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mrkstvns

World Jamboree --- So hard to leave it behind...

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Thousands of scouts attending the World Jamboree found it to be a very tough place to leave behind.

I'm not talking about all the great memories they had of spending time with fellow scouts at the Summit --- I'm talking about American Airlines not staffing their checkin counters adequately and TSA and Charlotte Douglas Airport not having plans in place to adequately handle the number of passengers that they KNEW well in advance were coming to the airport when Jambo was over.

Few scouts got checked in on a timely basis and 3/4 of the flights ended up with delayed departure as scouts were herded outdoors in the summer heat to wait.

The story is here:
https://www.wcnc.com/article/travel/boy-scouts-vocal-about-extremely-challenging-departures-from-charlotte-douglas-airport-after-world-scout-jamboree/275-dcd51598-4c6e-46e1-bc1b-5e770fe63128

Did any of you folks attending Jambo fly out of CLT?  Did you encounter problems like those described in the article?

Scouts and scouters who had problems getting home should know that air travel complaints can be filed with the DoT here:  https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint 

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Happy to have bused.

There was a little chatter from parents as their sons were delayed a day. But ...

Our hub system means that stormy weather in the heartland grounds flights along the coast. It's basically the new normal for frequent air travelers. I figure as a family, we've missed one in five flights.

In general Charlotte's expansion of the past decade was at the expense of large corporate tax breaks that could have otherwise been used for better infrastructure, including larger check-in terminals at CLT.

TSA and flexibility are not known to go together.

This is just life in Post-Modern America. Lower taxes. Live free. Do without service. Accept delays.

These scouts will be voting in four years or less. It will be interesting to see how their experience influences their choice in candidates.

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

...

Scouts and scouters who had problems getting home should know that air travel complaints can be filed with the DoT here:  https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint 

In addition to complaining, be sure you ask for compensation if your flight was excessively delayed or cancelled. There is a website that can help you understand how that works and that says they can help you with claims:  https://www.airhelp.com/en/  

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In fairness to the airline and airport, I wouldn't have put in any additional permanent infrastructure to accommodate a once-in-a-lifetime event.  I wouldn't put any money into it even for a once-every-four-years event.  When 8000 people show up at the queue at the same time, there will be waiting, regardless of how many stations they might have had in place.  Nobody is going to engineer systems around that.  And TSA, don't even get my libertarian juices flowing on that disaster......

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One might also ask why the BSA decided to hold its' Jamborees in a place without adequate transportation facilities.  (And "because it was donated" is NOT a good answer.)

 

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51 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

In fairness to the airline and airport, I wouldn't have put in any additional permanent infrastructure to accommodate a once-in-a-lifetime event.  I wouldn't put any money into it even for a once-every-four-years event.  When 8000 people show up at the queue at the same time, there will be waiting, regardless of how many stations they might have had in place.  Nobody is going to engineer systems around that.  And TSA, don't even get my libertarian juices flowing on that disaster......

Yes, but when I was flying during the controller strike in 1982, the FAA accommodated special events like college football games with special procedures to deal with the high influx traffic. I don't know where the problems occurred in this situation, but there are ways to adjust procedures if planned ahead. 

Barry

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22 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

One might also ask why the BSA decided to hold its' Jamborees in a place without adequate transportation facilities.  (And "because it was donated" is NOT a good answer.)

 

Or why they didn't stagger departures more because of the infrastructure concerns?

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Didn't they try to stagger departures but had to change that because it required some people to leave before the closing ceremonies? 

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

In fairness to the airline and airport, I wouldn't have put in any additional permanent infrastructure to accommodate a once-in-a-lifetime event.  I wouldn't put any money into it even for a once-every-four-years event.  When 8000 people show up at the queue at the same time, there will be waiting, regardless of how many stations they might have had in place.  Nobody is going to engineer systems around that.  And TSA, don't even get my libertarian juices flowing on that disaster......

In all fairness to the airline and airport, they are incompetent twits.

In today's modern airline industry, they have these things called "computers". Amazing devices! They are capable of millions of calculations per second, can maintain databases, analyze data, and produce these things called "reports."

Given that the airline and airport were caught off-guard, I can only assume that none of the scouts had made reservations for their flights and they all just showed up out of the blue, ready to pay cash for their walk-up tickets.  If that weren't the case, the scouts would have planned ahead and booked their flights months in advance. Which means the airline employees would have KNOWN that the scouts had booked up every seat on every flight the day after their jambo ended. Managers would have KNOWN well in advance to expect a crush --- they would have KNOWN that extra staff would be needed at check-in, at baggage handling, and at security (not to mention at any snack bars in the place).

A well-run, modern airport would have had loads of contingency plans in place because they would have known that other airports all around the country deal with similar things when it comes to events like the Superbowl, or the Indy 500, or for that matter, Thanksgiving, when everyone needs to arrive at the airport so they can go over the river and through the sky to Grandmother's house.

As an interesting aside, there's an article about how Minneapolis St Paul Airport (MSP) dealt with the Superbowl crunch (I love that bit about football fans coming to the airport the night before their flight home so they don't have to pay for an extra night at the hotel....and here I thought it was scouts who were thrifty...). The airport even planned for that by laying in a bigger stash of sleep pads...
Superbowl airport story:  http://www.startribune.com/msp-airport-s-own-super-bowl-comes-day-after-nfl-s-with-busiest-travel-day-ever-expected/436045143/ 

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38 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Or why they didn't stagger departures more because of the infrastructure concerns?

Irrelevant.

Infrastructure was evidently fine for getting scouts out of the Summit and down the road to Charlotte --- one of America's biggest, busiest hub airports. An airport that routinely handles hundreds of flights per day and more than 20 million passengers annually. 

For CLT and American Airlines to have problems getting a few thousand scouts checked in is simply inexcusible.

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12 minutes ago, yknot said:

Didn't they try to stagger departures but had to change that because it required some people to leave before the closing ceremonies? 

Some contingents did revise their departures. However, I don't know if all of those were flying. Or if the buses were involved. Had they not revised their plans, if they were flying, they would not have had plans delayed because of storms at hubs.

2 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

... In today's modern airline industry, they have these things called "computers". Amazing devices! They are capable of millions of calculations per second, can maintain databases, analyze data, and produce these things called "reports."

... A well-run, modern airport would have had loads of contingency plans in place because they would have known that other airports all around the country deal with similar things when it comes to events like the Superbowl, or the Indy 500, or for that matter, Thanksgiving, when everyone needs to arrive at the airport so they can go over the river and through the sky to Grandmother's house. ...

A "modern" airport does not have loads of contingency plans. It is based on a few very large hubs through which all traffic must flow. When the weather is fine, millions of extra travelers flow through smoothly.  Ground two hubs, and the nation has to sit tight, be it Jambo, sport championships, or everyone's grandmother making holiday dinner hither and yon.

Not knowing the weather months in advance, there is no computing to get around this. In fact, knowing the weather months in advance won't help much, because just because you know hubs will be grounded on, say, August 4th, doesn't mean we have the gate slots at the other airports (e.g. Indianapolis, Cleaveland, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Charleston ....) whose infrastructure has been effectively capped over the past decades.

Were airports based on a more distributed system (like we all experienced in the 70's), more ad hoc routes could be formed. But then, we would have been taxed out the eyeballs to make it so.

1 minute ago, mrkstvns said:

... For CLT and American Airlines to have problems getting a few thousand scouts checked in is simply inexcusible.

So you don't think scouts should ever experience what most Americans experience every several flights? Maybe it's their turn to fix things.

Teach our scouts to elect officials who will build up the heartland so that we have an array of many large airports with extra capacity across the continent. For Jambo, we should start with Charleston, Morgantown, and Lexington.

Or (brace yourselves) push for fewer 5 lane highways, and more high speed rail lines.

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Posted (edited)

I think part of the problem was that while there were weather delays that of course cascaded across the country as happens with a hub system, there was also the problem that many contingents were delivered to the airport many, many hours before their scheduled flight, sometimes, based on comments posted on-line, 8, 10, or more hours in advance. I saw one contingent was delivered to the airport in the early morning hours, for a flight that was not scheduled to depart until 7:00 p.m. that evening. No airport is equipped to handle that many people arriving that early. You can't check bags for a flight more than 4 hours in advance (at least that's what contingents were reporting online was what they were told at CLT). If you can't check-in yet, you can't get a boarding pass. And no boarding pass, no going through security, which means you don't have access to the food court areas. That led many to get stuck outside, because the ticket counter areas was at capacity, since they were way early and couldn't go through security to get to the more spacious gate areas.

It wasn't necessarily that there were delays (there were), it was also that there were departing passengers at the airport waaaaaay early.

Edited by Cleveland Rocks
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On 8/21/2019 at 3:33 PM, Eagledad said:

Yes, but when I was flying during the controller strike in 1982...

Not that it matters to the discussion, but the air traffic controller's strike was in August 1981.  Wikipedia tells me it started August 3 and essentially ended on August 5 when the controllers were all fired and started being replaced, but even without Wikipedia I knew it was 1981.  The first day of the strike was the day my wife and I flew back from our honeymoon in Canada, and if there is one piece of information that I absolutely need to have in my memory at all times (well, two, the other is my wife's birthday), it is the date and year of my wedding.  :)   (How exactly we got back despite the strike I do not recall; I think we may have been on one of the last planes in the air before everything was shut down.  I could probably get a minute-by-minute recitation from my wife.)

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8 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Not that it matters to the discussion, but the air traffic controller's strike was in August 1981.  Wikipedia tells me it started August 3 and essentially ended on August 5 when the controllers were all fired and started being replaced, but even without Wikipedia I knew it was 1981.  The first day of the strike was the day my wife and I flew back from our honeymoon in Canada, and if there is one piece of information that I absolutely need to have in my memory at all times (well, two, the other is my wife's birthday), it is the date and year of my wedding.  :)   (How exactly we got back despite the strike I do not recall; I think we may have been on one of the last planes in the air before everything was shut down.  I could probably get a minute-by-minute recitation from my wife.)

Yes all true, and that flight may have been 1981, I’m old and those days are a bit of a blur. But the result of the strike was firing many, if not most, of the controllers. The FAA was forced to make dramatic changes to the ATC system for a couple of years until they could train enough new controllers to bring the system back to normal.

Barry

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