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What's The Big Problem With Padding?  
User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7978 posts, RR: 51
Posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 3281 times:

It's no secret that airlines will "pad" schedules (like allotting 1:30 for a 0:30 hour flight) and it's in a way, kind of deceptive. But from a customer stand point, I think it's better. When someone plans a flight, the departure time and arrival time are very important--you block off that time and expect to be at your destination at the scheduled time. Is it not better for the airlines to pad the schedule (to make them look better) and actually get to your destination on time (or early) than it is for them to be completely honest, you get a 30 minute delay, and miss your connection? Or is the big problem extreme padding?


Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3224 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Thread starter):
It's no secret that airlines will "pad" schedules (like allotting 1:30 for a 0:30 hour flight) and it's in a way, kind of deceptive.

I don't think it's deceptive at all...they're trying to nail down the true gate-to-gate time, which is what passengers actually care about and what determines the pace of flights. The actual flight time may only be a small part of the trip time, especially for congested airports and/or very short flights.

Tom.


User currently offlineSoxfan From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 870 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3208 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):

Correct, especially when flights are delayed. A slightly-delayed departure could still mean an on-time arrival, enabling connecting passengers to transition to their next flight without a problem. (It may also help with airline on-time statistics, but I think this is secondary.)



Pilot: "Request push, which way should we face?" JFK Ground: "You better face the front, sir, or you'll scare the pax!"
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3166 times:

Airlines have historical data to give an average time for the flight. It makes more sense to add time during busy periods where you might be affected by enroute flow or waiting for a gate on the ground.

What makes less sense is people giving themselves only 30 minutes to make a connection in extremely busy airports like ORD and ATL.



DMI
User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2894 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 3):
What makes less sense is people giving themselves only 30 minutes to make a connection in extremely busy airports like ORD and ATL.

That would be considered and "illegal" connect for most airlines.

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 3):
Airlines have historical data to give an average time for the flight. It makes more sense to add time during busy periods where you might be affected by enroute flow or waiting for a gate on the ground.

Yep. A quick check of schedules would probably show varying published times for the same city pairs.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20335 posts, RR: 59
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2864 times:

Padding also allows an airline to make up for late ops earlier in the day.

If you build 10 minutes into each block, and the aircraft flies six legs that day, then you have gained up to an hour "free" to catch back up if there's an unforseen delay.


User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2703 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
Padding also allows an airline to make up for late ops earlier in the day.

If you build 10 minutes into each block, and the aircraft flies six legs that day, then you have gained up to an hour "free" to catch back up if there's an unforseen delay.

Except it's not really done that way or for that reason. Padding will be used based on historical taxi times, enroute times, and several other operational reasons but using your formula you've got an airplane at rest for an extra hour a day and an airplane at rest is not generating revenue. Block time also represents other things inside the airline that have to be accounted for. If there is an unforseen delay the ac will either be swapped or just run late.


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2678 times:

Quoting dxing (Reply 4):
Quoting pilotpip (Reply 3):
What makes less sense is people giving themselves only 30 minutes to make a connection in extremely busy airports like ORD and ATL.

That would be considered and "illegal" connect for most airlines.

DL has offered me tight connections like that through ATL. I took it once - it was the only option that fit into my schedule - and it worked out alright. But I certainly wasn't banking on making it.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
Padding also allows an airline to make up for late ops earlier in the day.

If you build 10 minutes into each block, and the aircraft flies six legs that day, then you have gained up to an hour "free" to catch back up if there's an unforseen delay.

And therein also lies the downside of padding - if you schedule flights for more time than you really need, eventually you lose out on the opportunity to fly an extra leg with that airplane, meaning a loss of potential revenue.

Ultimately, it's a balance, and the airlines are pretty good about knowing how much time to add on for each flight. And there's really nothing deceptive about it at all - how often do you go on a car trip and say "hey, let's allow ourselves an extra half hour for traffic"? Same thing.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinesancho99504 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 575 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2319 times:

Case in point, I took DL1114 GSP-ATL with a block time of 1:08 for a 30 minute flight. STD 1645 STA 1753 ATD1642 ATA 1735. DL4993 ATL-OKC STD 2142 ATD 2142 STA 2300 ATA 2233 for a block time of 2:18 with a flight time of 1:51. Thats a lot of wasted time for each aircraft thats padded like that.....


kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20335 posts, RR: 59
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2235 times:

Quoting dxing (Reply 6):

Except it's not really done that way or for that reason

NW once did it and got their on-time statistics up above 90% in the early '90's.


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