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Is it fair that airlines pad arrival times?

Is it fair that airlines pad arrival times?

Credit: AP

by TERRI GRUCA / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on April 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 20 at 2:12 PM

They are the answers we all want to know about which airline to fly. Each year Wichita State University joins forces with Purdue University to analyze Department of Transportation data on airlines. They look at which airlines do the best job getting bags to their destination and which tend to arrive and depart on time. It’s what they call Airline Quality Rating or AQR.

There was a lot of talk last week about which airlines did the best to get people to their destinations on time.
According to the study Hawaiian airlines had the best arrival times with a 92.1% on time arrival rating. Southwest ranked second with 83.1%. And overall the industry did better last year than in 2008 with on time arrivals 79.4% of the time compared to 76% of the time in 2008.
But last year USA Today looked at how much flight times have been padded over the years. It was a fascinating look at how the same trip appears to take much longer these days.
For example their analysis found the same American flight from Miami to Los Angeles is 15 minutes longer than in 1995, the same American flight from New York to Los Angeles 28 minutes longer than in 1995 and the same Delta flight from New York to Washington, DC 22 minutes longer than in 1995.
This year the AQR study found American Airlines improved their on-time arrivals to 77.2% compared to 69.8% in 2008, Delta 78.6% in 2009 compared to 76.4% in 2008.
USA Today found, “While an airline may or may not be able to fudge its departure times, it's just about impossible to conceal a late arrival (which by the way, the DOT defines as 15 minutes or more). So remember: When you research a carrier's on-time performance, the best advice is to focus on arrivals rather than departures. The reality is that most passengers aren't concerned about leaving on time nearly as much as they are about getting there on time. And the airlines know this too. That's why more and more flights have that little extra wiggle room built right in. And the airlines know this too. That's why more and more flights have that little extra wiggle room built right in.”
Does it bother you that flight times appear to be padded?
Or would you rather airlines do that so you at least you know how much time out of your day you can expect a trip to take?
Share your thoughts below.

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