Major airlines accused of extending flight times to avoid payouts
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Major airlines are editing arrival times to create the impression that planes are reaching their destination on time, a report claims.
Air travel times are now longer than a decade ago as airlines ‘pad out’ timetables to avoid paying compensation to customers for delays, it emerged last night.
The investigation by Which? Travel claims airlines in some cases are adding up to 30 minutes to scheduled flight times, despite improvements in aircraft technology.
Researchers examined scheduled flight times for 125 routes operated by major airlines in 2009 and compared with the same routes flown last year.
The investigation found that 76 routes, (61%), had a longer scheduled flight time in 2017, compared to 2009.
British Airways flights departing London’s Heathrow to Bangkok, New York and Singapore were extended by 20 minutes.
Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to Newark Liberty airport is now, on average, 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.”
Airlines argue that planes now fly at slower speeds to reduce fuel consumption allowing the carriers to pass on the saving to the consumer.
British Airways told Which? Travel that air traffic control congestion was also a factor, claiming previous flight taxi times had been “too optimistic”.