TORONTO — The 1970s will always be remembered for disco music and platform shoes, and not so much for technological advances. Back then, computers were big and clunky, phones were still of the rotary kind, and the Walkman was considered a breakthrough achievement. It was not a time known for science and technology, but then how do you explain the fact that commercial flights were actually faster back then compared to those today?
According to Business Insider, a flight between New York and Houston took just two hours and 37 minutes in 1973, compared to three hours and 50 minutes today. The reason? Today’s high price of fuel.
As it turns out, airlines today are instructing pilots to fly at slower speeds in an effort to save on fuel costs. Business Insider reports that between 2002 and 2012, the price of fuel increased from US$0.70 per gallon to more than $3.
Flying slower has paid off for many airlines, including Northwest Airlines, which in 2008 was able to trim 162 gallons of fuel off a flight between Paris and Minneapolis after the pilot cut his average speed by two miles per hour. This reduction in speed resulted in an additional eight minutes to the total flight time, but also saved the airline about $365, reports the Daily Mail.
So there you have it. Now when your flight runs over on time, rather than blaming the airline you can actually blame inflation.