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Flight delayed? Air NZ reveals the most common reason for late flights

Sarah Pollok,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 May 2024, 8:57pm

Flight delayed? Air NZ reveals the most common reason for late flights

Sarah Pollok,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 May 2024, 8:57pm

When waiting in an airport, whether you’re eager to start your holiday or get home, it’s never pleasant to learn you must spend another hour (or two) at the gate because your flight is delayed.

While they aren’t as common as in 2022, flight delays continue to be a part of travel one can experience at any time.

Many things can cause a flight to depart later than planned, from extreme weather events or engineering issues to passenger disruptions or, well, mass understaffing caused by a global pandemic.

However, some causes are more common than others, according to Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has revealed one situation that causes around one-third of delays with the airline as well as other common circumstances that mean a flight may run late.

In April, more than 80 per cent of Air New Zealand flights arrived on time or within 15 minutes of schedule.

However, flight delays are inevitable and the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Alex Marren, said one-third of delays are caused by, well, late flights.

“The most common reason for a flight being delayed is due to the aircraft arriving late from its previous sector, accounting for around a third of delays,” Marren said.

This issue is not exclusive to Air New Zealand but the question then becomes, what causes those flights to be late? According to Marren, the most common causes of an initial delay include weather, airport-related issues, engineering requirements or passenger services.

One example of the latter is when a plane is held back because another flight with a group of connecting passengers is late, causing a domino of late flights.

Maren said the airline’s top priority was getting customers to their destination on time and safely.

“We know delays are frustrating for customers and improving our on-time performance is a key focus for us,” they added.

As a result, the airline has many initiatives focused on on-time performance, Marren said. These include equipping frontline workers with new communication tools, adjusting schedules based on wind patterns and purchasing spare parts in advance.

“There’s still plenty of room to improve and we’re always looking at how we can add more resilience to our network to ensure our services consistently arrive on schedule,” Marren said, which included exploring ways to recover from a weather event or turn an aircraft around for subsequent service, faster.

What happens if my flight is delayed?

If your flight is delayed and you suffer disruptions or unexpected costs as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. This depends on the country you’re in during the disruption, the reason for the delay and what has been disrupted.

In New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Act covers travellers’ rights regarding delays and cancellations.

In the US, the Department of Transportation sets out rules (which changed last week), while the UK is ruled by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

According to New Zealand’s CAA, if a flight is delayed for reasons within the airline’s control, passengers are entitled to compensation for costs they can prove resulted from the delay. This can be to the value of 10 times the cost of the airfare or the actual costs accrued, whichever is lower.

As explained by consumer protection experts, the CAA means travellers can push back on what airlines “offer” in terms of compensation for accommodation, food or transport following a delay, if it’s insufficient. However, there are caveats.

A late inbound flight, engineering, mechanical or operational issues would likely all be considered within an airline’s control. Weather-related delays typically aren’t within an airline’s control, so travellers must take other approaches to get compensated.

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here.

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