ohare-international-airportAccording to the FAA, Summer travel is expected to be relatively smooth at most of the nation’s airports.  This is, in large part, due to deep capacity cuts and fewer flights.

However, one key airport that could be facing a number of delays is O’Hare International Airport.  The FAA says the carriers have scheduled almost as many flights as the airport can handle in peak travel times on good-weather days, and added operations that far outstrip O’Hare’s capacity in stormy weather.

The over-scheduling is occurring in 15-minute bursts – typically at the top of the hour, when research shows flight make more money.  For instance, on Thursday (6/10), American Airlines scheduled 27 flights and United scheduled 39 flights between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.   That’s seven more flights than the airport can handle under the best conditions.  O’Hare can handle approximately 100 departures an hour, but not 66 in a 15-minute window.

FAA officials warned that congestion problems forming at O’Hare could worsen as the carriers have already announced plans to expand their schedules in the second half of 2010 — adding almost 22,000 more flights at O’Hare from July through December compared with the same period last year.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The USAToday noted that, “many first-class seats aren’t being filled by high-spending customers, but rather by fliers who’ve paid only for a coach class ticket but moved to the front of the cabin on an upgrade.”  Keep that in mind the next time you’re about to pay top dollar for first class.
  • In the first quarter of this year, just 10.6 percent, or 23,380 passengers, of the 219,860 passengers who got bumped were unwilling.  But it was worse on some airlines than others.  American Eagle denied boarding to 4.59 passengers per 10,000 in the first quarter.  Delta involuntarily bumped about 0.63 passenger per 10,000.  Jet Blue had the best record, denying boarding to only about 0.01 passenger per 10,000.