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DeltaMD90
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What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:22 pm

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?
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tdscanuck
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:16 pm

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.
 
Soxfan
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:53 pm

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.)
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pilotpip
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:39 pm

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.
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dxing
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:27 am

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.
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DocLightning
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:20 am

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.
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dxing
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:15 am

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.
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Mir
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:46 am

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
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Sancho99504
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:31 am

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.....
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DocLightning
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RE: What's The Big Problem With Padding?

Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:14 pm

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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