Confusion Across Board
Reports to the Aviation Safety Reporting System bear witness to this confusion even on the part of airline pilots. One pilot reported that, due to a forecast for a chance of thunderstorms, the captain and crew decided to increase the fuel on board. However, this extra fuel was not enough, and after dealing with severe thunderstorms, wind shear and "holding and vectors all over the place," the airplane had less than the fuel they would need to accept any further delays, and they communicated this to the controller. The reporting pilot's lack of understanding of responsibility in that situation is evident in his shocked comment that "they had no plan!" It seemed that this pilot assumed that the controller would be aware of their fuel state and, while dealing with all the other aircraft under his control, would have a plan in his back pocket to deal with their situation.