If airline flights seem to be taking a little longer these days, it may be because the pilot is flying slower.
To save fuel, a number of airlines are doing what drivers on the
highway do: easing off the accelerator.
Southwest began two months ago. It's projecting that by
extending each flight by one to three minutes, it will save 42
million dollars in fuel this year.
Northwest Airlines added eight minutes to a Paris-Minneapolis
flight earlier this week, saving 162 gallons of fuel and $535.
JetBlue's director of flight operations says "it's not a
dramatic change," but his airline saves about 13.6 million dollars
a year by adding an average of less than two minutes.
United has invested in flight planning software that helps
pilots choose the best routes and speeds. The airline says it's
trying to fly "at a more consistent speed." It estimates the
software will save it 20 million dollars a year.