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Top Reasons for Flight Delays

What exactly is the probability that you will have a delayed flight? This question plagues most frequent flyers, but it’s difficult to find an answer. The result of this uncertainty and lack of knowledge has been frustration towards airlines for not being more transparent about their operations – after all, we’re paying good money! To help alleviate your frustrations (or just satisfy curiosity), here are the top reasons why flights may be delayed or canceled:

  • Weather

Yes, sometimes it is just a simple and unavoidable situation. You and the airline can do nothing about it. Sometimes the airports are built in extremely tough terrains, such as the Scandinavian countries or Canada, where there is too much ice. This hinders the movements of the air traffic. Or sometimes it can be just as simple as the wind pull is not favorable which causes the airplane to halt on the runway.

  • Passengers

More than often you may not realize, the airplane is delayed due to a fellow passenger’s late arrival or not showing at all. Yes, the passenger might be stuck in traffic or even got distracted at the airport and forgot the time. Thus by law, the airline has to unload the baggage of the passenger, resulting in delays.

  • Flight Crew

This can be explained through the ripple effect. The flight crew has a strict schedule to keep, but if for any of these reasons the flight was delayed. They cannot board the next flight or the connecting flight. This means the delay of flights may be seen in the consecutive other flights. 

  • Boarding Passengers

You must think when you have a reserved ticket and you arrive on time, how can this be a problem? But as there are people who want to board first there are also people who prefer to board last. So from the time of announcement and the last call to the board can cause delays.

  • Food

There should be sufficient food for all the passengers on the flight. This is necessary, but sometimes the catering team who’s making sure of this runs late. Yes, this happens sometimes which also causes some delay time.

  • Air Traffic Restrictions

Air travel is increasing day by day, thus it is getting crowded in the skies. Some of the busiest airspaces like Atlanta ATL, Chicago ORD, or Dallas DFW, have a lot of regulations. Then due to the weather conditions (storm or rain), your flight can also be delayed. Thus the air routes are constantly being monitored and changed for safety.

  • Getting Security Clearance

There are a lot of checks that need to be performed before the flights can take off. Like pilots need the prepare the aircraft for takeoff, ATC needs to give clearance of runway, the airline dispatch or control center will decide the routes, weather condition, etc. These affect the timing of airplanes indefinitely.

  • Fixing a Mechanical Issue

It is not uncommon for a flight to get delayed by a mechanical issue. As airplanes are subject to strict maintenance, thus necessary. Some problems like water draining systems in winters, fuel or engine fan blades, etc. These issues can be easily fixed but nevertheless, cause little delays.

  • Weight Restrictions

As you would know this is a very common issue. There is something called MTOW which stands for maximum takeoff weight. This is comprised of luggage, fuel, food, etc. The MOTW is different for every aircraft defiantly, but also the same airplanes can have different MOTW, if they were on different continents, meaning one with higher sea altitude and the other lower.

  •  Bird Strikes

It is hard to believe, but a flight can be often delayed by a bird hit. It is calculated that approximately 13.000 bird strikes happen in the U.S every year. Most of these strikes happen during take-off or landing.

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Written by Salman Azhar

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