Reasons your flight might be delayed

January 2, 2014 |

Many businesses like to have a travel management company to organize cost-effective and efficient corporate travel. These companies are especially helpful during times when flights are likely to be delayed or canceled because they can help business travelers get to where they need to be with the least amount of stress on the individual and company.

During the winter and holiday season, it seems that flights are more likely to be delayed than at any other time of year. For example, one airline had to cancel 24 flights on December 22 and 23 due to a rampant cold and flu season in the Northwest that caused several flight attendants and pilots to call in sick to work. In a similar incident on December 26, a majority of the a large European airline's staff at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport called in sick during an abrupt strike.

Why is my flight delayed?

So what can derail your business travel? Strikes and illness are just two potential travel disrupters, but here are the main categories of causes of delayed flights according to the United States Department of Transportation, which tracks reasons for flight delays:

  1. National Aviation System: Delays and cancelations due to the NAS are caused by a variety of factors, including airport operations issues, air traffic control, heavy traffic volume or non-extreme weather conditions.
  2. Extreme weather: Cancelations or delays due to extreme weather include both actual or forecasted weather that, in the specific airline's judgment, prevents it from operating flights to and from certain places for a particular period of time. These extreme situations might include blizzards, hurricanes or tornados.
  3. Air carrier: These delays are due to circumstances that the particular airline has control over, including aircraft cleaning, baggage loading, fueling, crew problems or maintenance issues.
  4. Security: Cancelations or delays attributed to security include re-boarding the plane due to a security breach, evacuation of a terminal or concourse for safety reasons, broken screening equipment or lines that exceed a wait time of 29 minutes.
  5. Late-arriving aircraft: This cancelation or delay is reported when a previous flight using the same plane arrives late at the gate for various reasons related to weather, maintenance or security issues at a previous airport, for example.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has tracked this data since 2003. According to the data, in 2012, more than 70 percent of delays were caused by air carrier issues or aircraft arriving late. In contrast, security delays make up only about 0.1 percent of fight delays or cancelations. Representing the most drastic change, delays due to the NAS dropped from 36.5 percent in 2003 to 22.5 percent in 2012, though the reasons are unclear. Though it's reported that extreme weather accounts for only 4 percent of delays today, the number of delays due to any type of weather is likely to skyrocket if we tallied all weather delays.

While flight delays can be frustrating, your company can benefit from a travel management company that takes care of booking new flights for employees.