We often run into delayed departures, but for the first time I ran into an “early” flight departure on United Airlines…
My United Airlines Flights Departs “Early” From LAX
I was flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) and when I reached the airport I noticed that instead of showing on-time, my flight was showing an “early” departure.
As usual (and with no checked bags and a mobile boarding pass already issued), I cut it close. Interestingly, as I cleared security at around 10:10pm and made my way to the restroom ahead of my flight, I heard a final boarding call for my flight. I could not imagine that the flight would leave 30 minutes ahead of schedule, so I continued to the restroom.
Again, at 10:15pm a “final call” was made for the flight. I proceeded immediately to the gate and asked the gate agent what was going on. He told me that due to some “Air Traffic Control” issues we needed to leave early to arrive on time.
Indeed, the aircraft door did close three minutes later and we pushed back almost 20 minutes early. And indeed, the flight did take a bit longer than usual, though we still landed a couple minutes ahead of schedule (I loved it – make redeyes as long as possible if I have a bed to sleep in!).
I have to imagine, though, that the “early” departure and frequent “final boarding” announcements from the gate agent were meant to cajole passengers onboard. I doubt (though may be wrong) the flight would have departed early if it had not boarded full (though perhaps at the 15-minute mark, those passengers who had failed to board would be unseated, nonrevs cleared, and then the door closed).
In all my years of travel, I’ve never seen anything like this. I can’t help but wonder if there may be more to the story.
Most of us have been on flights that are delayed and we’ve probably also experienced flights that have departed early if everyone happens to board on-time. But this was the first time I’ve ever seen a flight departure board post an “early” departure. It seems rather unreasonable for such a last-minute schedule change, but in this case no one was left behind.