Dilemma for airlines- be on time or wait for you?

Text: Toomas Uibo, Nordica's Head of Communications Photos: Haigal Osman, Suganth,/Unsplash.com Published: 28 | juuni | 2019

AIRLINES are becoming more and more like service companies, and revenue from all kinds of additional services is in constant growth. As a traveller, of course, we expect good service from every carrier- this is a legitimate expectation. Frequent flyers, however, know that all flights do not always go as planned. Last year, every fifth flight in Europe was delayed, with the average delay being a little under an hour, and there is no reason to hope for fewer delays this year. Why is it that regardless of the airline, we occasionally find ourselves in situations where we have to be disappointed as a passenger?

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Airlines have very precise statistics for each flight. For passengers, the most important thing is the punctuality of flights and their regularity. The first of these shows the percentage of flights departing within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. The second statistic shows the percentage of the total number of scheduled flights that actually take off. Unfortunately, no airline operates with 100% of flights happening and leaving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

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There is no one reason as to why this is the case. For each flight, the entire system, created by the airline and a number of support companies, has to work. Air traffic is growing year by year and the burden on both aerospace and ground handling is increasing. It is therefore sometimes difficult for an airline to wait for passengers who are late because a previous flight is delayed, although they would like to do so. Obviously, we all have a story or two about a nice bus driver who noticed we were rushing to the bus stop and politely waited for us. We look forward to this kind of caring service. That is why we are willing to pay more. In aviation, however, this expectation is much more complicated, even if the airline itself is ready to go the extra mile. Unlike bus companies, the airline needs to monitor the crew's working time to the minute, and there is no compromise here. Also, the departure must often take place within a very specific time window and if there is failure to do so, the next take-off permit can come after a few hours- all flights operated by this specific aeroplane would be delayed that day.

There have also been situations at Nordica where there is a desire and opportunity to bring delayed passengers home from a foreign airport, but the airport there has closed its gate on time and the service staff have moved on to the next job. We can only imagine the disappointment of the passengers when they see the aeroplane just a few dozen meters away, sometimes with the doors still open, but there is nothing that can be done in order to get home. In such cases, however, the flight crew are not entitled to allow passengers to board the aircraft without proper registration at the gate. Summer is a tough time in aviation. I recommend leaving a little bit more time between flights to mitigate risks of flight delays. It is also worth buying a single ticket that will take you directly to the final destination, not two or more separate tickets, because in the latter case you will not be compensated or rebooked for free to the end destination if you should miss a flight.

However, i assure you that we always wait for You whenever there is the possibility to do so."

Article was published in Nordica┬┤s in-flight magazine Time Flies (spring-summer 2019)