Too Many Flights, All Taking Off at the Same Time

Most airlines these days have moved to a new generation of much smaller jets, since it’s cheaper to fly them and they would prefer to have more flights going to more places with fewer passengers. The problem is that all these new flights have caused huge back-ups at major hubs like JFK and LaGuardia.  Taking off last month for a trip to the Alps, we taxiied out to the runway at JFK and the pilot announced that there were sixty, yes, sixty planes waiting ahead of us to take off.  It was 50 plus minutes before we got off the ground.

The little jets are part of this problem, since if you had larger planes with more people in them, you’d have fewer aircraft waiting to take off. The ripple effect from one delay at LaGuardia spills over to Chicago, then to Los Angeles, and throw in a storm of two and you have delays, delays delays.

The FAA wants to limit the number of flights leaving from JFK and LaGuardia every hour, so that there are fewer backups, but the airlines have resisted. They say that passengers won’t fly unless there are convenient nighttime flights, and so the runway isn’t busy some times of the day but packed at others.

Some time soon the hammer will come down and there will have to be changes, since there are just too many airliners taxiing up to the runways every day. Stay tuned, either the FAA or the airilnes will win.