hell, since it was only an extra hour between feedings, and you didn't take the time to feed yourself before arriving at the airport, or allow enough time to do so before boarding the plane.


Cara April 10, 2010 at 5:31 am

Maybe you should eat before you go, or leave earlier so you have time to get something to eat before your flight. Just a thought.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: