While reading one of the reports of flight diversion, I started thinking about how airlines manage aftermath of the diversion especially for long haul transatlantic flights.

Many of the reports say airlines provides a replacement plane. Replacement plane flies to the diversion airport, load up the passengers and continue.

If the original flight is full, what happens to original crew? Working with the assumption that new flight has new flight/cabin crew and there is not enough place for all.

If the airport is at significant distance where the replacement comes from or still has to fly significant distance, it's possible that replacement flight crew might run out of flying time.

Do they provide multiple sets of crews - one to fly to diversion and one to fly to actual destination.

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    $\begingroup$ This is actually a really good question. I've been a pax on transatlantic flights that have been diverted to places like Gander, Canada (pray you're never diverted there...) because of things like an elderly passenger dying mid-flight. My hunch would be that the crew flying the replacement bird would also be in charge of taking the pax to the original final destination. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 18 '19 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ @JuanJimenez It would depend on where the planes have come from and are going. In the case a US-Europe flight being diverted to Gander, if the replacement plane comes from Europe, the crew won't be able to fly Europe-Gander-Europe in a single shift, and I doubt the airline would want another plane sitting on the tarmac for a day while the crew rested. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jun 18 '19 at 18:49

Ferry flights are actually very common and typically only have the 2 or 3 pilots as total people onboard. Cabin crew are only needed with passengers and their duty time restrictions are different from the pilots. However with a full new cabin crew (maximum of 50 passengers per flight attendant, minimum 2 attendants for typical airline flights in the USA) there are a few extra jump seats, or the company could simply arrange for a slightly larger plane.(or use two smaller planes.)

Failing all that, the company can purchase a few tickets on another airline for the extra crew. Legally in the USA airlines have a few contractual obligation to passengers and this results in airlines occasionally purchasing tickets for customers to fly on a competing airline when sold out flights are replaced with a smaller plane.

It would be unlikely to send a replacement from a long distance, this would be a needless waste of fuel and crew time. If they could not open up one of their own fleet in the local area then the company would hire a charter plane that is local. They may also just wait until another regular flight will be in the area depending on schedule frequency.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm... very common? That's very ambiguous. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 5 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ Ferry flight are a daily occurrence. Most new aircraft are transferred and delivered as ferry flights. As are any aircraft at the hour limits for inspections or those in need of repair so that they may get to the location of the inspection or repair. $\endgroup$ – Max Power Mar 15 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, but I was thinkin' compared to operative flights: not so common. As such, probably hundreds of ferry flights in the air at any given moment, thats for sure. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 15 at 21:33

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