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  • This video was made possible by Clear.

  • The first 200 people to sign up at clearme.com/wendover get three free months of speeding through

  • airport security with Clear.

  • Airlines are notoriously difficult businesses to run.

  • Each and every flight operated is a multi-thousand dollar gamble on whether or not passengers

  • will buy tickets.

  • Aside from cost, the strongest factor for customers on which flight they will take is

  • often the overall travel time so airlines put enormous effort into properly assembling

  • their puzzle of flights so they can offer the shortest connection time possible.

  • With so many destinations all across the world, it's just natural that most routes require

  • connections so airlines need to attract connecting passengers in order to stay in business.

  • Now, most flight connections for traditional airlines happen out of their hub airports.

  • American Airlines, for example, has 10 across the United States and every single one of

  • their flights either begins or ends at these airports, but not all hubs are created equal.

  • Charlotte Douglas, Reagan National, and Laguardia are largely built for north-south traffic

  • and terminating traffic.

  • Miami is for connecting North American travelers to flights to the Caribbean and South America.

  • Philadelphia is a bit of a hybrid hub connecting both north-south traffic and North American

  • traffic onto flights to Europe.

  • JFK is the major hub for connecting North American traffic to European flights.

  • And the Los Angeles hub's main purpose is to connect North American traffic to Asia

  • and Oceania bound flights, but then there are these threeChicago O'Hare, Dallas

  • Fort Worth, and Phoenix Sky Harbor airports.

  • These three airports are the truly important connection airports since they lie between

  • the coasts and their schedules reflect this.

  • The east-west routes are the most competitive in the United States so American has to offer

  • short connections in order to dominate the market.

  • So what American Airlines has done is that they've banked their hubs.

  • What this means is that, for the most part, all their flights arrive and depart at roughly

  • the same time.

  • For example, on any given Wednesday in the fall the Philadelphia flight will arrive at

  • 11:14 am, then the Atlanta flight at 11:17, the DC one at 11:29, and the Nashville flight

  • at 11:45.

  • Then, at 12:40 the flight to Denver leaves, at 12:45 the one to Las Vegas, at 1:00 the

  • one to San Francisco, and at 1:10 the flight to Los Angeles.

  • This way, nobody has to wait longer than two hours to connect.

  • Almost every flight American operates in and out of DFW falls into one of their 10 daily

  • banks.

  • This is how the airline gets those connecting passengersby offering shorter connection

  • times.

  • Nearby Dallas Love Field is Southwest Airlines' main hub but it operates in an entirely different

  • way.

  • It just has planes arriving and leaving at a consistent average of about 8-12 flights

  • per hour all day long and there's a good reason for thisSouthwest is a budget airline.

  • Banked hubs are significantly more expensive to run because they require more resources.

  • The airline needs to have enough equipment, people, and gates to turn around all their

  • planes at the same time.

  • If the planes came in at a smooth pace all the people and equipment could be used continuously

  • but at a banked hub, the airline still needs to pay for their people and equipment during

  • the down-time between the banks.

  • If a plane leaves Philadelphia bound for DC at 9:30 with the 9-10 am bank it will arrive

  • around 10 am but it will have to wait to leave until about 11:15 to time its arrival with

  • the 11:45-12:45 bank.

  • Planes cost money whether they're in the air or sitting on the ground so having planes

  • wait around to time with banks costs money too.

  • This is why a budget airline will never schedule their planes to sit on the ground during the

  • day for more than an hour.

  • Once a plane lands, it immediately loads up and takes off again as soon as possible.

  • For this reason, the planes of a budget airline like Spirit Airlines are in the air for an

  • average of 11 hours per day while American airlines only uses their planes for an average

  • of 8.5 hours per day.

  • Banked hubs can also make delays more probable.

  • When there are so many planes going out at once an airport might just not be able to

  • cope with the surge in activity.

  • If a thunderstorm hits the airport, for example, a whole bank of flights might be delayed or

  • cancelled which would create a knock-on effect all across the country.

  • These banking systems are essentially higher risk, higher reward in terms of delays, but

  • some airlines have taken the banked hub concept to an extreme.

  • Etihad Airways's hub in Abu Dhabi essentially operates with just two big banks a day.

  • Almost all their fights from the west arrive between 7:00 and 8:30 pm then eastbound flights

  • depart between 9:30 and 10:30 pm.

  • Flights coming in from the east land between about 11:30 pm and 12:30 am and then the final

  • bank of westbound flights departs between 2:00 and 3:30 am.

  • With this system, almost every flight from Europe or the US can connect to a flight to

  • Asia or Australia in no more than three hours.

  • The whole operation also takes about eight and a half hoursperfectly timed for one

  • work shift.

  • But of course, however, this leads to a lot of planes sitting around.

  • Their flight to Hong Kong, for example, departs at 9:50 pm Abu Dhabi time and arrives at 10:05

  • am Hong Kong time.

  • The plane then has to sit around until 6:55 pm in order to time it's arrival with the

  • rest of the westbound bank.

  • That's almost nine hours of waiting, but in order to schedule flights correctly, its

  • fairly typical for planes to sit around.

  • Flights from North to South America are notoriously tricky to schedule.

  • Sao Paolo, Brazil is only one hour ahead of New York during daylight saving time so southbound

  • flights tend to leave in the evening and arrive 10 hours later in the morning.

  • But the tricky part is when the flight should return.

  • If the flight left at 7 pm and arrived the following morning at 6 am it could turn around

  • and fly back at 9 am and arrive at 6 pm but the airline doesn't want to do that.

  • The problem is that airlines rely heavily on connecting traffic to fill their flights

  • and by the time arriving travelers got off the plane and make it through customs it would

  • be 7:30 pm at best by which time the majority of flights have left for the night.

  • Airlines therefore almost universally decide to leave their planes on the ground in South

  • America all day to fly back overnight so travelers can connect onwards to their final destination

  • on morning flights.

  • This is likely part of the reason why flights from North to South America are so expensive.

  • But some of the airlines have found a way to take advantage of the time on the ground.

  • Labor is significantly cheaper in South America so airlines have started to perform maintenance

  • work on planes while they're waiting around for the evening flight back.

  • American Airlines, for example, recently started building an $100 million hanger in Sao Paolo

  • to support their maintenance operations there.

  • Qantas made a similar move to take advantage of time on the ground by opening up an a380

  • sized maintenance hanger in Los Angeles for their planes that sometimes sit there for

  • up to 14 hours, but that's not the only trick Qantas has up its sleeves.

  • Australia is just so isolated that no plane can currently fly non-stop from the country

  • to the US east coast.

  • The US west coast, however, is close enough that a plane can make it in a 12-14 hour flight

  • so Qantas has non-stop flights from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane to Los Angeles.

  • The trick is that they are all scheduled to arrive between about 6:00 and 6:30 am then,

  • at 8:20 AM one of the planes continues on to New York with the passengers booked through.

  • This is known as a scissor hub.

  • WestJet airlines operates an even more advanced one in St John's Canada.

  • They have flights arriving from Orlando, Toronto, and Ottawa all around 9:30-10:00 pm then just

  • past 11:00 pm their flights to Dublin and London leave.

  • This way they can fly six routes with just three planes and, even better for them, since

  • it's only a 4.5 hour flight from St John's to the British Isles they can fly small, inexpensive

  • single aisle planes transatlantic.

  • All of these scheduling patterns and tricks serve to help an airline achieve it's ultimate

  • goalto maximize revenue.

  • In this industry, time truly is money since planes cost money and people pay more to fly

  • faster so few aspects of the business are as important as properly scheduling flights.

  • If you like spending less time at airports one way is to fly with shorter connections,

  • but perhaps the easiest way is to use Clear.

  • I tried them out for myself on a recent trip and the footage speaks for itself.

  • CLEAR uses biometrics to replace the TSA id check so you always go straight to to either

  • the PreCheck or regular screening without waiting in line.

  • As you can see here, it took me exactly one minute and seven seconds to go from walking

  • in the door of Laguardia to getting into security.

  • The X-ray was completely backed up with a few people in wheelchairs when I went through

  • but that's actually a good thing because what I am showing you here is the absolute worst

  • case scenariothe slowest security with clear will be.

  • I put my camera in my bag during the screening so the TSA agents wouldn't yell at me but

  • the timer is still running.

  • So, even with all that back-up at the x-ray I went from walking through the door to the

  • gate in seven minutes.

  • The good news is that the first 200 people to sign up over at clearme.com/wendover get

  • to speed through airports security at Clear's 24 US airports for free for three months.

  • That is not a publicly available trial so it's worth signing up while it's available.

  • Once again, that's clearme.com/wendover for three free months of faster airport security.

  • Aside from that, please be sure to check out my podcast Showmakers and subscribe to this

  • channel to get all my future videos right when they come out.

  • Thanks again for watching and I'll see you in two weeks for another Wendover Productions

  • video.

This video was made possible by Clear.

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How Airlines Schedule Flights

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    juuuddddy posted on 2019/08/27
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