Flights Getting Longer

The Wall Street Journal recently had a scary article. We all know about the congestion at airports, often firsthand. What’s crazy is that this increasing air traffic is leading airlines to increase their scheduled flying times, in order for flights to appear to be on time.

For example, United has added 33 minutes to its regular Philadelphia to San Francisco flight, compared with ten years ago. Delta added over 20 minutes to its New York to Fort Lauderdale route in the last 10 years. American has added 25 minutes to its N.Y. to L.A. route in the last 10 years. Most New York to D.C. flights are now blocked out at around 2 hours, even though the actual flying time is about 35 minutes, and this constitutes approximately a 50 percent increase over the scheduled time from 10 years ago.

A rough review of a couple dozen flights revealed that there is around 10 percent more time allotted to common flight routes, as compared with 1997. This schedule-padding allows airlines to trumpet “on time” flying, even though, according to the story, there’s 30 minutes or more of delay built right into that schedule.