Home > Travel > Flight Delayed? The Weather’s to Blame Less Than 1% of the Time

Comments 0 Comments

Weather isn’t what’s delaying most of our flights. In fact, when a plane is more than 15 minutes late, it’s mostly due to system glitches. Weather only accounted for less than one percent (.68%) of airline delays, compared to other causes, such as aircraft arriving late (7.91%), air carrier delays (6.1%) and National Aviation System delays (5.85%), according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ June data.

Reasons for the top but very vague category of “aircraft arriving late,” are specified in the report as caused when “a previous flight with same aircraft arrived late, causing the present flight to depart late.”

It is often caused by antiquated air traffic control systems, according to Vaughn Jennings, a spokesperson for the Washington trade group Airlines for America, which represents most airlines.

“Right now, relying on antiquated air traffic control technology is costing passengers and airlines $30 billion annually in delays and cancellations,” Jennings said.

“The FAA is making significant progress modernizing the world’s most complex aviation system,” Tammy L. Jones, a spokesperson for the Federal Airline Administration (FAA), said. According to the FAA website, its NextGen modernization program is making upgrades, including shifting from radar to GPS, or satellite-tracking systems, for air traffic control.

Interestingly, the FAA is also offering $500 to help private planes upgrade, if they’re going to be flying in controlled airspace to meet a conversion mandate by 2020.

The good news is that most flights (80%) arrived on time, up 5% from last June, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But it’s air carriers that are on the hook for the second largest reason for delays, meaning the delays are “due to circumstances within the airline’s control,” such as maintenance or crew problems, aircraft cleaning, baggage loading, fueling, etc.

The third biggest reason for those draggy wait times are due to the National Aviation System’s glitches stemming from non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume and air traffic control.

Make it Better for Yourself

It’s usually no fun to wade through crowds, lugging your baggage like a ball and chain around the airport while waiting for your delayed flight. But you can make travel easier on yourself and your travel budget by flying on less popular days, such as Mondays and Thursdays, and picking less crowded fringe airports, like Long Island MacArthur instead of JFK. And you can make wait times much more interesting for yourself if you download books or movies, and bring magazines that you’ve been meaning to read.

Before booking travel, it’s also important to check travel alerts about the country you’re considering. When booking travel, you may consider using credit cards that offer travel perks, as these cards may offer you access to exclusive airline lounges that you can enjoy while waiting for your flight. The best travel credit cards generally require you have good credit to qualify, so it may be a good idea to review your credit before you apply for one of these credit cards to get an idea of whether you’re eligible. You can see an overview of your free credit report, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

Image: furtaev

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team