Business Trip Costs Soar On Flight Delays

By Kimberly Peterson
The Journal Gazette

Marilyn Moran-Townsend remembers when she could schedule a midday meeting in another city and be reasonably confident that a morning flight would get her there in time.

“I would say now, that within the past half-dozen years, that is impossible,” the chief executive of Fort Wayne-based CVC Communications said. CVC helps organize meetings, training, trade shows and provides other services, many of which require Moran-Townsend and her staff to travel frequently.

Because of the increase in flight delays, Moran-Townsend now schedules herself and staff to arrive in a city the day before a meeting or event.

“It costs us in productivity and extra time on the road,” Moran-Townsend said.

Airline delays and cancellations are an annoyance to all travelers, but it can cost businesses big in terms of time and money, according to government data.

During the first 11 months of last year, 1.6 million passenger flights were at least 15 minutes late. The average delay of a late flight has grown from 49 to 56 minutes during that period, according to the data.

With the U.S. economy stumbling, regulators and lawmakers are turning their focus to the economic toll of such delays. In a speech in Washington last month, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters estimated that flight delays cost the U.S. economy $15 billion a year.

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