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Airlines Making Changes to Reduce Delays

September 7, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick

Jumping cat

It seems like not a day has passed this summer without word of record flight delays and cancellations making it onto the cable news channels, network television, or the travel blogs (mine included). Well, the airlines might finally be doing something about it. We’ve already seen changes in customer service personnel, but now the airlines are actually laying out plans that could reduce the delays and the congestion being experienced in airports around the country.

On a local Dallas news show on WFAA, American Airlines explained their plan in detail. Here is an overview:

  • Sell fewer seats; hold back seats on key flights during busy travel season.
  • Institute more effective measures for diverting flights to locations that will not cause system-wide delays.
  • Add 5 to 7 minutes of ground time between flights to make it easier for passengers to make their connecting flights.

Other carriers are taking similar steps. The Arizona Republic took an in depth look at US Airways’ plan to combat their delay problems, which includes moves to “extend its operating day by 30 minutes, spreading flights out more and making four more aircraft available as spares.”

So, what does all of this mean for travelers? Hopefully, it means airlines will see these plans through and others will follow suit, and we’ll see a substantial decrease in delays. However, I would like to note that practices such as holding back seats can lead to more expensive tickets. It’s good old supply and demand.

That said, I’m happy to see airlines recognize a problem and actually develop the means to fix it. Hopefully, we’ll all start getting to our destinations on-time a lot more of the time.

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