Padded Airline Schedules Make for Longer Flights

Doesn’t a free trip to Cancun sound good? Yeah, it does, but when you book a ticket six days in advance the flight details are kinda gnarly. I’m not one to complain but I fly out of Bradley at 6 am and spend about four hours in Dallas. It’s only about 3 hours to Cancun but of course, nothing is ever as easy as one hopes when it comes to air travel.  It always takes so much longer some of wish we could just swim instead of spending that much time in the airport bars or mindlessly tapping on our laptops during a terminal wait.Last night I read a story in the WSJ about how airlines have increased the length of time for nearly all flights to pad the schedule by about 30 minutes. Thus, a flight from New York to LA that might have taken five and a half hours five years ago now clocks in at six and a half.

The delays aren’t weather related, it’s all about the waiting time on the tarmac. Planes in lines like cars, one after the other, all trying to take off. It seems that nobody in the airline business believes in congestion pricing, so they go with the will of the people who all want to leave at the same time. So the schedules are padded, and people can think that airlines’ on-time percentages are more impressive.