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Airlines pad flight times to seem more punctual, avoid payouts: study

If you’ve ever wondered why your flights consistently arrive at their destinations on time, despite often departing later than they should be, this could well be the answer... (and it isn’t because pilots speed up). 



A report by UK magazine Which? suggests that major carriers have added up to 30 minutes to journey times over the past ten years to pad their punctuality records and help reduce the possibility of paying compensation to passengers for delays. 


According to the report, plane journeys are, on paper, taking longer than they did a decade ago, despite the improvements in plane technology. 


The study looked at 125 routes by large airlines in 2009 and compared them to 2017, after which it found that six in ten (61%, or 76 routes) were now scheduled to take longer. 


Of the major airlines operating in the UK, 87% of British Airways were found to be ‘slower’ followed by 82% of Ryanair flights, 75% of Virgin Atlantic flights and 62% of easyJet services. 


Despite pushing their flight times out though, the report found that airlines were still often operating behind schedule, with easyet recording a 10% fall in punctuality over the eight-year period.


In their defence, airlines told Which? their planes were flying more slowly to reduce fuel consumption, while BA said busier skies and previous over-optimistic flight taxi times were partly to blame.  


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 27 August 2018

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