I flew with easyjet from Basel-Mulhouse (BSL) to London Gatwick (LGW) in September 2012. The flight took exactly 1 hour. I will fly to London on Ocotber 7th, same route, again with easyjet. This time, the flight will take 1.5 hours.

Why does it suddenly take longer? I checked other dates and times; it always takes 1.5 hours now.

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  • My question has nothing in common with the other question. The duration of my flight never changed. I just compared it to another flight which took place YEARS ago. – NicolasB Sep 26 at 15:37
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    The parts of the question that actually matter are identical: you have two flights on the same route by the same airline and you want to know why they're taking different times. The fact that your case involves two flights you actually took, whereas the other question involves a flight that was rescheduled to take longer doesn't make any material difference. Compare the answers to the two questions and you'll see that they're all saying the same things: slot changes, slacker schedules to avoid being later, etc. – David Richerby Sep 26 at 15:42
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    Note: there is a huge difference between "time literally in the air" and "official journey time as stated by the airlines". – Fattie Sep 26 at 20:18
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    I saw somewhere on this site that planes are flying slower to save fuel – Azor Ahai Sep 27 at 0:20

One possibility is that somewhere along the line they noticed the flight was often late, so they bumped the scheduled arrival such as to have a better chance of making it. But they kept the scheduled departure such that they can depart on time if the aircraft is ready.

This makes business sense if a reputation for not being on time will cost them more customers than a longer scheduled duration will.

After all, on most routes low-cost carriers such as Easyjet compete primarily on price, not on convenience to the traveler. Their customers will hardly grumble about the flight taking half an hour more when they book it, but they will complain to all their friends if they arrive later than they had made plans for.

Nobody complains about arriving early, though.

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    "Nobody complains about arriving early, though." True! – NicolasB Sep 26 at 12:48
  • Actually I complain about arriving early! :) – Fattie Sep 26 at 20:19
  • @NicolasB "Nobody complains about arriving early" - try arriving early at a small airport, outside of "normal business hours," where there are no facilities whatever available, and the only thing you can do is stand (not sit!) near the main entrance waiting for someone who is going to arrive to collect you at the scheduled time. Not fun! – alephzero Sep 26 at 20:50
  • @alephzero about how many minutes early are we talking here? – NicolasB Sep 27 at 7:21

The takeoff and landing slots get assigned to the highest bidders and can be changed around.

Also the routing of the airplane can be altered, either for economical (fuel consumption) or for airtraffic reasons.

  • Basel-Mulhuose only has about 200 aircraft movements a day. I doubt they use a slot system. – David Richerby Sep 26 at 19:16
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    @DavidRicherby: Gatwick, on the other hand, certainly does. Plus the aircraft had to come to Basel from somewhere, likely from Gatwick as well, and they're not going to let it sit idle at the gate in Basel waiting for a later scheduled departure time when it could cause them to miss their precious slot. – TooTea Sep 26 at 20:50

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