Airlines like to schedule their aircraft to fly as much as possible, as this is best economically. Sometimes planes are unexpectedly grounded with maintenance needs and if it is for a number of days, replacement planes are needed.

Certain operators provide aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance and are referred to as ACMI operators. They essentially have aircraft for hire for short periods of time, which airlines use to cover any unexpected requirements.

Replacement Planes or Being Re-Routed?

In Europe, ACMI operators like Wamos Air and Privilege Style are seen filling in from time to time. These aircraft are configured differently to what passengers are used to. Sometimes they are crewed by the airline’s own crew, other times they have their own crew provided.

Some passengers really don’t care what they fly on, as long as they get to their destination on time. Other people really don’t like replacement planes at all and will change their flights to avoid them.

What Is Cheaper?

For airlines, if it is only one flight disrupted, passengers will be put onto the airline’s services the same day or next day, ideally. If the need is for a block of time, such as a week, it is more cost effective and less disruptive for an aircraft to be hired in.

It means the schedule can continue to be operated with minimal impact to customers. Additionally, it also reduces disruption and the need for people to be moved to other flights, which can potentially mean connecting over other cities.

Overall Thoughts

It begs the question, do you prefer to be put onto replacement planes hired in? Or would you prefer to be re-routed on another airline, possibly via another connecting city? Perhaps you’d rather wait until you can be put onto another flight on the same airline?

If you’ve experienced this kind of change to your travel plans, I’d be interested to hear your experience and preferences. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Rui Miguel on via Wikimedia Commons.
Wamos Air A330 by Russell Lee via Wikimedia Commons.
Wamos Air Cabin via Wamos Air.