What kind of weather to avoid?

mareducate

Super Lifetime Elite
I was a platinum flier on AA for quite a few years, never thought about checking the weather at my destination airport. However, I had a few really rough flights (one especially bad one from LHR-ORD in May '01 when we descended into a storm arriving at ORD at the same time as our plane; the food on our trays suddenly flew into the air and the FA's had to buckle down in empty seats since they couldn't make it to the back of the plane). After that one, I began to realize that the destination weather was pretty important to a nervous flier.

SO, my question is....is there any weather that you would keep you off a plane that was cleared for departure? I realize that pilots have the last word on this and are definitely not suicidal, however, they have stronger stomachs than I do. I would never have gotten on that AA flight from LHR had I known that strong storms were predicted in ORD at the time of our arrival. I also remember an AA flight that crashed on landing in a thunderstorm someplace in Texas a few years ago where the pilot took off many hours late due to weather delays. Passengers assumed that if he was willing to go, the flight was going to be safe, and they were wrong.

What is your take on this?
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
I canceled (and went the next day) a return flight one time because the winds were 50mph at my destination and severe turbulence reports were coming up, but all in all, the airlines do have your safety in mind and I don't believe they'd purposely operate a dangerous flight. You are right though, in saying, that sometimes questionable flights and decisions have been made.

Take a look at this map though:

http://flightaware.com/live/fleet/SWA

It puts it all in perspective. This is just one carrier's planes in the sky, right now. Thousands of take offs and landings, safely, every day, just in the US alone. How many car crashes a day are there?
 

Hunter75

Forum Mod / Channel 9
The incident you reference happened in Little Rock, Arkansas (AA1420). And, as tbneg pointed out, this represented one out of thousands...even tens of thousands...of flights that operated safely.

I think it's also important to note, that weather was just one of MANY factors leading to this incident. The main contributing factor was possible flight crew fatigue and failure to arm the aircraft's spoilers for landing. Weather alone will rarely result in such a catastrophe, so the odds of you experiencing something like this just because the weather is bad at a destination city are pretty slim. You should be more concerned with the working conditions for your flight crew.

Also important to note, while some people lost their lives in this crash, many also survived (10 fatalities out of 139 passengers).
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
FlightAware has tracked 47,026 arrivals in the last 24 hours.

In a year...17 million flights.

From another website (they are re-organizing their content):

http://www.askcaptainlim.com/

Ask Captain Lim Website said:
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Compare these to the more down-to-earth transportation - the motorways or the railways. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that your chances of being killed in a motorcar accident is 1 in 5,000. If you decide to travel by train, your odd of dying due to a train crash is reduced to around 1 in 400,000. In an airplane, it varies from 1 in 400,000 to 1 in 10,000,000 depending on the reputation of the airlines you are going to travel on.
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]


this represented one out of thousands...even tens of thousands...of flights that operated safely.
 

mareducate

Super Lifetime Elite
I know that the stats show the safety of air travel, it's the turbulence that makes me panic, and that's what I try to avoid.

I guess you are saying that unless there are high winds and severe turbulence predicted at the destination, you will get on the plane.
Do you care what the weather is like at the point of departure?
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
I do care, but unfortunately, change fees and/or fare class change, and a schedule change could cost hundreds of dollars, on a flight that may, or may not be so bad. Last minute tickets are generally very expensive. It becomes a personal choice; how much are you willing to spend? Fortunately, that one time I changed my flight, there was a $100 change fee, but that was it. I then got lucky because they ended up canceling one leg a bit later one due to low staffing, so I got a refund.


I guess you are saying that unless there are high winds and severe turbulence predicted at the destination, you will get on the plane.
Do you care what the weather is like at the point of departure?
 

dilbert.rules

New member
THE VERY BEST THING YOU COULD DO WOULD BE TO FLY NORTHWEST AIRLINES OR DELTA.

Northwest is ABSOLUTELY #1 in avoiding turbulence proactively and as a matter of PRIORITY even OVER FUEL COSTS and time costs. Delta is making pretty good progress and really seems to try to do the same since they emerged from bankruptcy - really making an effort. SOUTHWEST also seems to do well here. MAKE IT KNOWN to the airlines that you will only fly those who make your comfort and safety the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY of the airline.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
I wouldn't go as far to say it's a safety issue. Comfort, for sure though. Where did you find information on Delta and Southwest's policies?
 

dilbert.rules

New member
I wouldn't go as far to say it's a safety issue. Comfort, for sure though. Where did you find information on Delta and Southwest's policies?
Southwest has had many books about the airline, and espouses to always take care of the customer first.

Delta is the airline I fly most of (I am based out of Atlanta), and I have been fortunate enough to sit in first class a lot lately. The flight attendants and crew I visit with have definitely shown a change of heart - at least in my personal experience - in how they handle customers since they emerged from bankruptcy.

I use your website before and after I fly to see what happened, and it appears that they are really working to find better routes. In the "old days" it would not be uncommon for a Delta pilot (mostly ex-military back then) to just "park" in turbulence for an entire flight.

Now you may end up getting bumped around from time to time (two nights ago we spent 3 hours seatbelted from Salt Lake to Atlanta), but they really do communicate LOTS more and give you an idea of what to expect and why, and they do communicate that they are TRYING to get you a smooth ride. Maybe the "near death" experience of almost losing their entire company has refocused them.

Northwest is definitely still #1.
 

747Fan

Lifetime Elite
THE VERY BEST THING YOU COULD DO WOULD BE TO FLY NORTHWEST AIRLINES OR DELTA.
Does anyone have any knowledge of AirTran's reputation? I know that equipment type is also important and have heard some rumors that the MD-80/717 aircraft are good in turbulence. Is this true?
 
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alexa24

New member
I canceled (and went the next day) a return flight one time because the winds were 50mph at my destination and severe turbulence reports were coming up, but all in all, the airlines do have your safety in mind and I don't believe they'd purposely operate a dangerous flight. You are right though, in saying, that sometimes questionable flights and decisions have been made.

Take a look at this map though:

http://flightaware.com/live/fleet/SWA

It puts it all in perspective. This is just one carrier's planes in the sky, right now. Thousands of take offs and landings, safely, every day, just in the US alone. How many car crashes a day are there?



You cancelled your flight????and the winds were 50mph at your destination...????oh my god!!!(my destination is jfk on sunday and the weather site says there will be 55 ...not 50!...thats it!i'm not going!)
 

747Fan

Lifetime Elite
You cancelled your flight????and the winds were 50mph at your destination...????oh my god!!!(my destination is jfk on sunday and the weather site says there will be 55 ...not 50!...thats it!i'm not going!)
Well, the airline may actually make that decision for you. We are getting a Nor easter here in the Northeast. We are expected to see snow, ice, and then a change over to rain with very high winds. Given the weather, you might be able to change your flight without a fee.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
A few clarifications.

I moved the flight to the next day. The booking class was unchanged, so I only got dinged for the change fee.
It also was not just one flight. I was to land at DTW, and then take a 20 minute flight to FNT that day. The fact of the matter is that on that particular 20 minute flight from DTW-FNT, it's operated as a low altitude flight that never climbs above 6,000 feet. I would have been in that soup the whole time, as well as an additional take off and landing. If I had just been landing in DTW, I probably would not have canceled or moved it. If I had to pay a lot of money, I wouldn't not have canceled or moved it. The benefits of staying another day at where I was, as well as the low cost were the factors.

It does turn out that my flight was canceled later anyways, but due to crew not being available (not weather), so I got the change fee back.



You cancelled your flight????and the winds were 50mph at your destination...????oh my god!!!(my destination is jfk on sunday and the weather site says there will be 55 ...not 50!...thats it!i'm not going!)
 
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