Just a bit of clarification

Buffalo Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 17 › view all entries

Just wanted to let people know that in my previous entry I wasn't attempting to explain all of the situations that might cause flight delays, for example, Chicago had an issue where they were actually scheduling more planes than can legally take off at any given hour during peak.. so naturally, there were delays.   Airports, like San Fran, can have awful weather delays, fog or high winds, that can close one of the runways or slow down departures or arrivals, etc.  The airline system is quite complicated but I do think one this is paramount, they try not to take any unnecessary risks.  Planes in general have triple redundant systems, which makes by and away the safest method of travel.  People, generally speaking, would rather be late than to be dead, so they're willing (in general) to put up with delays, esp. when said delays will make sure that the engines don't fall of the wings or anything like that.

I do, however, find flight time padding interesting.  I have watched some routes that I was flying an awful lot change, some down (like they had realized that they were overpadding the time) but most up.  I don't feel like it is done to give the pilots more leeway for safety, that its more about managing customers.  Airplanes are managed in the tower, through complicated software systems, given slots to take off, to land, etc.  Not too much will get you expedited or push you back that much.  You miss you window, they try to fit you in when they can, etc.  Its not like being the conductor of a train or in your car.  Sure you can attempt to make up time in the air and maybe tail winds will help you (or conversely a head wind make you late) just like you can if you're driving in your car only when you arrive in your destination, you're not assigned a particular parking spot nor are you told 50 miles out when you can come into town and that if they're not ready for you, you don't have to circle the place until you're able to get in.  Who knows, maybe that'll be the future.. but for now, the airline world is certainly a bit more controlled than that of your car.

So yea, bit of a travel geek.. I suppose on a site like this, I'm not alone.

For example, I bemoan the "bussification" of the airline.  How nobody appreciates the magic that is flight anymore.  It does my head in some times.  To hear people endlessly bitch about the length of the flight from chicago to portland (roughly 4+ hours) when only a hundred years ago people in covered wagons had to endure three months of hard trekking.  Or people complaining about the very long flight from London to Auckland.  A friend of mine took the boat, it was only 6 weeks to get there.  In this day and age of instant everything, people just don't appreciate that you're in the air, you're above the ground.. you're doing something that davinci dreamed about and only became reality a hundred years ago.  But I do blame modern society for a lot of this.  Airlines have become the busses of the sky, people treated like cargo, shoved into tiny cycliners, not even given a bag of peanuts and a full can of coke.. and don't get me started on the seats.  But hey, I suppose I could complain some more about all this but honestly, I do appreciate the magic of flight.  I look out the window and think to myself.. my god, I'm far farther than Icarus dared dream and sometimes I think, hah, I've skydived from higher! :)

Can you imagine what DaVinci would think if he saw what was going on today?  How I, a virtual nobody (or general), could post my random thoughts for the world to see.  How we're all able to fly like Icarus... we've come a long way, certainly, and there is a lot to be proud of and not so proud of, but honestly, sometimes, you just have to sit back and appreciate these things.  I think I may just have to do that again, soon.

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