Recently in an advertisement, I saw that a pilot gets notified that the plane will be delayed by 30 mins, but he announces that the plane will be delayed by 3 hours. And then he makes another announcement with the update saying that the flight will now be delayed by only 30 mins with the passengers shown cheering. I can understand the human psychology behind it but I think that there must be some rules and regulations about such fake announcements. Can someone tell me about it?

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like the capt has been burned by Maintenance Control one too many times. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Sep 14, 2018 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Do note that this is a question about something that happened in a TV commercial, not an actual airline event. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ Yup, I know it is not an actual event that has happened. But the point is, what if this stuff actually happened. If a guy sitting in an office can think this up, then maybe one day a pilot with a sense of humour and a fascination for human psychology decides to do this, are there any official rules or regulations about it or not? $\endgroup$
    – rukuto
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ Here is your answer youtube.com/watch?v=t9SVhg6ZENw $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Sep 15, 2018 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


No precise rules that come to mind offhand, but:

  • these days, the passengers often get text messages with delay info, and if I'm saying "3 hours" as the text comes in saying "30 minutes", that is not good
  • people who might wait out a 30 minute delay might decide to rebook or cancel their flight for a 3 hour delay
  • if there are passengers making connections to other flights at the destination, the difference to them between 30 minutes delay and 3 hours is immense, and they can get upset, call the airline reservations people, want off the aircraft to talk to customer service, etc
  • an actual delay of 3 hours is reason to deplane everybody, now (in most cases); for 30 minutes, not so much. That process & subsequently re-boarding everyone takes time, and it's no fun for anybody.
  • play the "oh, wait, now the delay is xxxx" card too often, and you look like you don't know what you're doing.

My gameplan is to give the passengers the honest answer. Sometimes, this is along the lines of, "may be a quick fix, like 15 minutes, or it may be a lengthy delay, in the ballpark of 2-3 hours. We expect to know which situation we have in about 15 minutes or so, and we'll let you know when we get the word from Maintenance." I think people appreciate it when you give them the straight scoop, including the times when the crystal ball is cloudy.

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    $\begingroup$ Spent my life dealing with people and learned that honesty always wins, you don't have to be right just be honest $\endgroup$
    – Ali Erdem
    Sep 14, 2018 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ The question isn't whether it's a good idea to do what the advertisement suggests, it's whether it's legal. This answer doesn't really address that. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Hulme
    Sep 14, 2018 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with what you said, but from your answer, there don't seem to be any official regulations about it. But in your case itself, what if the flight is to a remote island where you don't expect to have connecting passengers from and only 1 flight in a day or two. What then? $\endgroup$
    – rukuto
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DanHulme The first sentence exactly addresses the lack of any legal requirements, as far as I'm aware. I'm not sure how better to address or support such a situation than to say "none, AFAIK" and move on. Is there a better method to prove a negative? $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 14, 2018 at 15:02

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