The first flight orbited over Newark for an extra hour, because of unexplained delays on the ground. Weather was fine, no holidays or other crises loomed, and air traffic was not cited. I read, remembering my recent plan to bring long, long books when I fly in the US.
Now my Newark->Burlington flight is at least one hour late, because the plane we need to use took a long time to leave its previous site. We, a bunch of passengers, had to prod the gate agent several times to get a reason: that other airport was crowded. Again, the weather is fine, no holidays are screwing up schedules, etc. It's simply an ordinary day.
It's just the way air travel works. Like Amtrak, we now expect domestic flights to be late, and receive a small buzz of unexpected pleasure when they're on time.
As a practical matter, I'm expanding the size of layovers for trips. And expanding the interval between landing somewhere and being expected to do something near there. And increasing the amount of reading material.
But I can't stand how much this weighs on my wife and children, who simply cannot know when I'll return home, until I've actually landed in Vermont. They can't plan anything around me, not meals, not picking me up, not their own appointments.
And as awful as this is, are we seeing signs of improvement in US airlines?