The good news, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution? For the last few years, air travel delays have decreased and travel has become almost bearable. The bad news? That’s because of the decrease in travel due to the recession, and economic recovery will mean more delays. Yay.
What’s the real source of the problem? Airlines’ hub-and-spoke system, which means that delays at the country’s busiest airports delay as many, many passengers and reverberate throughout the system.
The 26 metropolitan hubs and other large metropolitan areas host a concentration of national delays-and the situation is worsening over time. The concentration within the 100 largest metropolitan areas was especially troubling with congestion-related delays as well as those lasting over two hours. Within the 26 domestic hubs, six experienced worse-than-average delays for both arrivals and departures: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, and San Francisco.
The report contains more in-depth analysis by region and even by airport, for far more information than the average consumer probably needs.
Expect Delays: An Analysis of Air Travel Trends in the United States [Brookings Institution]