Questions tagged [airline-operations]

Refers to questions asking about airline practices, procedures, and processes both in the employment arena and in flight.

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103
votes
2answers
21k views

Why do airlines follow these routes between Barcelona and Düsseldorf?

In the wake of GermanWings' terrible incident of flight 9525, I have noticed that the crash location is quite far from the shortest route connecting the two airports. I then went on FlightRadar24's ...
71
votes
10answers
31k views

Why are there no “sleeper” planes?

On a recent long-haul flight I sat by the windows and was dreaming away staring into infinity out of the window. Then a thought came up, in Asia sleeping busses are very common. This made me think, ...
71
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4answers
17k views

Why do all commercial aircraft have carpets?

When flying I noticed that all the commercial aircraft I have been on use carpets as a floor covering. But why? If you fly in an older aircraft it looks worn out and it is susceptible to stains etc. ...
50
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6answers
15k views

Why was my flight cancelled due to bad weather while other flights were not?

I'm stuck in Frankfurt. I missed my connection due to a delay. I was rebooked, but this new flight was also cancelled due to bad weather. About 30 percent of all flights were cancelled today. ...
50
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9answers
8k views

Could airliners use a steam or electric powered catapult for take-off?

This would have the obvious benefits: Less runway needed to take-off Fuel savings Faster turn around times for airlines Could this be implemented in busy airports?
46
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3answers
55k views

Are cargo holds pressurised these days?

This question is only regarding aircraft that seat more than about 100 people. Are cargo holds pressurised these days, what is the situation? Are only some pressurized, most, of every single one? ...
44
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2answers
34k views

What's the typical cost (and its breakdown) for a long-haul commercial flight?

I realised that this question is very broad, but I intend it as an example to illustrate the actual costs incurred by a typical long-haul commercial flight. For the purpose of this question, I would ...
44
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8answers
72k views

Why do flight times differ between traveling East versus traveling West?

Why does it take longer to fly West to East than East to West? Which factors affect this? Does Earth's spinning affect the time difference? Maybe the air circulation?
40
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5answers
8k views

Is the seat-belt sign activation when a pilot goes to the lavatory standard procedure?

Yesterday, I took an inter-European commercial flight with a popular budget airline. Before take-off, the captain announced that the First Officer would be taking the entire flight today. During the ...
38
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2answers
11k views

Why would the cabin crew spray the cabin before landing?

Once when I was on a plane that was about to land, the cabin crew came around and they were spraying these small canisters. I've been on many flights but it was that particular flight where they did ...
38
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3answers
5k views

How can a large passenger aircraft's owner remain unknown?

I'm reading through TheStar's "Malaysia Airports seeks owner of three Boeing 747s abandoned at KLIA" article and I can't stop wondering, why I don't understand it or how should I understand it? How ...
37
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5answers
10k views

Why are commercial airplanes painted at all?

While there was debate over why airplanes are painted white and a question about how much a new paint job costed, what hasn't been asked is why airplanes are painted at all. I remember one airline ...
36
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8answers
19k views

Why are First/Business Class seats at the front of aircraft where it is the least safe?

According to this image, taken from The Science of Survivability (Page 79) from NOAA, the statistically safest seats to sit in are at the rear of the plane (69% survival rate vs 49% at the front). ...
36
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8answers
12k views

Why do some airlines operate fleets so diversified?

When you have a look at the fleets from big airlines like United, Delta, Lufthansa, BA, AF, etc. it seems that they have almost every model Boeing and Airbus released in their fleet. And my question ...
36
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5answers
6k views

How does an airliner deal with cabin altitude at an airport above 8000 ft?

There are a number of airports above 8000 ft altitude. FAR 25.841 states: Pressurized cabins and compartments to be occupied must be equipped to provide a cabin pressure altitude of not more than ...
36
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3answers
37k views

How do airlines pay for their planes?

Taking easyJet as an example, they have a fleet of over 200 A319's and A320's. At a price tag of around \$90m per plane, that equates to about \$18bn. Given that their turnover for 2012/13 was around ...
36
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1answer
3k views

How are duplicate call signs dealt with?

Many airlines (at least here in the U.S.) have flight numbers that use different aircraft for different legs of the flight. For example, Delta 158 uses a 747-400 from Incheon International in Seoul to ...
35
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4answers
14k views

Does the sterile cockpit rule mean flight attendants could not inform the pilots if a passenger is in the lavatory while on final?

Context: I've seen this interesting question just the other day, asking what would pilots do after receiving this information while on final: either go around or continue with the landing. However ...
35
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6answers
10k views

How can an airliner make up for time lost?

If a plane has been delayed at the origin how does it make up for the lost time? Does the pilot need any special permission from ATC to increase the speed so that it can cover the lost time or has the ...
35
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3answers
135k views

What is common number of flight hours a year for an airline pilot?

Reading various reports including number of flight hours of the pilots I always wonder how it relates to years of service. In most professions, people work 40 hours a week, which gives around 1900 ...
33
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4answers
4k views

What precautions prevent 'insiders' from stealing a large aircraft, as in the Horizon Air Q400 incident?

For those who haven't heard it yet, a ground worker stole a Q400 at SeaTac this week, performing an unauthorized takeoff and going for a joyride before eventually crashing into an island. The plane ...
32
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6answers
17k views

What simulation software do airlines use?

What simulation software do airlines use for training purposes? Do they use software like P3D, FSX, X-Plane, or FlightGear? Or is it a custom? What about aircraft? Do they source them from groups like ...
32
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2answers
9k views

How do pilots rest on long-haul flights?

When flying on a long-haul airliner flight in economy, often I find it very hard to fall asleep. However, when off cockpit duties, they still have to get rest so that they are able to control the ...
32
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1answer
7k views

What is the purpose of a walled area in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport?

Looking at a satellite map to the East of Heathrow Airport, there is a small passenger jet parked in a walled off area. Looking at the aerodrome chart the entire area is listed as Bealine Base, which ...
32
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5answers
4k views

Do airline pilots use this high-speed, high-drag technique for losing altitude?

This question and another more recent one got me thinking about this. Years ago on my MEII checkride the DPE showed me a technique for losing altitude on final when the aircraft was high. Typically, ...
31
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5answers
5k views

How do commercial pilots keep situational awareness of their current call sign?

Air transport pilots operate flights with a variety of flight numbers, often with multiple flights in the same day. This means, as a result, the callsign that they are using changes as well. Also, ...
31
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1answer
5k views

Can a pilot change out of uniform during breaks on a long flight?

How long is a pilot-in-command's break on ultra-, or long haul flights? Would they be required to keep the uniform on, or would they have the freedom to change out of uniform? Related: How do pilots ...
30
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3answers
20k views

Why don't airliners use in-air refueling systems?

Right now if an airliner wants to fly a really long distance (eg., a Boeing 787 flying from Seattle to Tokyo), it has to load itself down with lots and lots of fuel, which in turn weighs thousands and ...
30
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4answers
8k views

Why would the Pakistan airspace closure cancel flights not headed to Pakistan itself?

The India-Pakistan feud has heated up again, with Pakistan closing its airspace as a result. I know many international routes fly over Pakistan, and that the closure would cause issues, but this ...
30
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4answers
5k views

Why were flying boats phased out?

Before WWII, flying boats were a popular form of transport, and the advantages are many: No need to build runways, capability of emergency landing on water, availability of large landing sites and no ...
30
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4answers
35k views

Why does an airplane captain sit in the left seat?

For almost every airline, the captain sits in the left seat, and the first officer on the right. We know that in most countries right-side traffic and some have left-side. During training, the ...
30
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2answers
5k views

Why does Turkish Airlines avoid Israel when going to Amman, but not on the return leg?

(flightaware.com) Last week I was browsing Flight Aware when I came across a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul (Turkey) to Amman (Jordan). I noticed that the flight path clearly makes an effort ...
29
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5answers
5k views

What is the rationale behind very short distance flights?

I was impressed to read here that some passenger airline routes are even below 60 km in length. Even assuming that the passengers are already in the airport past the security check, probably a good ...
29
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3answers
5k views

When are black boxes used?

Obviously, black boxes gather lots of media attention after tragic accidents where planes crash or explode mid-flight, since they could be crucial understanding the crash. However, these are rather ...
27
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6answers
4k views

Are there any “alternative” passenger airline business models?

(By passenger airline in this question I mean scheduled carriers, with at minimum a few aircraft with 50+ seats.) I am aware of 3 main classes of airlines: Hub-and-spoke (most major airlines) Low-...
27
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7answers
8k views

Can an airline reject a passenger for being overweight?

I have a Cessna 172S and despite having 4 seats in the cabin, I cannot take 3 more passengers besides myself as the pilot with a full tank of fuel due to safety in weight balance issues. As the pilot,...
27
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2answers
4k views

Do airline pilots practice stalls in actual aircraft?

PPL pilots are taught stall recovery by experiencing it first hand with an instructor. Do airline pilots intentionally stall an aircraft during training? Or is it all simulator practice because it's ...
27
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2answers
4k views

How do airlines pay air crews for an aborted flight, in general?

I was watching this Swiss Air video. It's a flight from Zurich to Shanghai. Shortly after take off they have high engine oil temp in engine 3 and end up shutting it down. They declare a pan-pan-pan, ...
27
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3answers
9k views

Why is Heraklion airport a 'captains only' airport?

I was recently watching "EasyJet: Inside The Cockpit" and it said pilots need 4 shoulder stripes to land at Heraklion International Airport, “Nikos Kazantzakis” (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR), but it didn't ...
26
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5answers
12k views

Why do airlines retire the flight number after a crash?

Perhaps it seems obvious, but I couldn't find a plausible reason why they do so other than that it evokes negative emotions among passengers and crew. Could there be other reasons to do so? For ...
26
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1answer
2k views

Are airline pilots worn out at an age of 55?

Lufthansa's pilot union is calling for a strike to defend pilot's right to retire at the age of 55. They argue that the stressful job of flying is too much for older people. This provokes two ...
26
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1answer
3k views

Does a request for passengers to open vents indicate pressurization issues or equipment failure?

This occurrence was a year ago, but it kept bugging me until this day. I am a frequent flyer and this happened only this one time. While the plane (a Swiss A320) was still by the gate and the boarding ...
25
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9answers
14k views

Why don't we have helicopter airlines?

Just a curious thought. Why isn't there any helicopter airline? Airlines that operate large helicopters that can transport 10 or 20 people a short distance?
25
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5answers
9k views

Are passengers really not allowed to change seats before take-off due to weight and balance?

Just boarded an A320 with many open seats (Spirit), and the flight attendant said we may not change seats until at altitude due to weight and balance. Is he just trying to prevent pax from moving ...
25
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3answers
5k views

Why are US Regional Airline starting wages so low?

With 2,000hrs of flight time, a commercial ticket for ASEL and AMEL, CFI, CFII, MEI, and a Master's in Aeronautical Science I could easily qualify to fly right seat for a regional airline, but I just ...
25
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2answers
16k views

Is it true that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals?

I was watching a documentary about a Lufthansa A380, and they said that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals; why is that? Is it a country-specific requirement, or airline-...
25
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2answers
9k views

Are there diversion points for southern Pacific great circle route flights?

At first I wasn't even sure if any airlines flew southern Pacific great circle route flights, but it looks like Qantas (QFA27) operates a flight between Sydney and Santiago, Chile. For northern ...
24
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5answers
11k views

Why do cargo airlines frequently choose passenger aircraft rather than aircraft designed specifically for cargo?

Cargo airlines are known to regularly use planes designed primarily for passenger travel. Why don't they almost exclusively use aircraft designed specifically for cargo?
24
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5answers
6k views

Why can't airline pilots listen to music while flying? [duplicate]

In an interview I read, a 747 captain (Mark Vanhoenacker, an American British Airways pilot) says he doesn't understand why he cannot listen to music inflight, when for example surgeons – who ...
24
votes
2answers
667 views

To what degree do airline ops specs preclude hand flying?

I retired in 1999. I'm curious to what degree typical airline ops specs now discourage or prohibit doing what I used to do as a matter of course insofar as hand flying. For example, I usually hand ...

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