Friday, February 05, 2010

Flight times and arriving "on time"

Scott McCartney has a superb column in the WSJ, on how airlines have increased the scheduled time for so many of their flights. This way, you can, say, wait 45+ minutes to take off and still get to your destination "on time."

The notion of comparing year-to-year "on time performance" is pointless, because the figures don't factor this in. So you could (and do) have one particular flight regularly taking longer than it used to, with on time performance said to have gone up.

Among the losers in this whole situation: the airlines themselves. For various reasons, they have scheduled more flights than can currently actually be handled, even in perfect weather (particularly at the three NYC airports and Philly). Having their planes sitting on the ground waiting to take off is very expensive for them. They're willing to do it because they can still pretend the planes are "on time" -- and because it's in part a collective action problem that, for some of these airports, no one has forced them to solve.


Post a Comment

<< Home