my flight got delayed but the pilot said they would go faster to make up for lost time and we ended up arriving early. This got me thinking why can’t planes always go at this faster speed?

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my flight got delayed but the pilot said they would go faster to make up for lost time and we ended up arriving early. This got me thinking why can’t planes always go at this faster speed?

In: 7

Flying faster burns more fuel, and getting there before your landing slot doesn’t work. Air traffic control sends you into a landing pattern where you just hang out until it’s your turn. More fuel to get there faster and more fuel to circle waiting maximizes fuel costs and reduces airline profits, so that’s not going to happen.

I’m not an expert but I believe the main reason is fuel efficiency. Traveling faster means more air resistance which means lower fuel efficiency. The same is true in your car. You will get better mileage at 35 miles an hour then at 75 miles an hour.

This likely has to do with fuel efficiency which has to do with cost. The customer experience is very important so if there’s more cost to make up for lost time because of some delay than that ensures a good customer experience, but if you’re on time and everything is running in sync, then you can fly at a slower speed and save money. It all adds up.

Pilots fly at the fastest economical speed. Flying above that speed will put more strain on the aircraft and the engines. Ultimately, costing more in fuel. Which will cost more for patrons in the long run.

There are lots of possibilities on how, depending on the route, and the airline.

If it’s trans Atlantic for example, a strong tailwind can make a +/- an hour difference.

The pilot may be able to go faster than is optimum, burning more fuel and costing more, but catching up time. This might actually be offset by fees at the re landing at, if they arrive out of sequence it can be costly to the airline.

Or it could just be down to utter fuckery from the likes of Ryan Air advertising longer flight durations than it actually takes so they can claim to always be on time or early, and that 10 minute delay just gets swallowed up in the time buffer.