I’ve been noticing that flights, especially domestic, have been habitually late in the past year or so. It turns out that cutting costs, being under-staffed, and less airplanes may not be the whole problem.

Airlines are now “padding” their estimated arrival times to make it look like less flights are late.

Many delays are now simply being incorporated into schedules, at high cost to consumers and airlines. Congestion at airports and in the sky have forced airlines to pad their schedules more than ever so flights have a better chance of arriving “on-time,” which the Department of Transportation defines as within 15 minutes of the airline’s scheduled arrival time. Flights now arrive technically “on-time,” but with 30 minutes or more of delay written into the flight plan.

Add poor security, long lines, and drunks on top of everything else and you’ll see why the air carriers are struggling.

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