Business Travel Blog

A Summary on Padding

Airplane technology is getting better, but flight lengths have gotten longer. Schedule padding, otherwise known as padding, gives airlines additional time to complete a journey in an effort to keep flights punctual despite potential delays. 

In lieu of improving services, airlines have taken previous delays into consideration and accounted for them in padding. Consequently, airlines have little incentive to increase effectiveness; the pressure to be as fast as possible is lessened.  

Punctuality performance is important for airlines as ratings take that metric into account. Other motivations exist, such as compensation to passengers if a plane is more than two hours late to or from an airport in the European Union.

Even with padding, about one-third of journeys are late by 15 minutes or more. Nevertheless, while padding does assist airlines in punctuality performance, padding also has resulted in more money being spent on aviation fuel. It also results in a greater negative impact on the environment.

Additionally, as airspace becomes more crowded, some speculate that flight times will increase. Enhancing air traffic control is one idea in increasing effectiveness. 


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