Thursday, March 26, 2009

Standby For Clearance

Traveling to different countries always give you a good perspective on the lives of others and how they perform their respective jobs.This was evident on a recent trip I worked to Caracas, Venezuela. Normally we call for our clearance from Air Traffic Control about 10-20 minutes before departure when we are departing a foreign country. But our flight manual has a special page for the city of Caracas. It says that we should call for our clearance up to one hour prior to departure because of anticipated delays with ATC. What does that mean? Who knows?

This day we called about 30 minutes prior and were told to "standby for clearance". OK...No problem, we'll standby.

So there we were at the gate completing our checklists while our passengers were still boarding. Sure enough, departure time came and our gate agent came up to say goodbye and then shut the entry door and there we sat awaiting our clearance.

While we sat there at the gate, we had a good view of the ramp area below the terminal. We could see what was going on, or in this case, what was not going on down below.

Just look at all of these people doing absolutely nothing!

How does any work ever get done?

All this took place over the course of the 58 minutes we waited for our clearance!

So we finally pushed back and made our way to the runway. Not a single other flight was departing or arriving! So what was the delay all about? We never did find out.

I haven't noticed this apparent apathy in any other country. Maybe it's just a Venezuelan thing. But it now makes sense why we need to call for our clearance up to one hour early....because it takes every minute of that hour to get it!

The rest of the day was was an easy one. Two legs back to base...first stop Miami. The Bahamas were looking nice this day as we neared Miami.A run through Customs, a change of planes and then on to DFW. A nice shot of a contrail over Louisiana and then a great sunset at DFW and the trip was over.Another one in the logbook.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.