Plane Trips Grow Longer

Carriers add up to 50% to flight times as congestion adds to ground, air delays
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2008 11:33 AM CDT
Plane Trips Grow Longer
A United Airlines airplane is shown at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. Increased traffic at smaller airports has contributed to jumps in flight time.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Air travel is the slowest it's been in the past 20 years, thanks to increased congestion both on the runway and in the air. A flight from Las Vegas to New York took 4 hours, 37 minutes in 1988, but that same route now requires over 6 hours, reports USA Today. And don't expect things to improve any time soon.

"It's now very difficult to add significantly to airport capacity," explains an aeronautics professor, citing resistance by airports' neighbors and slower speeds of fuel-efficient planes. Airlines have factored extra time into their schedules, but estimates show a loss of $15 billion per year due to the decrease in the number of flights that can operate per day. (Read more airline delays stories.)

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