The delayed flights are one of the most frustrating situations that users of the plane face, especially if it is a business flight or an important appointment. If you fly often you may have found yourself in this situation: the flight is delayed but the pilot announces by the public address that they will arrive on time. How is it possible?
Perhaps you have assumed that the plane will fly faster to make up for lost time. But it’s not like that. Flying faster means consuming more fuel, and that is not possible in airplanes where they adjust to the maximum up to the last kilo of weight. Did you know that pilots have a trick to recover time on a delayed flight?
The problem with delayed flights is that they generate a domino effect. A delay requires delaying the next flight and a large number of people are affected.
As we have said, flying faster is not the solution. For example, an airplane like the Dreamliner B787 flies at a speed of about 1042 km/h. If only the speed increased 10 km/h, to 1052 km/h, that would mean consuming between 500 and 1000 liters more fuel, which would add as many kilos of weight to the plane. And that assuming they fit in the deposit.
The trick of the pilots to recover time in a flight with delay is, simply, to reduce the route. It may surprise you to learn that airplanes do not fly in a straight line from one airport to another. To avoid congestion, certain areas sensitive to noise, turbulence, or bad weather, the routes of the planes are composed of several crossing points that are usually crossed in zigzag.
When departing late, the pilot asks permission to the control tower to shorten the route. That is to say, skipping some point of step. If you get the permit, the plane will travel less distance and you can reach your destination on time.
Sometimes the opposite situation occurs: a plane leaves at its own time and arrives much earlier. This is because the time of flight depends on the weather and the routes of the winds, which in the aeronautical jargon are called jet streams. Depending on the winds, the arrival time can vary in a few minutes.