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Power Failure at Atlanta International Airport (12/17)

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#21 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 03:01 PM

There is one thing that unites people all over the world, no matter what; our undying need to affix blame on a singular entity. It doesnt matter that most things like this are an unfortunate confluence of random events; somebody or something must be crucified. And you know better than to wonder why people are that asinine; they just are.


I happen to find Delta reasonably agreeable for domestic trips, but let's be a bit more considerate about why negative developments become so contentious these days.  An ever shrinking number of US airlines send the vast majority of our nation's time sensitive passengers through a tiny number of ever larger fortress hubs. When even a single fortress hub goes haywire a larger number of passengers are impacted with fewer alternatives than ever before. Add to that dynamic the tradition of treating front line employees poorly.  Employees who have few options other than taking their frustrations out on their customers.  Customers who in turn can't do anything about their own predicament other than blaming the messenger.  The people who have the power to change anything important or expensive (upper level executives at the airline, airport, and power company) are largely unreachable and unaccountable to the people who are directly impacted by their decisions.  This creates a situation where the decision makers are insulated from most of the criticism while most of blame is passed around between people who have no practical method for addressing or resolving it.


#22 jis



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Posted 18 December 2017 - 03:27 PM

Also, usually there is a measurable tradeoff between resiliency and cost of efficiency.In the next quarter's financial results driven world, there is a tendency to ignore resiliency because its absence will be a real issue only rather infrequently, one hopes. But the quest for efficiency progressively makes the entire system more fragile, making the assumption about infrequency of unrecoverable failures more and more invalid. Ergo, when things go south (a) they really go far south, and (b) they start happening more often.

#23 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 04:03 PM

Oh, I know that. In this case the fault lays with a combination of the airport and the power company and an unfortunate fire. But it is unreasonable to hold one single buffoon responsible for the actions or inactions of a class of clowns. 

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 07:47 AM

I flew in from Shannon during the middle of this.  It was only the terminal affected, ATC and all other airport functions were powered.  So too was the south cargo ramp where we parked.  Coming in was eerily quiet, normally Atlanta approach is just non stop radio calls but that night we were the only aircraft on frequency from check in to turning off the runway.  The terminal buildings were just blacked out with the only random lights off vehicles shining in between them.  The roads leading into the west terminal were solid red from all the vehicles stuck in traffic trying to get in to I guess pick people up.  This was a few hours after the power loss and there were still Delta jets strung our across the taxiways waiting for a gate, and lav trucks darting in between them to keep them serviced.


I was insanely lucky to already have a hotel room and ticket out the next morning on the first Delta bird going home that wasn't cancelled.  And with my crew access I was able to avoid the ginormous TSA lines.  It was a mess. 

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