Why flight times are getting longer despite huge advances in aviation technology REVEALED | Travel News | Travel
Aviation has made mind-blowing progress over decades gone by.
There are more planes in the skies over the entire planet than ever before.
But despite monumental advances in technology, flights are slower now than they were half a century ago.
A flight from New York to Houston, Texas, took just two hours and 37 minutes in 1973.
But today the same flight takes three hours and 50 minutes.
London to Edinburgh takes 10 minutes longer, on average, than it did in the 1990s.
Madrid to Barcelona takes an extra 20 minutes, while New York to Chicago takes 50 minutes longer.
The main reason why flights are getting longer is due to fuel efficiency.
Airlines are instructing pilots to slow down in order to save on the cost of fuel.
Northwest Airlines provided a prime example of this in 2008 when it saved 162 gallons of fuel on a flight from Paris to Minneapolis when the flight’s average speed was reduced from 542 to 532mph.
The flight time increase of eight minutes saved the airline almost £300.
On the Los Angeles to Hawaii route alone, the airline saved £300,000 over the course of a year just by slowing down.
JetBlue saves £10.6m each year by adding less than two minutes on each flight, according to a 2008 Associate Press report.
Another major reason flight times are getting longer is due to a process called block padding or schedule padding.
To improve flight arrival records and prevent domino-effect delays, some airlines use a buffer which adds time onto the scheduled flight.
A flight scheduled for two hours might actually be one hour and 45 minutes.
Despite some planes taking longer to get from A to B than they used to, one pilot insists advances have been made.
Pilot Patrick Smith, author of Cockpit Confidential, said: “There are far, far, far more non-stop pairings than there used to be.
“Heck, in the 1960s, flying from London to Bangkok, you’d make four stops in a 707. “Nowadays, almost every two major cities in the world are connectable by, at most, one stop, and most are connected non-stop.
“New York-Shanghai; London-Beijing; Sao Paulo-Paris and so on. These were once multi-day itineraries.
“Today they are covered in 12 or 14 hours. There are flights going everywhere.”
While some flight times may be longer, flight safety has vastly improved over the past 50 years.
The chances of a mid-air collision, for instance, are significantly less than they were in the 1970s.