Airlines Padding Their Schedules To Be Officially "On Time"
Sherman Oaks, California
Yeah, now that you mention it, I have noticed that the scheduled flight times for several recent trips seemed too long and that, as a consequence, we landed "early."
Turns out, some U.S. carriers are padding the schedules -- for example, booking a 50-minute flight as a 75-minute flight -- so that they meet federal definitions for "on time" arrival, Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal writes.
The stratagem was previously used by the boys in Baggage Claim. As author Vince Staten explains in his highly readable Why Is The Foul Pole Fair?, the same can be perceived as shorter with a few sly touches.
Waiting in line does play with your head. Several years ago, the Houston airport found it was receiving an inordinate number of complaints about the baggage wait, even though it never took more than eight minutes to go from getting off the plane to grabbing the suitcase. The problem was that it was a one-minute walk to baggage and a seven-minute wait for luggage to come rolling into the baggage carousel. The airport had a simple solution: Baggage was moved further from the terminal. It was now a six-minute walk and a two-minute wait. The complaints stopped.
Pictured: Actor Patrick Dempsey at LAX, wondering if the layout of the terminal will trick him into thinking his baggage arrived early.