Taxiing to Arrival Gate

Your flight has just gotten off the runway and you are taxiing to the arrival gate! The Captain just then announces that the flight needs to hold for the gate! Another delay, and you are almost there! Haven't things been coordinated for the flight's arrival? Why isn't a your gate open?

From the time your flight leaves the gate at your origination point to when it gets to your destination, ATC (Air Traffic Control) and your respective airline's operations will track an airline flight. An ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) is sent to your destination immediately upon the aircraft's departure. While enroute, your pilots will send an update to their airline operations if there is a change to the original ETA. Some reasons for this change can be due to strong headwinds (add to delay), strong tailwinds (earlier), or deviations for weather (again possibly adding to delay), and holding.

As your flight gets closer to your destination, your pilots will be alerting the airline's operations again of the latest ETA plus additional service information. This is usually done 30 to 45 minutes out. This final call can be done two ways. The first, in usually the older aircraft, can be done on the radio using a dedicated radio frequency for the airline's operations. In conjunction with this voice call, is an older digital way of sending information. In the newer aircraft, a screen automatically appears on the computer at 45 minutes out where the pilots can enter the information. This is also the time that the pilots get the arrival gate (though most of the time, the scheduled gate is known before you even depart from your origination point!), even though it can change later due to your airline's operational needs. However, the arrival and departure gates are usually set a couple of hours beforehand, especially in large hubs.

This information includes the following:

• UMs (unaccompanied minors)
• wheelchairs required
• lavatory servicing required (yes or no)
• supervisor required (yes or no -to handle special needs, additional help with passengers, etc.)
• ground power required (yes or no)
• free text

Common reasons for your flight to hold for that particular gate is the your early arrival, an aircraft is still at your gate due to a delay they have incurred - mechanical, still loading passengers, baggage and/or cargo, or that aircraft and/or crew were late themselves setting up a possible domino effect in delaying not only your arrival into the gate, but others as well. Bad weather and a crowded airport of course exacerbate the situation.

Guiding In Arrival Gate
Guiding In Arrival Gate

Taxiing to arrival gate,you might see gates open and wonder why your aircraft doesn't utilize them. Your pilots see the same and if the delay continues, will undoubtedly be asking the same thing! However, as you might guess, this could create another domino effect of musical gates! And so more flights would be impacted then yours.

Taxiing to Arrival Gate back to Taxi In

Taxiing to Arrival Gate back to My Airline Flight