Flight times extended by major airlines to avoid payouts: Report
London : Plane journeys are taking longer than a decade ago, according to a report that claims the change is due to airlines "padding" their schedules to create an impression that passengers are reaching their destinations on time.
The report by London-based travel guide, Which?, carriers were adding extra time to flight schedules, in some cases up to 30 minutes, to ensure they maintain punctuality and are therefore less likely to be liable for compensation payouts, the Guardian reported on Monday.
A majority of flight routes are advertised as taking longer than 10 years ago, despite improvements in aircraft technology, the report found.
Researchers examined average flight times for 125 routes operated by large airlines in 2009 and compared them with last year.
They found that 76 routes, 61 per cent, are now slated to take longer; with 87 per cent of British Airways flights analysed found to be slower. That proportion is 82 per cent for Ryanair, 75 per cent for Virgin Atlantic and 62 per cent for easyJet.
British Airways flights from Heathrow to Bangkok, New York and Singapore were extended by 20 minutes, and a Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to Newark Liberty airport, New Jersey, now takes an average of 35 minutes longer.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: "Passengers are likely to feel that schedule padding is another case of airlines pulling the wool over their eyes. Instead, longer scheduled flight times are likely to mean passengers spend more time sitting around at the gate or on the plane itself, just so the airline can pat itself on the back for being 'on time' at your destination."