App Notification 48 Min Early Departure = Chaos = Delayed Departure

by Adam

This is an interesting story I’ve been meaning to post for some time.  Last month Copa sent all passengers on my flight an email and app notification that our departure was bering moved up 48 minutes! Yes, not 5 or 15, or even 30, but 48 minutes early!

It caused absolute chaos at the gate with a line-up of customers about 50 people long.  I listened in to the concerns, many seemed valid.  One mother was worried that an elderly family member connecting from a different flight who at one point had an hour, now had just 12 minutes to connect.  A group of US soccer coaches complained that their teams had left the airport for a half-day excursion during their connection and that they had planned to arrive back about 1 hour and 20 minutes before the flight – the group of 37 now had under 40 minutes to clear security and customs and get to the gate. 

I asked an airline supervisor what the reason was for the change in departure time, he responded that it was due to an “optimal scheduling initiative”. I’m not sure what that means or why it seemed to impact just this one flight, but it clearly didn’t optimize anything for the poor gate agents and worried customers. I’ve been on many US carrier flights that close the door 15-20 minutes early, but 48 minutes with a notification going out just 90 minutes prior made for a disaster. Worse yet, the notification informed that you should arrive to the gate 45 minutes prior to the new 48 minute earlier departure time!

Ultimately (and hysterically) the airline caved as the crowd got rowdy and the staff ended up DELAYING the flight 12 minutes. In fact, our aircraft left the terminal about 37 minutes later than the originally scheduled departure time.

Have you experienced a same-day departure change that moved your departure up more than 30 minutes? Did the flight actually leave that early?

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1 comment

Donato February 10, 2019 - 3:20 pm

First of all, I have no sympathy for a passenger left with no transfer time. It is a chance they took when they booked what was likely two disparate records. If it was a single record it would be the airlines issue.
I suspect that this was either an extreme slot issue, or, alternatively, a crew or airframe scheduling issue.


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