If you’ve ever had to suffer through a delayed or even cancelled flight, you know how frustrating it can be. However, as a passenger, you’re not the only one that’s being affected by a delayed flight. Whether your flight was delayed ahead of time or even after your board, there’s likely a good reason. Here are some of the top reasons why flights are delayed.
Weather is by far the most obvious cause of flight delays. If you look out the window, or check the weather of your destination city, you may be able to figure out on your own that there are weather conditions that would cause take off and landing to be dangerous. If it is raining, sleeting, or snowing you can likely expect some delays.
However, even if the weather seems okay on the ground, there could be unsafe conditions at the higher altitudes the planes fly at. Snow or rain have the chance of turning to hail or ice at great heights and these could damage the plane while it is in flight.
High winds associated with any kind of storm can also be extremely unsafe. Although a little turbulence is expected, high winds can cause much more dangerous turbulence. Another problem brought on by weather is low visibility. It can be too risky for planes to take off, land, or even fly is the cloud cover is too thick or there’s fog at ground level. You can expect more delays in the winter due to low visibility from snowstorms.
Waiting on Passengers, Crew, Bags, or Cargo
No one wants to be that passenger getting paged over the intercom at the airport because you’re running late. However, due to traffic or long security lines, it can happen to anyone. And you’re not the only one this can happen to. The crew, your luggage, and even cargo sometimes needs to be waited on. This can especially be the case if your flight is a connecting flight. Maybe the connecting passenger has already made it onto the plane, but their luggage hasn’t.
People and luggage aren’t the only things being loaded onto airplanes. There’s usually more cargo on planes than passengers realize. For example, the USPS leases cargo space on over half of commercial flights. Although waiting on cargo shouldn’t cause any major delays, it can still cause a kink in your schedule.
Other Flights Were Delayed
If other flights were delayed or cancelled, even if it was days prior to your flight, they can still cause more delays. The aviation industry’s schedule is like a long line of dominoes. If one flight has a major delay, it can cause a chain reaction of more delays. This is often called the “knock on” effect by aviation experts.
Before every flight, the airplane goes through a variety of inspections to make sure it is airworthy. During these inspections, if any issue is found at all, the plane will need to be fixed and reinspected before it can be declared airworthy. Depending on the mechanical trouble, this could be a quick fix or take hours. There is also the possibility that the one malfunction could lead to other problems or affect other parts of the plane. If the problem is too major, the airline may even replace the plane for your flight. If a replacement plane cannot be found, your flight might get cancelled altogether.
If you would like to learn more about what it takes to keep a plane airworthy, and the duties of a aircraft maintenance technician, contact NCI today!