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In the past year, airlines have consistently held top spots in our most hated companies list and United Continental just made it worse.Dozens of Continental transatlantic flights scheduled to be nonstop actually did stop — affecting thousands of really mad passengers, reported The Atlantic Wire.
In order to save money, the company used its smaller, 169-seat 757 jets for flights between Western Europe and the U.S., which cut back on the required number of crew cabin members needed. Also, these flights tend to not generate enough traffic to fill larger planes.
But outside factors ruined the company’s plans. Since the 757 planes have smaller fuel tanks, they typically carry just enough to get from Point A to Point B with little room for error. Unfortunately for Continental, strong winds averaged 47 knots in December, even hitting a high of 60 knots, compared to the standard 30 knots, according to The Wall Street Journal. This forced the planes to burn more fuel and stop at unannounced locations to refuel, which has the potential of delaying passengers for days if they miss their connecting flights.
Last month, United stopped 43 times to refuel during 1,100 flights into the U.S. By contrast, there were only 12 unscheduled stops for a similar number of flights the previous year. Although it’s not a safety issue, the Federal Aviation Administration said they are “aware that United aircraft have made more unscheduled fuel stops this year than last year, and are looking into the issue.”
The United-Continental merger in 2010 made the company the largest passenger airliner in world.