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Flaps30

Are Airline Flight Times Getting Longer>>

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I just saw my friend's itinerary for a flight from KPHL to KSFO in a few weeks. The flight leaves at 6:10 am, and the flight time is listed as 6 hours, 27 minutes!! This got me looking at other flights from Philadelphia to San Fran as well as KLAX. They are all around 6 hours plus. I seem to remember when westbound flights took from 5 to 5 and a half hours. Is this because pilots are slowing down to save fuel? Thanks. Tom

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I just saw my friend's itinerary for a flight from KPHL to KSFO in a few weeks. The flight leaves at 6:10 am, and the flight time is listed as 6 hours, 27 minutes!! This got me looking at other flights from Philadelphia to San Fran as well as KLAX. They are all around 6 hours plus. I seem to remember when westbound flights took from 5 to 5 and a half hours. Is this because pilots are slowing down to save fuel? Thanks. Tom
I can't speak for the US, but in europe flight times have been lengthened to account for potential delays - ATC and other. It's partly psychological. If there are no delays then passengers are pleased to have arrived early - if there are delays the passengers are still pleased to have arrived on time!

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I can't speak for the US, but in europe flight times have been lengthened to account for potential delays - ATC and other. It's partly psychological. If there are no delays then passengers are pleased to have arrived early - if there are delays the passengers are still pleased to have arrived on time!
The psychological part is probably a lot less than the operational part of factoring in probable delays so that you lower the chances of misconnecting passengers and downline delays awaiting a late plane. In fact, pilots are asked to try and not get to destinations early since that can result in ramp congestion when waiting on the ground for a gate to open up. Waiting on the ground at the end of a flight seems to displease passengers as well.

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In the paper it said some airlines started flying slower to conserve fuel. Something motorists have been doing for years.JimCYWG

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The psychological part is probably a lot less than the operational part of factoring in probable delays so that you lower the chances of misconnecting passengers and downline delays awaiting a late plane. In fact, pilots are asked to try and not get to destinations early since that can result in ramp congestion when waiting on the ground for a gate to open up. Waiting on the ground at the end of a flight seems to displease passengers as well.
I should have said published flight times. The airlines' internal operational flight times are something different.

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I should have said published flight times. The airlines' internal operational flight times are something different.
That's what I am talking about - the published or what we call "block" times. Companies will "overblock" flights, giving them plenty of margin over and above actual flight time so that even with airport delays, the flight can still arrive within its scheduled block and passengers can therefore still make their connections and subsequent flights for that aircraft will not be pushed back into a delay. It is an operational necessity these days and has nothing to do with psychology.

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I just saw my friend's itinerary for a flight from KPHL to KSFO in a few weeks. The flight leaves at 6:10 am, and the flight time is listed as 6 hours, 27 minutes!! This got me looking at other flights from Philadelphia to San Fran as well as KLAX. They are all around 6 hours plus. I seem to remember when westbound flights took from 5 to 5 and a half hours. Is this because pilots are slowing down to save fuel? Thanks. Tom
Thanks guys for the feedback. I never thought about lengthening the flight time to accomidate delays. I thought it was strictly a fuel saving / cost tactic whereby slower speeds mean less fuel consumption. Tom

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I've read somewhere that some airlines--Southwest for one--are slowing cruise speeds down by a few tenths of a mach to save fuel. But yeah, overall it's more of a scheduling thing. And with fuel prices going down these days, the fuel-cost savings may not be of the utmost priority anymore.Just my 2 cents.

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I've read somewhere that some airlines--Southwest for one--are slowing cruise speeds down by a few tenths of a mach to save fuel. But yeah, overall it's more of a scheduling thing. And with fuel prices going down these days, the fuel-cost savings may not be of the utmost priority anymore.Just my 2 cents.
I can't speak for any other airline, but when I was still with Skybus before they went belly up, we had to extent blocks in an attempt to save 1 1/2 - 3% fuel costs in the 319. I suspect most, if not all airlines have at least given it a shot. By reducing cruise speed by .4 and pushing the reserve limits we saved about 3%/flight on the Jax -> Columbus route. As for the current drop in fuel costs, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Many airlines bought the fuel they are using now several years ago. I know Southwest, for example, is currently burning fuel paid for in 2005.

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