So who runs out of Deicing fluid in Fargo North Dakota in January? Yeah, Delta does!

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delta deice jet renespoints blog

A reader passed along this little gem and just made my head hurt. You see, in Fargo ND (FAR), in winter, it apparently snows. I know, right? Just shocking. Who knew? I am also told that since winter is cold there, and it snows, the airport needs a decent supply of deicing fluid on hand for commercial airplanes.

I have never flown into FAR but all the “Big 3” airlines (well regional partners that is) fly in and out of the airport including United, AA and Delta. Now like my smaller home town airport of SBN the ground crew that runs things is DGS or Delta Global Services that is owned by Delta CORP.

Well, according to it seems DGS ran out of fluid and the Delta PR rep confirmed this. But, reading on, you will see there WAS fluid to be had since private jets were taking off and getting deiced. According to a source I talked to it may have been a payment issue on the supply side but I could not confirm this. Either way, major fail on Delta’s part.

lots of pizza boxes

So what did they do? Clearly they cannot any longer send folks out on AA after the interline agreement is over so that leaves United and Delta. Oh, they got Pizza for everyone.

Let me go off topic (sorta) here for a minute. I love pizza as much as the next guy (maybe even a bit more). But since when does ordering pizza for those stuck either in the airport or on a jet make it “all better” when if this happened in Europe, under EU261 rules, the airline would be paying out BIG BUCKS in compensation. Maybe it is time for a US261 rule to be put in place. I think most folks will take CASH over a pepperoni pie – don’t you?

Back to the topic of the day. We all know Delta, and the other airlines, will mislead and all but deceive us about the facts of what is wrong and blame the weather. After all, years ago I caught Delta red handed when they blamed the weather when the jet was in fact broken. I bet this happens more often than we know.

So what do you think? Did Delta do enough by just getting the passengers out when they could later on as well as buying them pizza or should they have done more. Much more maybe? – René


  1. Don´t get me wrong – I want airline crews to be able to make decisions regarding weather cancellations/delays. However, I have witnessed first hand on several occasions how airlines abuse this discretion. Example: on a recent United flight from JAX to IAD, the pilot and mechanic approach the gate agent after a two hour delay and announce ¨this planes not going anywhere. We need a new gonkulator (whatever) and we need to fly one in from Chicago. I will call dispatch.¨ Next thing you know, the flight is cancelled for ¨weather.¨ The problem is that there is no reason for airlines NOT to do this. Who sanctions them? NO ONE. What choice do we have as passengers? On many routes, NO CHOICE. So what incentive do airlines have to play fair and be honest. NONE

  2. Last sun 1 and 1/2 hours late leaving JIA for MSP plane there but on Tarmac not gate . We were told grd crews to busy to move but called DL told weather delay –not true prob a work union slow down as sun am in Jax -JIA pretty dead compared to other airports!!

  3. Two weeks ago on a flight from DTW to TVC, we were told we had to de-ice. It was above freezing, but there were a few snow flakes in the air. After traveling past machines just sitting there, we lined up to what it looked like the only working machine. This must have been a class teaching new people how to work the machine, because the plane was de-iced three times. An hour later, we finally took off with no explanation as to the delay!

  4. @Dave from Burnsville, MN – I think I mentioned all the airlines play the “weather card” and thanks for being a loyal blog reader Dave! 😉

  5. Last year I was flying out of our little airport IMT on the first of only 2 Delta flights per day. We waited 45 minutes on the ground because the deicing fluid was frozen. How ironic. And because of a tight schedule, I missed my connecting flight. I laugh at it now but I wasn’t happy on that morning!

  6. A few years ago I was on a flight from Calgary to Denver on UA. It was mid-January and like FAR it is cold and snowy. Boarded the plane and almost immediately the FA made announcement that once all pax on board we would go for de-icing. Temperature at the time was -20C (about 0F). All pax aboard and we wait, and wait and wait some more. Other carriers’ planes leaving and arriving. No explanation from seat 0A or 0F. The short version is that de-icing fluid, per UA pilot, comes in two different versions – one for -20C and above, the other for -20C and below. Since this was an early morning flight, the temperature dropped below -20C while in boarding process so we had to wait for the temperature rise to -20C. It occurs to me that Calgary probably is colder on many mornings than -20C. Probably UA ran out of -20 and below de-icing fluid and no one would loan them any!

  7. I had the same thing happen to me at MDW a couple of years ago. Early flight out, ran out of deicer. Gate staff tried to play it off that it was just such a terrible winter and that nobody could have been prepared for all the weather issues (in Chicago, where winter is a given). Meanwhile during this “unprecedented storm” we sat for 6 hours and watched Southwest flights taking off one after the other with no issues at all.

  8. And please also realize that Delta ran out on probably one of the most important days of the year for a Fargoian: The Bison football team from NDSU were playing in the finals in Frisco 2 days later and MANY fans were supposed to fly out the day Delta ran out of deicer!
    I am sure people were irate which I think is justified.

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