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Airlines Save Big Money by Slowing Down

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New York to Houston takes over an hour longer now than it did in 1973. This is despite the fact there have been huge advances in aircraft technology. Carriers are instructing their pilots to slow down to save money. (www.dailymail.co.uk) More...

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woodrich
woodrich 6
Looks like they compare take off-to-landing times from 1973 to gate-to-gate times today. New York to Houston is ~1200 nm, flying that at 500 knots takes 2:24 hours. Today's planes capable of flying this distance in 1:24 hours at 857 knots are not really built to cater to the airlines. Hardly any of them have more than two seats.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle 6
OK sure. We used to fly at .78 rather than .82 for savings. Don't forget they are also padding schedules to pretend they are on time more than they really are....
mjfinney
mjfinney 2
Did anyone perform a sanity check on this article? This just jumped out to me as BS!

Flying from New York to Houston in 2 hours and 37 minutes!!! If you assume 15 min on the ground on each side, you would need to average Mach 1 over the flight! If you had ZERO time on the ground, you would need to average 0.8... AVERAGE speed!

I attempted to fact-check and my results primarily point to math errors on the part of the author, amongst other errors.


How many folks here believe that the author did NOT convert the time zones?
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle 2
Maybe this is what passes for "journalism" nowadays, in this era of fake news and propaganda. No reason to check facts or sources......
travistx
travistx 3
It's The Mail, so...
btweston
btweston 2
That's quite an accusation, given what this article is about. You might be overreacting.
kdurbin
Kris Durbin 2
The only thing that is padded is the schedule that's publicly communicated by each airline -- which isn't even real. In real life, every ground action is meticulously coordinated down to the minute, but can be hampered by ground holds or other clearance delivery issues. Those facts are irrelevant to this story. The interesting fact here is that airlines are saving money in an amount greater than the burdened labor costs incurred by the extra minutes of flight time while traveling at slightly slower speeds.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle 8
Agreed, the flight plan times are accurate, but the "gate-to-gate" times are complete fiction.
byoungblood
Bart Youngblood 5
As a controller, I see this much more often in regional jets than mainline aircraft. It becomes readily apparent when there is miles in trail to an airport and there's an Envoy or Acey loafing along 20-40 knots slower than everyone else. It isn't uncommon to find them flying at .69-.7 Mach when the aircraft is capable of doing .76-.78 Mach.

If anyone else has their speed pulled back, it usually isn't by much. Maybe .02-.03 Mach at most. As mentioned in the article, they don't save that much on an individual flight, but it adds up across the entire fleet over the span of a year.
erisajd
erisajd 1
no big deal there - "Envoy 5674, say indicated airspeed?

"Mach .70"

"Roger, for spacing, increase to Mach .74"

all they can do is say 'unable;' they they'll get dropped down to FL290 for a while - where the fuel burn is higher than it would be at M74

Of course, back in the day the 737-200 could only go M72 . . .
ssobol
Stefan Sobol 3
The problem with padding the schedule to look better is that quite often the flight lands early and then has to wait for the gate to open up. So the gate to gate time isn't that much better. Granted the plane is on the ground and waiting for the gate rather than still in the air. But still, it's not a great as it sounds.
rattler13
rattler13 1
There is a trade off $$$ saved in fuel, more time on airframe and engines, Which saves you more go fast normal cruise, save time and money on maintenance or show how much you save in fuel. A shell game.
usrepeaters
Rob Palmer 1
Is this new? I flew 6 years ago on U.S. Air Maine to Atlanta thru Philly, and my trusty GPS cocked in the window gave 350 FL with 424 MPH on an Embrear 175. Always take my GPS to know what they are doing. This also reduces strain (wing loading) upon the wing and airframe.
onefastskater
Mark Riley 1
I've noticed the same thin. 85K Delta MQM's last year, all domestic, and I've noticed that we almost never arrive early any more. Even traveling west against heavy head winds and getting to the gate late, they will not burn more fuel. To Delta's credit I was at DFW headed back to ATL and the added 1K lbs. of fuel to overcome a schedule delay.

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