Went flying this morning (gorgeous day for it — pressure of 30.50 is probably the highest I’ve ever flown in). Had an unprecedented delay out of my local Class C airport. There were 10 planes in queue just to taxi, several at the end of both runways, and it was almost a 10 minute wait to get a clearance. At one point Ground said that traffic was stacked in 30-nm separation into the airport. I thought they said it was stacked out that far (normal VFR separation is 3 miles) and knew from how few planes I saw moving, that there was no way this made sense. Finally I realized they meant 30 nm between planes, which isn’t very fast throughput.The problem cascaded to the ground, not the air. Planes were supposed to be leaving their gate, but couldn’t get a clearance to leave, so the planes coming in could not park. At one point there were three planes sitting in a line on a taxiway just sitting. I still don’t know what the issue was (plan to ask some folks), but as a VFR departure in an IFR (wo)man’s world, I know that we were ignored and last in line.Twice someone called on the frequency and asked point blank, “may I ask what is causing this separation?” Both times, Ground Control refused to answer. Just ignored them. Said zero. Several planes said, “I’m ready to taxi and I’ve got my engines running” — the unspoken message being, “This is causing my (already bankrupt) airline a boatload of money in fuel, can you hurry things up?“Now ATC/Ground has every right to delay aircraft, hold them up, penalize them for being rude, or just ignore them. It’s their call. And I can’t help but think this is similar to most business executives. They have every right to say and do what they want. But just because the authority is there doesn’t make it good communication, and certainly not good business. I’m reminded of a sign I saw in the Continental Airlines pilot training center in Houston when I went there to do some (very fun!) training in a Boeing 737 simulator. It read (paraphrased): “Passengers can handle lost luggage, weather delays, bad food, maintenance problems, and cramped seats. But the WILL NOT TOLERATE not being told what their status/situation is. Get on the intercom and tell them what is going on.“Same is true in business. People want to know what’s going on. As much as you are able, you are wise to inform them.
Tell people why when things affect them.