Why Are Scheduled Flights So Often Delayed?

 

As a business owner you know the importance of time management and perhaps live by a schedule. Yet as a business traveler, you’ve likely encountered flight delays, and maybe have even asked yourself why me? To satisfy your curiosity we look at what’s behind those pesky delays.

What Causes Flight Delays
Flight delays are caused by bad weather, mechanical issues, excessive runway traffic, overbooking and bumping. These problems occur with the greatest frequency on the most popular flight paths and at peak hours. The good news is the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) maintains a database known as the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). RITA tracks all of this information, so travelers can look up flight numbers to discover which flights and airports are chronically delayed.

Chronic Delays
Delays are such a widespread problem that the BTS has a strict definition of what constitutes chronically delayed. Flight routes are considered chronically delayed if 50 percent of arrivals are delayed longer than 30 minutes. The BTS keeps track of all this information in monthly reports. In 2011, the worst offender was the flight path between Newark’s Liberty International Airport and the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. According to federal statistics from the BTS, this flight was delayed by 59 minutes every time it flew.

Delayed Airlines and Airports
Certain airlines and airports are prone to delays. Most major airlines monitor delays and performance, but this information can be hard to find when the numbers aren’t positive. Scheduled flights between major air hubs are more likely to be delayed than those departing from secondary cities. Likely culprits for delays include flights leaving from Chicago’s O’Hare, Newark, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and the two airports in New York City, JFK and LaGuardia. These hectic airports experience more chronic delays than any other air hubs in the country. Some of the smaller airports had problems with the weather in winter when there was snow. That is why more of them are turning to commercial modular buildings for their additional construction needs.

Avoiding Delays

Whether frequent delays are 15 minutes or one hour, most passengers and business travelers want to know how to avoid delays and get to their destination on time. Whenever possible, connecting flights should be avoided. If there is a delay before travelers reach their connecting flight, it can create a domino effect that impacts appointments and secondary travel arrangements. To avoid complications, passengers should travel with carry-on baggage only. If luggage isn’t checked, it’s much easier to change flights and travel plans. Laws require passengers to fly on the plane that is carrying their luggage. With checked luggage, bags can become lost in transit. This makes it more difficult to change flights.

Compensation for Delays
To avoid delays, passengers should not purchase tickets for rush-hour flights or the last flight of the day. Passengers who are caught on a delayed flight route should request meal vouchers for a short-term delay and accommodation vouchers if the flight is canceled or the delay will be more than eight hours. Unlucky passengers have been trapped on grounded planes for hours. New laws mandate that airlines cannot keep passengers on the plane during extended delays. However, there is no standard rule for delays where passengers are stuck in the terminal.

To have the best travel experience, passengers should leave extra time and plan for delays that could impact meetings and appointments on the other end. Passengers can monitor travel delays by checking in with flight attendants and gate personnel or signing up to receive electronic flight notifications.

 

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