Sunday, September 19, 2010

Revealed - five secrets of airlines to hide delays

Travel Inside, a Swiss travel magazine, reported beginning of September that Easyjet could improve its performance in August in Switzerland (Basel and Geneva) remarkably. More than 90% of all departures were on-time within 1 hour. What? ONE HOUR DELAY is still on-time? Would you consider your flight to be on-time with a delay of one hour? IATA thinks differently and defines a threshold of 15 minutes.

Airlines only cheat themselves with this policy. They waste their own very costly resource, their aircraft fleet, and even forget about knock-on effects.

There are many tricks of airlines (and airports) to hide real delays. Here are five of them:

1) Reschedule a flight; just publish a new scheduled time of departure, inform every passenger and you are done. It is a bit of a cancellation, but nicer done. A practice not really standard, but seems to work.

2) Compare off-chocks to estimated time of departure; instead of scheduled time of departure (STD), compare off-chocks with estimated time of departure (ETD) in your statistics. Saves you quite some delays.

3) Use your own standard to define when a flight is delayed; like Easyjet did with counting a flight as on-time when it is delayed for up to one hour.

4) Cancel a flight (or just not operate it); this is a very neat one. You can cancel delayed flights because of technical issues or weather conditions. Always works.

5) Change off-blocks time after take-off; some airlines use that, in particular internally, if not being monitored. Being very obvious, this magic is used with care, sometimes with the explanation that the time was not correct in ACARS.

Do you know more tricks? Happy to hear them.

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