FAA Report: Airline Delays Cost Passengers $16.7 Billion

Thanksgiving Flights

Better hurry with your Thanksgiving travel plans – and then hope you don’t run into any possible delays. They could cost you.

In fact, they could cost U.S. travelers $16.7 billion dollars a year. That is the staggering figure that a new Federal Aviation Administration-commissioned report puts on the cost of flight delays for passengers.

Watch Out for Delays

I love how the Washington Post wrote up this airline delays report: according to the paper’s Jia Lynn Yang, “There is now a dollar amount to put on the collective rage of U.S. airline passengers”.

How did they figure this out?

According to one of the researchers – a University of California at Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor – data was collected from delayed flights during 2007, when 1 out of 4 four domestic flights arrived late to its destination (“late” meaning more than 15 minutes behind schedule). The dollar figure comes from the passengers “who lose time waiting for their planes to leave and then spend money scrounging for food and sleeping in hotel rooms while they’re stranded, among other costs.”

Find the Best Deal for Thanksgiving Flights Now

Fewer Flight Delays Today

The good news is, the airlines have improved their on-time performance in recent years, and dramatically improved the length of time planes will sit on tarmacs.

Tips to Weather Delays

Not that there’s a lot you can do about some delays, so if you’ll be traveling this Thanksgiving especially, be prepared for the possibility of unanticipated time at the airport:

  • If you need to change a flight, get in line for an agent immediately (and get on the phone, too)
  • Make sure your phone batteries are charged and you have your charger with you
  • Have some snacks on hand (or cash to purchase some)
  • Bring a good book (or the Kindle or iPad)
  • Pack some games or movies for restless youngsters

And remember, if you haven’t checked out our Thanksgiving Travel Guide, time is running out.


Published: October 20, 2010