In the USA, approximately 44,000 flights (1.66%) have already been cancelled this year, and over 5,000 have been diverted. Whilst in a numbers way this doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s still caused countless hours of anger and upset for the many passengers that have been caught up in delays and cancellations, but just how much will it all end up costing them? Quite a lot really.
Why flights are delayed?
Some of the number one reasons why flights turn up late include:
- Aircraft issues with maintenance.
- Short-staffed aircrafts.
- Aircraft cleaning in progress.
- Baggage loading.
- Aircraft refuelling.
- Extreme weather.
- Airline glitches.
- Air traffic congestion.
- Late aircraft arrivals.
- Security issues.
At Heathrow Airport in the UK, almost £3.5m is spent on offloading luggage belonging to passengers that have been too late in reaching the terminal in time. Around 50,000 minutes are thought to be wasted on this annually.
The airport has recently implemented a new smart boarding system, which sees passengers assigned electronic cards that hold all of their details. The cards can be swiped at the gates and can direct passengers to the correct terminal, or back to the check-in desk if they’re late for their flight.
The cards have been piloted and it’s been found that 44% of the participants were at risk of missing their flights, so it might not be all the airline’s fault when it comes to delays!
How much do flight delays cost airlines?
Airlines can pay a hefty price for delayed flights, as they must pay fines if domestic and international aircrafts sit on the runway for extended periods of time.
Direct Airline Operating Costs (DAOCs) show exactly how much an airline has spent on specific areas of business, and delays are a huge drain on airlines’ resources.
In 2012, extra fuel consumed by delays cost an additional $3.6m, paying for crew members (pilots and flight attendants) to work longer hours cost almost $1.5m, maintenance of delayed flights racked up a $1.1m charge and the cost of actually owning a delayed aircraft cost airlines almost $730k. ‘Other’ factors included in the increase in prices cost airlines nearly $250k, with the total bill amounting to around $7.2bn.
It’s not just the actual running of the delayed aeroplane that can end up costing airlines more though – airports also see the effects.
Delayed flights see an increase in passengers stuck in the airport, which means things can get much, much busier. It’s estimated that airlines spent billions of dollars on additional staff and extra gate openings in 2012 alone.
How much do flight delays cost passengers?
Many people think delayed flights are just an inconvenience for passengers, but this really couldn’t be any further from the truth. It’s thought that passengers foot a $16.7bn bill each year due to late flights.
However, it’s possible for passengers to claim compensation for their delay.
You might be able to seek compensation if you waited for over two hours, are expecting to travel over 932 miles and are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation (if you’re travelling with an EU-based airline or with a non-EU based airline from an EU airport).
Unfortunately, you won’t be entitled to compensation if your flight was delayed for severe weather and will have to find accommodation and food for yourself, if you’re expected to be delayed overnight.
Flight delays can be incredibly annoying, but they can also break the bank if you aren’t careful. Do you know anything else about how much they can end up costing?
This guest post was written by Aurora Johnson on behalf of Air Charter Service, a specialist private jet service in the UK.
[Images courtesy of jec.senate.gov and Shutterstock]