Flight Delay Causes

Causes for the Flight Delay

You're ready to fly off to your destination, but suddenly the airport breaks the news to you of flight delay. There are several reasons for the delay in the flights.

Some factors include, aircraft turnarounds between flights, technical issues, crew performance, and passenger punctuality. But, these delays are under the direct control of the carrier. On the other side, there are several other factors that are not in control of the airlines, including bad weather, air traffic control, and more.

Flight delay happens sometimes and following are the typical reasons due to which the flights get delayed.


This is probably the most obvious and the most common reason for the delay in flights. There are three areas where weather affects the schedule of flights.

  • At the origin airport
  • During the flight, and
  • At the destination of the airport

At the origin airport, weather can affect the arrival of the scheduled flight in many ways, such as a passing thunderstorm or snowstorm. Further, sometimes there is a need to de-ice the aircraft, which causes the delay in flights.

These are normally temporary issues that have lingering effects on flight arrival as well as departure times. When the aircraft does not depart on-time, later scheduled flights have to wait due to the backlog.

The spacing interval between the takeoffs of the flights is fixed and cannot be compressed. As a result, all of the flights that are scheduled to arrive from the airport with the weather problems will arrive late.

Air Traffic

There are many factors that can cause air traffic. Further, all the factors have a direct impact on both arrivals as well as the departure time of the flights.

Congestion is not the only problem when you are flying to the airport. It affects the aircraft and, thus, ultimately arrival scheduled time of flight.

Moreover, it causes disruptions in normal air traffic patterns. Flights that are arrived at the scheduled time might have to 'circle' around the airport area because of congestion.

Air traffic controllers have to hold some flights in a prescribed pattern before they are cleared to land. So, sometimes when you check on the status of the flight within 30 minutes of the scheduled arrival time, you may find a discrepancy.

It is due to aircraft placed in holding patterns around the airport may be reported as arrived, even though the flight is still in the air.


A go-around is a situation when an aircraft is just about to land at an airport, but the pilot feels that it is not safe to land. In this case, the pilot prefers to increase the altitude for the time.

As a result, it affects the arrival time for that flight, as it takes almost 30 minutes for the aircraft to return and land again.

Mechanical Delays

Mechanical issues are, unfortunately, foreseeable. Pilots always do a final check before the departure of the aircraft.

If they locate anything wrong, they signal to the ground crew. The airline then needs to fix the problem to ensure your safety.

This takes some time; as a result, there will be a delay in the departure of the flight. On the other side, mechanical delays also affect the arrival schedules too.

However, if the flight experiences a major mechanical problem in the air, it can be re-routed to another airport. So, it will also take time for the passengers to reach their final destination.

Waiting for Connecting Passengers

Most of the time, the captain of the flight can inform the passengers who are on the flight that there may be some delay for the takeoff. It is due to the reason for waiting for those who are coming from a different flight.

Sometimes even the bags take a little longer time to get a shift from one plane to another. Ground authorities try their best to do their task on time, but sometimes they have to wait for more bags to get there from other flights.

Waiting for crew

You all are well aware of the fact that a flight cannot depart in the absence of pilots and flight attendants. So your flight can be delayed due to waiting for the crew members who most of the time comes from another flight.

Normally large hubs have crews on standby. So, when a particular pilot is not available due to any reason before the departure, a colleague will take his place to serve your flight.

This practice can take some time; thus, there will be a delay in the departure of the flight.


There may be several reasons for the delay in the flight. But it would help if you are pre-prepared for it to avoid inconvenience to you and your family.