We’ve all encountered situations where we’ve been unable to recall our third-grade knowledge of time zones around the world. For transcontinental or international travel, planning ahead is necessary to ensure that your flights fit into your plans. As a result, you’ll need to know how time zones affect your upcoming flights.
Airline schedule planning is a complex matrix that uses a number of variables to determine when your flight departs or arrives, and there are entire airline teams dedicated to applying mathematical calculations.
Your plane’s departure time is the time it pushes back from the gate, not the time it takes off from the airport gate. You arrive at the gate, not when your plane touches down on the runway.
When it comes to flight scheduling, airlines use proprietary software that pulls in all the data, including a historical look at actual flight times for each route on a specific day/time. The software then generates a suggested flight schedule for any given route. Even if you are in a different time zone 24 hours before your flight, your check-in time will be based on the time your flight departs from the departure airport.
Various factors are taken into account when determining the block time and the exact departure and arrival times for a given flight.
The airport infrastructure is also important, including the number of gates available and at what times, the busiest time of day for that specific location, the number of runways open, and whether or not construction or other constraints limit the number of flights or lengthen the block time, as appropriate. Different time zones basically allow us to tell when a location enters and leaves daylight.
When determining arrival times, airlines take into account the departure times of important connecting flights, so that they arrive at the correct time.
However, airlines take into account the estimated time it takes for passengers to disembark and walk to their connecting gates.
When determining your flight schedule, keep in mind that other factors such as the amount of time it will take to empty and clean the plane and board the next flight, as well as whether or not crew members need to be swapped in from another location, also come into play.
Planned several months in advance, airlines’ flight schedules are meticulously crafted by. Schedule planning is handled by a different set of employees, or the system operations center is used to tweak schedules closer to the time of departure or arrival, depending on which airline you’re flying.