The Federal Aviation Administration allows for 15 minutes of extra time
beyond a flight's schedule departure before it is considered delayed.
Flight delays are frustrating, costly and a source of rage for the
passengers that are caught in them. Air carriers and airports have
introduced a number of technologies and methods to reduce flight delays,
and they have been met with some success.
Air travel is one of the most
important aspects of international commerce, and flight delays cost the
airline industry billions of dollars every year. Flight delays also cause
problems for travelers, as they can interfere with scheduled events. A
delay on the first leg of a trip can cost the flyer his reservations on
subsequent flights and prevent him from reaching his destination on time.
According to the Bureau of
Travel Statistics, many delays are caused by a problem with the air
carrier, such as "maintenance or crew problems, aircraft cleaning,
baggage loading, fueling, etc."
Modern planes are safe and can
withstand most weather conditions, but storms such as blizzards,
hurricanes and tornadoes will cancel flights. Severe thunderstorms can
delay flights, but in most cases planes are able to fly above the weather.
In addition, bad weather in one location may affect flights coming into
that area as well as leaving the area, so it can have a ripple effect
among many flights. The delays and cancellations because of weather are at
the discretion of the carrier.
Problems with security or
mandatory evacuations after an emergency clears terminals, can force
passengers to go through security again, causing flight delays.
Delays caused by faulty air
traffic control equipment or human misuse of equipment fall under this
heading. The U.S. National Aviation System accounted for delays involving
7.4 percent of all national flights in April 2009, according to the Bureau
of Transportation Statistics.