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I am flying with EasyJet next week from Glasgow to Geneva, for my ski holiday.

I noticed the flight times are unusual in that my outbound journey is much longer than my return flight home.

Outbound

Dep 12 January 2013 10:40
Arr 12 January 2013 13:55
Flight 6835 

(3 hours 15 min later)

Return

Dep 19 January 2013 14:35
Arr 19 January 2013 15:55
Flight 6836 

(1 hour 20 min later)

Now I am not the best at maths but you can clearly see there is a major time difference in both flights.

Is there any reasoning behind this? I tried searching the Easyjet site but could find no justification for this.

More Info here

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probably time zones? The flight time is about 2 hours, and the arrive and departure time is always in local time –  Dirty-flow Jan 4 '13 at 16:25
    
Wow, I just realised how silly I am now, +1 to you sir! –  loosebruce Jan 4 '13 at 16:28
1  
You are not silly, even airliners fall for this sometimes even though they deal with this in daily basis... –  MeNoTalk Jan 4 '13 at 16:39
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

All times are local to the departing or arriving airport. This is always true for any flights you may take.

Since Switzerland is on European time (1 hour ahead of Scotland) the outbound flight (looking just at the times and ignoring timezones) will seem one hour longer than its actual duration as you 'lose' an hour. Similarly you 'gain' an hour on the return leg making the flight seem shorter (again if ignoring timezones) then it actually is.

As an aside, all this means that if you are flying over the dateline terminator (going east) it is possible that the scheduled departure time is later than the arrival time.

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@Kris is absolutely correct about timezone difference. In addition, you have to take into account that Earth is rotating toward East. So the planet creates enormous jet stream that blow from east to west. So either headwind or tailwind will subtract or add to the flight speed depend on the direction of your travel.

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+1 good point about the jetstream. Definitely notice the shorter flights from Australia to NZ vs NZ to Australia. –  Mark Mayo Jan 4 '13 at 18:19
    
This is technically correct, although on a flight this short the jetstream will make a very negligible difference. The flight time on the day (which is rarely exactly the same as the schedule) is more like to be affected by air traffic control routing than anything else. –  Andrew Ferrier Apr 18 '13 at 15:25
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'Air-side', most flight times on ATC systems and the like are based on UTC time. However, passenger-side, for simplicity, departures/arrivals are always based on the airport they're flying out of and into.

As you will no doubt be aware, the world is divided into (roughly) 24 timezones (with some irregularities). Geneva, being in Switzerland, is in a different time-zone, so your clock will change, causing you to jump ahead/behind.

Couple of really weird examples to make you feel better: - my old flatmate basically missed his birthday jumping over the international date line - in Russia, despite it covering around seven different timezones, all trains run on Moscow time. Makes it very confusing!

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