A disgruntled American Airlines passenger has taken to social media armed with extensive data from a recent trip, exposing a wider issue with delays and inefficiency in airlines and the travel industry.
Flights can become sources of intense frustration for a number of reasons. Inconsiderate fellow flyers might lead to outbursts of ‘recline rage‘, but one of the most common sources of upset are the shockingly long delays that are becoming increasingly commonplace in air travel. This week, however, American Airlines messed with the wrong passenger, who used immaculately presented data of their experience to ridicule the airline online.
The passenger, who was flying home to Dallas (DFW) from Las Vegas (LAS), kept note of how their door-to-door travel time broke down by mode of transportation and locations spent waiting compared to how long they actually spent in the air.
In addition to all this, they also made notes of the communication given to passengers by the airline and pilot as the various delays became apparent and increasingly drawn out, all before presenting this data in colour-coded charts.
WATCH: Throwback to when one American flyer made the most of their delay.
To summarise u/pitstop33’s shocking flight experience, they offered a pie chart that shows the total time spent waiting compared to the total time spent flying. All in all, they spent just under twelve hours waiting, either in the airport or — even more annoyingly — on the tarmac, compared to less than three-and-a-half hours in the air.
While the charts make the data most digestible, the string of pilot and airline announcements — each precisely timestamped — provide real entertainment value, especially the pilot’s attempt to soothe passengers who had been stuck on the tarmac for over an hour by saying that they are “well short’ of the three-hour limit, before enthusiastically thanking their furious flyers for choosing American.
Unsurprisingly, the comments section was full of users who expressed their solidarity with the original poster and went on to share their own terrible experiences with the airline, with the top comment pointing to the $4.1 million USD fine that American received for their increasing on-tarmac delays.
However, we want to be careful to point out that this isn’t just an issue for American Airlines. In fact, delays have been increasing across the industry for a number of years now, with passengers rightly getting frustrated with a flight experience for which they’re paying more and getting less.
Not only did the USA record several incidents in 2022 where there were more than 500 flight delays in a single day, but the amount of flights affected by some kind of delay has leapt from 17% in 2018 to over 22% in 2023. Even more damaging than these statistics alone, however, is the fact that the amount of these delays that are deemed totally within the control of carriers has gone up by more than 50% in the same period.
While fight delays always have been and likely always will be an inevitable part of air travel, rapidly decreasing customer experiences occurring in stark contrast to increasing ticket and living costs is going to end very badly for airlines. It’s time for them to get their act together, lest the Redditors reach for their pitchforks…