You are camped out at the airport… waiting …hungry… tired. It is indeed nasty outside so the airline must be waiting for this patch of bad weather to clear. Or that’s what we are led to believe as we struggle to stay away from the Cinnabon stand.

According to the latest study from The Department of Transportation (and a very informative Wall Street Journal article) only 3% of all airport delays are due to weather. The data also shows that commercial jets are more than capable of flying through most any kind of weather, and navigation systems can land a plane with virtually no visibility. This study was even conducted over the course of the last 6 months, yes, the winter months.

The real threat of delay that comes from weather is when controllers have to space planes farther apart due to things like unusual winds. For example, at La Guardia Airport they simply don’t have enough runways to land planes when they need more space… not because the planes can’t take off or land.

Only recently (since 1987) did the airlines have to start disclosing on-time standings. A delayed flight is defined as any flight that arrives more than 14 minutes past its scheduled arrival time.

Of course the hope is that this new data (and smarter consumer) will inspire the airlines to improve the things they can and stop blaming innocent mother nature for their flaws.