American Airlines believes that the number one thing that they can do to make planes arrive on time is to depart on time. So they’ve made it a company priority to the exclusion of most other things to ensure that flights leave exactly on time or even early.
If gate agents don’t bother processing upgrades, let alone coming onboard to move customers up when a first class passenger no shows, that’s acceptable because D0. If seats leave empty with passengers on the standby list that’s ok. If flight attendants don’t have time to offer predeparture beverages in the 30 minutes the flight is boarding that’s fine too.
Agents sometimes don’t bother processing upgrades for people who aren’t waiting at the gate. Flights board before scheduled and posted boarding time. So customers need to be by the gate, which is fine as far as it goes but delays rarely post until boarding time so customers wind up spending much more time at the gate than necessary — unable to take advantage of American’s investment in clubs that passengers are paying to access.
Thursday morning in Austin, though, D0 may have truly been taken to a new level. Here’s gate 14 waiting on a flight to Phoenix with no aircraft.
The flight shows DEPARTED however — prior to scheduled door close
Who needs to accommodate customers or even fly planes when you can claim to push back an imaginary A319s early? The logical extension of D0 is to ‘cut out the middle man’ of actually boarding passengers, just log planes having departed on time.
It was obvious to everyone of course that the plane hadn’t left, since it hadn’t boarded. Or at least to most people, a few in the gate area did look momentarily concerned.