If you’ve ever had to travel via airplane you would have probably experienced that announcement over the air stating that ‘There has been a delay in flight number ABC.’ These delays are occasionally one of those unavoidable factors associated with air travel.
There could be a number of reasons what a flight may have been delayed. Some possible reasons might include the flight not bring at the departure gate in time, in addition to other possible reasons which might include mechanical or instrument related issues.
The factor mostly affecting air travel delays is the occurrence of poor weather conditions. Whenever a flight is late in excess of 15 minutes or more beyond its initial scheduled arrival and departure time it is said to be experiencing a delay.
Various Airlines however are not in the habit of scheduling standard times between arrival and departure points as they themselves are responsible for the time taken which is determined by factors including, the specific time of day, their marketing strategies in place and a number of other issues. This has resulted in several airlines scheduling an extended period into their flights to factor in conditions relative to the air traffic control systems.
The office of the Federal Aviation Regulations was specifically developed to protect the customers traveling on airlines. Many commercial aircrafts have in place strict rules and regulations regarding operations in an area affected by severe weather conditions. Typically an aircraft will not be able to initiate takeoff or landing procedures if the current visibility experienced at the existing airport is forecast at or beyond a specific distance which is usually no less than one half of a mile.
Many airliners are exceedingly cautious to prevent any instance of passenger injury which could be the result of operating the airline in bad weather conditions. More than 50 percent of instances involving air turbulence will occur at height of over 30,000 feet during which over 46 percent of all passenger related injuries are as a direct result of turbulence experienced.
Since 1985 the Department of Transportation has seen most major airlines as the subject of personal injury lawsuits involving passengers totaling over 37 million dollars. This has resulted in most airline operators to implement strict measures to delay flights in the event of weather forecasts indicating poor and unfavorable weather conditions.
The Department of Transportation has observed in its report that the summer months are typically the worst months in which airlines will generally issue the most instances in delayed flights. This is primarily due to the fact that summer months with their increasing heat will give rise weather conditions where the atmosphere is filled with humidity. These conditions are generally seen as producing severe thunderstorms, lightening and increased turbulence within the atmosphere. This will result in Air Traffic Controllers delay and even halt air traffic completely for several hours until more favorable weather conditions are experienced.
Poor weather conditions experienced during the winter months has greatly affected not only visibility but also landing capability respective to existing ice formed on the runways. This has often resulted in airlines rerouting to other airports or sitting at the end of the runway waiting for departure clearance.
Unfavorable weather conditions affecting a specific airport can greatly impact on several flights hundreds of miles away as flights originally destined for that airport will have to be rerouted to other adjoining airports with more favorable weather conditions which can often have a negative effect on the passenger’s schedule.
When planning your next trip it is always advised to closely monitor the existing weather conditions relative to your departure airport and destination to ensure a smooth and safe trip.