I have to admit I’ve often wondered why myself but based on a episode that cost Air Canada a mint back in the day I’m not willing to f..k up the magic by disobeying the Transportation Safety Board.
I was working 113 a flight that went from Ottawa to Calgary and on to Vancouver. It was a major connection flight to the Far East. Everything was great – good weather, flight came in on time from Halifax, boarding started at the assigned time. Last passenger is on board and I give the okay to close the doors. Captain says – wait a minute I’ve lost my signal to the tower and company dispatch. The radio mechanic goes on board and tries to work his magic: nothing. Going to have to replace the radio equipment in the cockpit which will be a major delay. We deplane passengers and make the necessary announcements to a group of less than happy people.
Radio chap goes back on board to do the replacement – does a test and low and behold the radio works just fine. He talks to the tower, he talks to Company Dispatch – for all I know he talked to his mother in Manotick. We are now 40 minutes late and there are connecting passengers going to Beijing, Hong Kong and Bangkok but if we leave right away it should be okay. We round up the crew, reboard the flight and I give the okay to close the door. Again nope, not going to happen: no radio signal! Panic calls to Maintenance in Montreal – well there goes the Hong Kong connection. Central Maintenance in Winnipeg get involved – forget getting to Bangkok today. I’m told that they will have to find a replacement aircraft – there goes every bloody connection on the aircraft. As the, by now very understandably upset, passengers disembark a young lad goes by the Flight Attendant mindlessly bopping to the beat of the music on his brand new Walkman radio. And minutes later the radio crackles into life when Control makes a final attempt to contact them. The flight left fifteen minutes later.