Delta emerg landing becomes 90 minute shutdown [MGM]

Discussion in 'Other Aspects of Aviation Security' started by KrazyKat, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    A fluorescent light was responsible for the smell.
    And from dimmer bulbs, departing passengers were held in the terminal, in an abundance of...
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Nothing unusual here other than the emergency landing. As far as I know we have no pre-clearance facilities in Mexico, so the passengers do have to be kept separate until they've been processed by customs & immigration.

    Normally they would be kept on the plane, but with smoke & possible fire in the cabin they had to be let off. Apparently the airport isn't large to segregate a 757 full of people from their regular clientele.
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  3. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    I believe they were just waiting for another plane, no customs required.
    Seems like they could cordon-off part of even the same concourse if need be, without turning it into a 'security emergency' for passengers of every other flight at the airport.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    To repeat: There is no pre-clearance facility at Cancun. They cleared customs after arrival in Atlanta. Until then they had to be segregated.

    Depending on the model & the seating, a 757 can carry up to 289 passengers. That's 3-4 gates of space for normal aircraft. MGM only has 6 gates.
  5. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    To repeat: No one is saying they didn't need to be segregated.

    TSA began letting departing passengers through again an hour before the 193 left on a new plane.
    So passengers were segregated successfully at the low volume airport.

    I'm suggesting that closing off the checkpoint for 90+ minutes seems like a crude and slow-witted response, delaying and inconveniencing every traveler uneccessarily--hallmarks of TSA.

    MGM recognized the imposition such that they gave out free food to those delayed, stuck in the terminal. Imagine TSA doing that!
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Not really, 90 minutes to figure out what to with 200-300 extra bodies that can't mingle with the crowd already there, get them in place, guarded, etc., doesn't seem all that unreasonable to me.

    And you're assuming TSA is behind all this -- that's also not a given. Law enforcement & whatever small customs presence MGM has, in cooperation with airport management, were probably calling the shots.

    Other departures would have been confined to the 2-3 remaining gates, airlines would have to move/reconfigure their computers or roll in portable units, etc.

    A situation like this would be very disruptive for a small airport.
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  7. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    One thing to take into account is the amount of personnel on at the time of the event. The checkpoint may have been closed down due to all members of the TSA staff being needed for the segregation process, to help set up the area for customs processing/security processing and a general need for bodies to help keep the segregation intact so the folks could process the legal way, instead of having to rund them up and having things go awry - complete with interviews and figuring out who went where and all the other stuff that would go with it. I have no clue of the layout/design for their system of baggage, how many checkpoint areas they have, etc, but in a case like this at an airport that has an annual enplanement of about 400k, this would almost be a full stop situation. If they also had no customs component full time at the airport and had to call in local/regional people to do the processing, this would gum up their whole day.

    We had a similar situation with a flight from Austria landing here in an emergency situation. The US Air station Chief arranged with the airport, us and even the local Customs group to sequester, feed, provide for the passengers that smoked (they created a temporary smoking area at the end of one of their jetways with an APD member right there to control access) and roped off the entire end of the concourse for all of this. We helped maintain the sequester line while the mechanics fixed the bird, then decided to bring another bird in from a different location to take the people to their final destination. It was a Charlie Foxtrot of epic proportions at the beginning, but because everyone communicated well, and the local US Air boss was wired tight, it came off without a hitch. I can't imagine what sort of CF this was for Birmingham, because they have half our numbers (we do more than twice their numbers, and we don't have a lot of employees), and that is a lot of people to try and keep up with based on a regional staffing models.
  8. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    It should hardly be surprising that the TSA's reaction to any particular incident is crude and slow-witted. Just look at the pool of "employees" the TSA draws from. If they're not stupid, they're lazy. If they're not lazy, they're thieves. If they're not thieves, they're molesters.

    The surprising part is that the American traveling public is generally stupid enough to continue tolerating it.
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Was this a TSA issue or a Customs and Immigration issue?

    A small airport might not have a full time full time Border and Immigration officers. I can actually see using available bodies for crowd control and in this case those bodies would be TSA or other federal agency personnel.

    I'm with Mike on this one, 90 minutes to clear a bunch of people without any prior warning isn't that bad of a performance. It's a shame that it likely impacted others but given small airport and limited staff of any kind it is still understandable.
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  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    MGM probably has a very small number (wouldn't be surprised if you could count them on one hand) customs personnel for processing cargo, which is often routed through approved air freight handlers with secured bonded storage. Cargo that hasn't been released by customs gets segregated & locked up until they process it.

    Smaller airports with immigration facilities for humans are manned for expected arrivals. If you land an an odd hour, you're stuck on your plane.

    Generally, if you divert, you're expected to continue to your original destination for immigration processing.

    They would have landed at MGM due to FAA regs regarding in-flight emergencies: The pilots are required to land at the closest airfield that can safely accommodate the aircraft. The key word there is "closest"; facilities and accommodations aren't considered.
  11. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Closest suitable field. That was the standard we used. Suitability was based on degree of emergency. If you're flaming you might try putting down anywhere but bailing out was also an option we had, not so much with airliners. Certainly not going to land a heavy plane on a 1500 foot grass strip if any other option is available. Well you could but I suspect it would take awhile for the fire trucks to get there. Suitable runway is one that can withstand the weight of the airplane along with landing/takeoff distance needs. We had a book that listed every airport, military and civilian, with info on what facilities were available including the length, width, and weight bearing capacity of each runway in service.

    I don't think there is any question that landing an inbound international flight at MGM caused a major disruption to the daily routine.
  12. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    No one was cleared. They were just corralled to wait for another plane from Atlanta to shuttle them back there for customs. With baggage, and the plane a little distant, I imagine it was more of an issue on the airfield than inside.

    Sure it's understandably disruptive. But after you figure out you have to rope off the end of the concourse, how long does it take?
  13. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Which prevented some gates from being used, meaning that any planes at those gates would have to be moved to the still-open gates for boarding. You can't just back up a jet (with a few exceptions) and park it another gate. So moving the planes might take 30 minutes, plus an hour to turn them, that's what? 90 minutes?
  14. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Which has what to do with security, indoors??
  15. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Why overcrowd the terminal with people who can't yet go anywhere?

    Why are you so intent on blaming TSA for something -- anything -- when there is absolutely no evidence that anyone did anything wrong?
  16. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    At the same time, I'm not big on leaving people on an aircraft that's just sitting there. Gets a bit warm, the toilets fill up, etc.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I was referring to the people in the outer (non-sterile) area. In this case the people on the plane were already evacated due to the "smoke & possible fire" issue.
    I simply don't see anything worth of criticism in the news reports.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I've read quite few reports regarding situations where passengers were kept on planes. The captain always has the option of declaring an emergency and evacuating the plane, and customs has been been known to intimidate the crew into complying, but ultimately it's customs who will blink.

    In this case with the the possibility of a fire the engines & APU would have been shut down. They did an orderly evacuation by air stairs but I'll bet anything that the crew was on edge & prepped to do an emergency evacuation if necessary.

    There's no A/C without something turning to turn the generators. Temps have been in the mid-90s up north this week, so I'm guessing it's warm down south. In their immediately-pre-bankrupty days I spent 45 minutes on a Delta MD-88 with no A/C in 85 degree weather (they needed the gate so pushed us back, taxied a couple hundred yards, and shut everything down, even the APU, to save fuel -- not fun!!!).

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